Ireland is synonymous with many things; rolling green fields, charming villages and towns and particularly, the River Shannon. Winding its way through the Irish countryside, the 200-mile long river makes its way through towns, villages, lakes, loughs and farmlands, creating an eastern and western divide in the country.
Starting from its source, Shannon Pot, which sits close to the border with Northern Ireland, the river makes its way through the nation, continuing down to the Shannon estuary on the Atlantic coast. As the longest river in the British Isles, the River Shannon is the ideal destination for boating holidays.
So, where does the river Shannon flow through , and what can you see along the way? Read on to see what a fantastic River Shannon cruise entails and the must-see sights along the way.
Where does the River Shannon flow through? Towns and villages
One of the most joyous things about canal boat hire in Ireland is the many fantastic and interesting destinations along the River Shannon. The Shannon flows through a myriad of towns, villages, and hamlets, creating an unbeatable route for sightseeing. Here are some of the unmissable destinations.
Carrick on Shannon
Nestled into the far north of the River Shannon is arguably one of the river’s most famous towns, Carrick on Shannon. Carrick on Shannon river cruises have been at the heart of boating holidays in Ireland for decades, and the town has fast become one of the most popular places to start the water-based adventure.
Aside from the practicality of starting your river journey in Carrick on Shannon, the town itself is worth a little exploring. As the capital of County Leitrim, Carrick on Shannon has developed into a hub of activity without losing its small-town Irish charm. Known as the marina capital of Ireland, Carrick on Shannon centres around the River Shannon, only adding to the aesthetic beauty of the town.
You can start by taking a walk along the riverbank boardwalk, where you will find a huge variety of boats and river vessels. Heading into the town, be sure to visit the unusual Costello Chapel, which is thought to be the smallest chapel in all of Europe. Aside from its historical sights, Carrick on Shannon has its fair share of modern attractions, including the 19th-century former courthouse, which has been converted into the county’s first integrated centre for the arts.
Perched on the borders of County Roscommon and County Westmeath is the town of Athlone. With the river flowing right through town, Athlone will be one of the biggest settlements you will pass with your River Shannon boat rental . Although it might be tempting to carry on through, stopping off at the town of Athlone makes getting back off the boat all the more worth it.
Athlone’s most impressive landmark is Athlone Castle, constructed during the Norman invasion of Ireland during the 13th century. This impressive medieval castle is an imposing structure to this day. A guided tour of the castle brings the rich history of Ireland alive. Athlone is also home to Sean’s Bar, the oldest pub in all of Ireland. Starting out as a riverside inn in the 10th century, it may even have the claim of being the oldest tavern in all of Europe.
Located on the river’s southerly route, the town of Banagher is another quaint Irish town through which the River Shannon flows. Much like Carrick on Shannon, Banagher is another popular place to secure your River Shannon boat hire . Aside from the fantastic marina and River Shannon boat hire opportunities, Banagher has its own selection of must-see sights.
The 19th century Martello Tower is one of Banagher’s most iconic landmarks. This 19th-century tower was constructed as part of the British defences against an invasion by Napoleon. Banagher is also home to one of the best River Shannon fishing spots, the Banagher Town Stretch, which can accommodate up to 18 anglers.
Lakes along the River Shannon
When we ask, where does the River Shannon flow through? , towns and villages are not the only answer. Dotted along the River Shannon are a series of lakes and loughs, some only small and others that are vast, almost appearing as an inland sea to boaters.
At the very south of the River Shannon is the largest lough on the entire waterway, Lough Derg. Covering around 50 square miles, Lough Derg is also one of the largest lakes in all of Ireland, home to fantastic fishing opportunities, as well as beautiful banks and woodlands to explore on foot.
The River Shannon also flows through Lough Ree, just north of Athlone in the island’s Midlands region. As one of Ireland’s Special Protection Areas, Lough Ree is a haven for a huge array of birdlife, making it ideal for the bird watchers among you. Lough Ree is also a great place to spend a day or two fishing or enjoying a number of watersports.
At very north of the River Shannon, close to the town of Carrick on Shannon, is the third of the river’s largest lakes, Lough Allen. The unique wind funnel effect has meant that Lough Allen is home to an award-winning adventure centre and windsurfing community. Therefore, Lough Allen stands apart from the others by being one of Ireland’s premier windsurfing destinations.
Where Does the River Shannon Flow Through?
The source of the River Shannon beings at Shannon pot in County Cavan, close to the Northern Irish border. The river then flows in a southerly direction, passing through Lough Allen, the towns of Carrick on Shannon and Lanesborough, before flowing into Lough Ree.
Flowing ever southwesterly, the river exits Lough Ree and flows through Athlone, Shannonbridge and Banagher. On its final journey, the River Shannon flows into Lough Derg and out towards the city of Limerick. After flowing through the city of Limerick, the River Shannon runs directly westwards into the Shannon estuary and finally out into the Atlantic ocean.