Cruise on the Shannon River – Eire’s Historic Freeway


A cruise on the Shannon River with Le Boat is without doubt one of the most unusual methods to discover Eire taking you thru the guts of the nation and its lengthy historical past. While you select an Irish River cruise, you have got the possibility to self-drive alongside Eire’s historical freeway to historic ruins and well-known castles. Every city alongside the River Shannon welcomes bargers with open arms and ice-cold pints of Guinness as gifted musicians entertain the group with full of life conventional music.

Cruising the Shannon would be the aim, however getting off the boat to expertise Irish hospitality is what creates reminiscences to final a lifetime. If you’re planning a cruise on the Shannon, we’re going to provide you with all the data it’s worthwhile to benefit from your journey. Proper now, Le Boat is providing early reserving financial savings of 10% till November 30 for the 2023 season. Take a look at all their locations in Europe and Canada. See particulars right here.

Cruising on the Shannon

Cruising on the Shannon River with Le Boat

This was our fourth Le Boat River Cruise. We had simply completed cruising the Canal du Midi in France and made two different journeys on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada the summer time earlier than. We have been wanting ahead to cruising the River Shannon because it appeared just like a Rideau Canal cruise with extra open water and lakes than the lengthy and slender Canal du Midi. Eire has a particular place in our journey hearts and we have been going to go to locations in Eire that we hadn’t seen earlier than.

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Concerning the Shannon River

About Cruising on the Shannon River

The Shannon River is the longest river in Eire spanning 360 km by means of the guts of the nation. It begins in Shannon Pot in County Cavan within the north of Eire and ends in County Limerick on the Shannon Estuary.

Our Shannon River Cruise Route

shannon river cruise map

Throughout our 8-day Shannon River Cruise, we traveled from Carrick on Shannon from the Le Boat workplace. (Emerald Star in Eire) to Portumna the place Le Boat has one other workplace. Boats are all parked of their marina with full energy and services.

In Eire, Le Boat is named Emerald Star. Emerald Star has been Eire’s Quantity One boating vacation supplier and has been working on the Rivers Shannon for practically 50 years so I can perceive why they didn’t need to lose their identify!

What to Count on on a Cruise on the River Shannon

What to expect cruising on the Shannon river

Carrick on Shannon to Portumna (or visa versa) is without doubt one of the hottest routes for Shannon River Barge Cruisers. It’s a 160 km journey that takes you thru 5 locks and below 2 bridges. To journey 160 km on a Le Boat houseboat, the journey takes roughly 20 hours of cruising time. Boats are restricted to 10km per hour, so if you find yourself Shannon Cruising, you might be sitting again to chill out. As you’ll be able to see from the map, we coated numerous Eire.

We have been stunned with simply what number of Irish have been cruising the Shannon River on both their very own boats or with boat leases. It positively reminded us numerous the Rideau Canal in Canada in that sense. When cruising that canal, we noticed many impartial boaters benefit from the UNESCO World Heritage Website.

River Shannon Cruise Shuttle

We flew into Dublin the place our shuttle from Kearns Coaches picked us as much as take us to the Le Boat Headquarters at Carrick on Shannon. We requested our driver if we might cease at a grocery retailer to choose up provides and he was glad to have a brief break whereas we purchased meals and drinks for our week on the River Shannon.

Carrick on Shannon is a metropolis the place we might have purchased all our provides, so the cease wasn’t wanted, nevertheless it was good to have the ability to load meals into the van and offload it straight on the dock.

Do you Want Boating Expertise to Cruise the Shannon River?

Cruising on the Shannon River do you need experience

You do not want boating expertise to cruise the Shannon with Le Boat. A Le Boat consultant will stroll you thru all the pieces you want on the boat after which take you out for a brief lesson. All boats have a most velocity restrict of 10 km per hour and there are many bumpers on the boat. Plus, boats have thrusters that you’ll learn to use in your orientation and so they make driving simple.

