Book your boating holidays in Ireland and cruise the lovely and enigmatic waterways of the Shannon and Erne.
Two rivers, one canal, two worlds
This is where geography meets history. The Shannon–Erne Waterway is the meeting-point of two rivers: the Shannon in the Republic of Ireland and the Erne in Northern Ireland. It’s one of the finest places in Europe for boating holidays and exploring the natural world – so don’t forget your binoculars. You’ll be surrounded by blue and green, punctuated by picturesque villages. From the deck of your self-drive boat you can watch unique scenes: a red-billed chough taking flight or a pike wriggling in the water. Spend some time drinking it all in and living simply among a people and a culture that will leave a lasting impression. If you follow the Shannon southwards, you’ll travel back in time into the history of the country, with its centuries-old castles and architectural remains. Further north, the Erne opens up into a typically Irish region, with stone-built villages. The aptly-named Emerald Isle is the perfect destination for beginners as well as more experienced sailors. Why not go for a round of golf on one of the world-famous courses to stretch your legs? Peace and freedom on an idyllic journey full of adventure, which wakes up all your senses: that’s what an Ireland cruise can offer. Why not give it a try?
Set off on a memorable cruise along the gentle waterways of the Shannon and Erne
Whether you’re dreaming of boating holidays on the Shannon, the country’s longest river, or a cruise through the fish-laden waters of the Erne, with its historic heritage, Carrick-on-Shannon are the starting points.
Discover the map of the
destination and its waterways
Must-see sights on your Ireland cruise
There’s a huge amount to do and discover as you cruise along the waterways, but we’ve picked out five of the best attractions.
Sean’s Bar, where time has perfected the beer
Calling all beer connoisseurs! On the banks of the Shannon there’s one place you should definitely stop: the oldest bar in Ireland. Right in the centre of the country, in Athlone, the bar’s atmosphere and beer quality are unique.
Devenish Island, an island of contemplation
You can only reach this island in Lough Erne by boat. It’s famous for its timeless atmosphere and monastic ruins, such as the former monastery of Saint Molaise.
Kingfisher Trail, the cycle track among the lakes
On a canal boat holiday it makes sense to take advantage of cycle tracks alongside the canals, to combine relaxing on board with gentle exercise through lush green landscapes.
Ballyconnell, the perfect place to experience Irish hospitality
This small town on the banks of the Shannon–Erne Waterway has lots of restaurants and bars, which all contribute to its reputation as a lively and friendly stopover. Make sure you stop!
Lake Allen, a hot spot for pike-fishing
An Ireland cruise gives you the chance to fish for free as you travel along. But the most highly prized fish in this land of anglers is the Lake Allen pike. Make sure you have a go.
For boating holidays, try Locaboat
A cruise in the Shannon and Erne region is incredibly easy, making it the perfect holiday for families. No license is needed to rent a boat from one of our two bases, and you can prepare your journey stage by stage. With your navigation chart in hand, a carefully planned itinerary, and your introductory boating lesson under your belt, you’ll set off with no worries, free to go where you like. Cruising along the Shannon, the country’s longest river, your self-drive boat will take you southwards, to the region’s amazing castles, unspoilt landscapes and waters that are so full of fish they’ll become your new best friends as you glide along!
The river has an influence on most of Ireland’s landscape and guides you straight towards Celtic ruins and mysteries. You can stop off to enjoy some typical Irish pastimes, such as a fishing trip after a friendly drink in one of the traditional Irish pubs. It’s surprisingly easy to cover the distance from the lower to the upper reaches. That’s because the locks are few and far between. It generally costs one or two euros to pass through them, but the lock-keeper will tell you what to do. Then you can cruise the 63 kilometres of the Shannon-Erne Waterway as far as the Erne, where the landscape is full of contrasts, alternating between cliffs and vast expanses of calm countryside. This is an outstanding region for getting to know Ireland on a canal boat.
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