Our information walked us by means of the heating and air-con and the entire controls that we’d be utilizing throughout the subsequent seven days. And he’ll take you out on a check drive to indicate you how you can use the thrusters and controls. By the point he left the boat, we felt assured to begin navigating our approach alongside the Shannon River.

Day 1 – Carrick on Shannon

Cruise on the Shannon River Carrick on Shannon

We spent the evening at Carrick on Shannon and immediately fell in love with this city. There are many issues to do in Carrick on Shannon that you can spend 2 nights within the city.

Carrick on Shannon is a full of life metropolis full of pubs which can be packed to the hilt. We discovered that it’s a in style Stag and Hen occasion vacation spot within the UK and wedding ceremony events had flown in from throughout Britain to have a good time.

Cruise on the Shannon River Carrick on Shannon Pub

It was simple to discover a pub the place we launched my brother Jim to a correct pint of Guinness. Earlier than Eire, he vowed that he wouldn’t turn out to be a fan of Guinness as a result of he doesn’t like darkish beer, however we quickly made a “Guinness Lover” out of him. We spent the evening bar hopping and listening to gifted Irish bands earlier than strolling again to our boat that was situated proper downtown within the Le Boat Marina.

Cruise on the Shannon River Costello Memorial Chapel
Costello Memorial Chapel

One to not miss vacation spot within the coronary heart of downtown Carrick on Shannon is Costello Memorial Chapel. It’s stated to be the second smallest chapel on the planet and was made by Edward Costello who devoted it to his spouse who died in 1877. Each their tombs are on show below glass inside.

Day 2 – Carrick on Shannon to Tarmonbarry

Cruise on the Shannon River en route to Tarmonbarry

We had loads of time every day to get to our subsequent vacation spot on the Shanon River, so every morning we made breakfast on the boat and loved a leisurely tempo earlier than setting off for Tarmonbarry.

Le Boats have full kitchens and so they provide you with pots and pans, dishes, and cutlery. By ordering the picnic starter package, we additionally had salt and pepper, olive oil and tin foil. All we would have liked to buy on the grocery retailer was the meals and snacks we needed for the week forward.

Lunch at Dromod

En route, we stopped on the pretty riverside village of Dromod. Dromod is a picturesque city that could be a good cease for lunch. We docked on the harbor that has been used for greater than 150 years for barges carrying Guinness and utilizing it as a stopover. There are a few eating places and pubs with a notable steakhouse.

Cruise on the Shannon River Dromond Harbor

You possibly can stroll out to the railway museum and might take a brief trip on the still-operating steam prepare. Outdoors you’ll see traditional cars, an previous bus, an airplane, and a submarine. Contained in the museum, there are weapons on show from WWII.

Cruise on the Shannon River Dromond Cox Steakhouse

For those who aren’t going to prepare dinner lunch on the boat, we advise stopping for lunch on the Brandywell Bar Restaurant and Lodge to attempt some Guinness Pie or you’ll be able to replenish on some groceries at Kinneden Organics to buy some natural fruit and greens. Cox’s Steakhouse is one other in style restaurant and if you’re staying the evening, make sure that to e book a desk upfront for dinner.

In a single day in Tarmonbarry

Cruise on the Shannon River Tarmonbarry

After a few hours at Dromod, we made our solution to Tarmonbarry the place we spent the evening on this full of life city. We have been advised that we’d must name the bridge keeper to get below the bridge, however as he was driving by, he yelled over to us, saying we’d make it. Simply go sluggish! Solely in Eire eh?

We adopted his recommendation and slowly crossed below the bridge ducking our heads as we handed. We have been in Tarmonbarry with loads of hours to spare earlier than sundown.

Cruise on the Shannon River Whitehall Church Tarmonbarry
Precise stone boat from the miracle of Saint Barry

It was then on the bikes that we rented from Le Boat in the hunt for the Abbey that was constructed by Saint Barrech, (Barry) within the Sixth Century. It was an extended bike trip than anticipated, however after biking by means of farmland, hills, and the Irish Countryside, we lastly discovered the Abbey that homes his stone boat.

Legend has it that Saint Barry carried out a miracle when he wanted to cross the River Shannon to are likely to a sick comrade. With no boat in sight, we turned an enormous boulder right into a watercraft to cross the river. We noticed stated boulder in all its glory at Whitehall Church simply north of City.

It is a nice city to hang around in for the night with loads of pubs and eating places. We listened to dwell music at Keenans and loved a pint outside at The Shannon Bar and Backyard.

Day 3 – Tarmonbarry to Lanesborough

Cruise on the Shannon River Lanesborough

After an evening of a number of pints of Guinness, we slept like infants within the quiet marina. This marina is situated on a biking and strolling path and makes for place to stretch your legs within the morning.

It was then off to Lanesborough simply in time for lunch.

Ensure that to cease on this city as there are a few excellent historic church buildings to discover. There’s a distillery on the town and nice locations for espresso. It was throughout this journey that Jim and Janice realized that Dave and I like cup of espresso as we set out every day to discover a scrumptious espresso store. We all the time discovered what we would have liked!

Lanesborough to Athlone

Cruise on the Shannon River Lanesborough Church

We parked our boat by the bridge throughout the Shannon River from Lanesborough. It’s right here that you could discover the dual cities of Lanesborough and Ballyleague. Sling Shot Gin is distilled proper on this city and you may cease in for a style and to buy an Irish memento.

Don’t miss visiting St. John’s church which dates all the way in which again to the start of the Christian custom in Eire throughout the fifth Century. Lanesborough is a good place to take pleasure in lunch and to stretch your legs earlier than shifting on to your cease for the evening, Athlone.

In a single day in Athlone

Cruise on the Shannon River Athlone Castle

Athlone is the biggest metropolis in your Shannon River Cruise and we advise spending two nights right here if you happen to can. I’d slightly do day journeys out to Lanesborough and Loch Ree throughout the day and use Athlone as a base for 2 nights. Loch Ree is so in style to discover that there are Viking ships that take vacationers out to discover its Viking historical past and all of its monasteries dotting the shore.

Day 4 – Athlone

shannon river cruise parking downton athlone

Athlone is dwelling to the world’s oldest pub and we parked our boat straight in entrance of this historic landmark. The pub is situated straight on the Shannon River and Le Boat has prime docking areas proper within the heart of city. Whether it is full, you may as well park on the marina a little bit bit earlier than city, however we suggest attending to Athlone early to get a spot at this prime location. We have been inside strolling distance from in all places. And had a thousand-dollar-a-night view from our prime location.

Cruise on the Shannon River Seans Bar

There are such a lot of issues to do in Athlone, that it is without doubt one of the prime vacationer locations in Eire. It’s a preferred cease for tour buses touring between Dublin and Galway and for good purpose.

Wander by means of its Medieval Streets to peruse its outlets, eating places, and cafes. And ensure to go to Athlone Citadel which dominates the waterfront. Our boat was only a few brief steps away from this historic landmark relationship again to 1210. You possibly can take guided excursions by means of the fort grounds.

Sean’s Bar – World’s Oldest Pub

Cruise on the Shannon River Worlds oldest pub

The World’s Oldest Pub was positively a spotlight. The Guinness Ebook of World Data says that it’s Europe’s oldest pub, however the proof reveals that it’s truly The World’s Oldest constantly working pub. They’ve the paperwork to show it. Sean’s Bar dates again to 500 AD and it was throughout renovations within the Nineteen Seventies that they discovered thousand-year-old cash and the unique construction manufactured from Wattle and Wicker.

Cruise on the Shannon River Athlone Bastion Gallery

This city was made much more well-known when Michael Jackson stopped in to drop some huge cash within the Bastion Gallery. Athlone really is a gem of a Shannon River Cruise and lots of Shannoriver cruisers use this as a base and easily do day excursions from right here.

Day 5 – Athlone to Shannonbridge

Cruise on the Shannon River Views

As we speak is a fantastic day so make sure that to depart shiny and early to take your time at one of the crucial extraordinary stops on the Shannon River. As we speak you go to the spectacular Clonmacnoise. This cease is an historical metropolis that showcases a Sixth-century monastic settlement.

We left Athlone as quickly because the locks opened to make it to Clonmacnoise earlier than the crowds. Although you’ll be able to dock your boat right here on the Shannon River, bus excursions frequent this marvel of Eire. So you’ll be sharing it with overland vacationers.


Cruise on the Shannon River Clonmacnoise

Clonmacnoise is a monastic settlement from the Sixth century. Pulling as much as the dock is unbelievable unto itself. The very first thing that comes into view is the excessive fort overlooking the Shannon River. As you stroll up the trail in the direction of the doorway, the crosses and church buildings become visible and you might be in for one thing particular.

Cruise on the Shannon River Clonmacnoise Abbey

Plan to spend two hours having fun with Clonmacnoise. Your go to begins with a 15-minute movie explaining the historical past of the monastery adopted by a guided tour. The guided tour gives perception into the crosses and grounds, and is sweet to participate in however additionally it is good to stay round after the group leaves (And earlier than the following one arrives).

Throughout that point, you have got time to benefit from the grounds by yourself. There are greater than 700 early Christian gravestones, excessive towers, and unbelievable stone crosses.

Cruise on the Shannon River Clonmacnoise North Cross

Contained in the museum is unbelievable as properly. Ensure that to maintain an eye fixed out for The North Cross, which seems to be just like the cross on the Ebook of Kells. Learn extra: 34 of the Greatest Issues to do in Dublin, Eire

Since this website is without doubt one of the early Christian settlements, Clonmacnoise is a well-liked non secular pilgrimage, and Pope John Paul II gave mass right here in 1979.

In a single day at Shannonbridge

Cruise on the Shannon River Shannonbridge

Tonight is the evening we docked at Shannonbridge which is one other spotlight of a Shannon River Cruise. Like so many locations that we docked throughout our Le Boat journey on the Shannon, we parked proper downtown and will stroll in all places. In actual fact, we have been as soon as once more in entrance of a well-known Eire pub! Luker’s Bar Shannonbridge is dwelling to one of many best-preserved pubs in all of Eire. Luker’s Bar is so well-known that it’s on the Irish Bar Calendar that includes well-known bars within the nation.

Cruise on the Shannon River Lukers Bar Shannonbridge

We have been fortunate as a result of John, the proprietor was serving that evening and he took us on a tour into his genuine pub that has barely modified for the reason that 1750s. There’s the final remaining Victoria Regina Hearth in the entire British Isles, previous wood tables the place you’ll be able to virtually scent the scent of an 18th-century occasion and memorabilia from a bygone period.

Cruise on the Shannon River Old Lukers Bar Shannonbridge
Proprietor Jon with Dave in Eire’s most genuine historic pub

It’s possible you’ll need to spend all of your time within the pub when docking your boats on the River Shannon, however make sure that to enterprise out to discover extra of Shannonbridge. The bridge itself is a fantastic arched construction that was accomplished within the 1700s. There’s a spectacular previous fort situated proper on the River Shannon the place you’ll be able to seize a espresso and discover the martello towers.

Cruise on the Shannon River Shannonbridge Fort

The fort was constructed to safe the Shannon River from an invasion by Napoleon and there are loads issues to see. If you’re on the lookout for dwell music, Killeen’s Bar has music on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from Could to October.

It could be a small city, however you’ll be able to handle to go pub hopping in Shannonbridge. That’s simply the way in which issues are in Eire.

Day 6 – Banagher

Cruise on the Shannon River Banagher

Banagher is a stunning subsequent cease on the River Shannon cruise the place you’ll be staying in a big marina. This marina has showers, laundry, and close by meals vehicles within the excessive season. It’s a really brief stroll to city to take pleasure in loads of pubs and eating places. Ensure that to go to the River Shannon Brewery to take a break from Guinness and check out their artisan craft beers the Martello Tower and Crank Pink Ale.

Cruise on the Shannon River Banagher Restaurants

It was on this city that we loved one among our favourite dinners on the River Shannon. Sadly, I fully forgot its identify, however if you happen to stroll right into a again alleyway not far into city, you’ll come out to a picturesque courtyard. Dave and I discovered it whereas on the lookout for a espresso store and so they had scrumptious cappuccinos. Whereas sipping our espresso, we made a reservation for that evening.

This pretty restaurant is a brand new addition to the city with unbelievable meals and a beautiful ambiance. On the time of writing they didn’t have their liquor license but, however they allowed us to deliver our personal wine.

Cruise on the Shannon River Banagher River Pool

One of many extra distinctive issues to do in Banagher is to hop in for a swim within the River Shannon on the Banagher Swimming pool which is situated proper within the waters of the river.

Day 7 – Portumna Citadel

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Castle

Our last drive alongside the Shannon River earlier than our final night was a fantastic journey by means of Lough Derg to Portumna. We propose passing Portumna and making your solution to the marina in entrance of Portumna Citadel. It’s by means of the bridge and you’ll have to time it based on your timetable that you just’ll obtain from Le Boat, however belief me, you’ll want to keep in entrance of the fort.

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Abbey

Portumna Citadel is a gem of Eire and each King James I and Queen Elizabeth I visited this beautiful fort. You possibly can take a tour of the fort grounds and inside there’s a cafe providing recent espresso and meals that may be visited without spending a dime. Fortunately we had our bike leases and loved a pleasant trip by means of the picturesque Portumna Forest Park.

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Town

There are many pubs, eating places and buying on the town and as is the case with the entire cities and villages on the Shannon River, an fascinating church and a few previous ruins.

The Abbey Ruins situated between the fort and city could be simply explored throughout your stroll and are fully free to enter. They have been a spotlight of the various issues to see on the River Shannon.

Day 8 – Last Evening Portumna Dock

Cruise on the Shannon River Portmuna Dock

It was a 9 am try the following day, so we left Portumna Citadel within the afternoon to make the ultimate bridge crossing again to the Le Boat dock in Portumna. This dock is an remoted place to verify to have what you want for the evening. You possibly can order meals and have it delivered for a flat payment from city. The Le Boat workers have been good sufficient to make a name for us and we ordered Italian meals for our last evening on the River Shannon.

We spent the evening stress-free and packing as much as be off the boat and prepared for our shuttle again to Dublin shiny and early.

Our Le Boat journey had come to an finish, however the reminiscences created will final a lifetime.

A couple of Shannon River Cruise

Cruise on the Shannon River FAQ Cruising

Our route took us from Carrick on Shannon to Portumna. It was an 8-day cruise and we spent about 3 hours every day on the Water.

  • Our journey spanned 160 km / 5 locks / 2 Bridges / 20 hours of cruising
  • Locks are open Monday – Saturday 09:00am -8 pm and Sundays 10:00am-6:00pm
  • When renting a Le Boat, all the pieces is included. They offer you sensible playing cards if must function the locks. More often than not they don’t seem to be wanted, however I’ve learn that they’re required on the Shannon Erne.
  • Life Jackets have to be worn on the locks.
  • That is the right journey for inexperienced persons as no expertise is required. The times are stress-free and also you’ll glide into every city early sufficient to discover and revel in.
Cruise on the Shannon River Le Boat

Be ready for Irish climate, it could actually flip immediately and we skilled numerous rain. We needed to drive from under most days, however we had the warmth on and the snacks flowing as we took within the leisurely tempo of exploring the Shannon.

The wonderful thing about visiting Eire is that if the climate is dangerous, the pubs are open with pleasant and welcoming folks ready to heat you up with a pleasant pint of Guinness by the hearth.

Plan Your Subsequent Journey to Eire With These Assets