River Shannon Boating Holidays

The River Shannon is ideal for lock-free boating holidays - with no commercial traffic, and only 6 locks in its 150 miles (220k) of cruising water. The river and the lakes flow through natural landscapes and historic sites - they are also an angler's paradise.

The centre of boating on the River Shannon is the town of Carrick-on-Shannon. Its narrow streets offer a wide selection of pubs and restaurants, and there are many boating holiday options starting from here.

From Carrick you can go north west along the Boyle river to Lough Key, with its Forest Park and nature trails. Visit the ruins of the 12th century Cistercian abbey in the little town of Boyle. (Not all boats can access Lough Key).

Going south from Carrick the River Shannon slowly widens, flowing past many small towns and villages. The river continues through many loughs to Lough Ree - a scenic inland sea home to diverse wildlife and well stocked with fish.

At the southern end of Lough Ree, historic Athlone is noted for its castle, dominating the river since the 13th century. From Athlone the Shannon flows through undulating countryside - a rambler’s heaven with parklands, historic ruins and grand houses to explore.

The river slowly snakes past Clonmacnois, the ancient Christian capital of Ireland with a cathedral and churches steeped in history. Life slows down along this stretch of the Shannon as you head to Banagher.

Further south is mighty Lough Derg, the largest lake on the Irish waterways. Lough Derg is noted for the charming lakeside towns and villages with their small harbours and moorings. Good restaurants and pubs abound in this area.

Portumna’s broad streets and majestic parades of shops and houses reflect the town’s Georgian past. The National Park on the northern shore has its own harbour and a secluded nature trail.

Killaloe is the most southerly navigable point on the Shannon. Customary Irish hospitality and fine food and drink awaits boaters here.


Area Highlights

Highlights of Ireland - River Shannon

  • Portumna Castle
  • Horseback riding in Banagher
  • Shannon Harbour fishing
  • Ruins of Clonmacnois
  • Mountshannon’s Holy Island.
  • Carrick’s Dock Arts Centre
  • Swan Island Open Farm in Ballinamore
Ireland Boating Holidays

Useful Information:

  • To cruise on the Shannon-Erne waterway, you will need to buy a smart card to operate the locks, these are available from all bases at a cost of approxomately €13 for 20 units. Locks and bridges on the River Shannon cost approx €1.50 each.

Customer Reviews

The excellent weather made the holiday so we were able to cruise as far as Killaloe and we taxied into Limerick. Another good route was up the River Suck to Ballinasloe from where we had a day trip by train to Galway city. DH – Portumna and back in Ireland
Perfect service after a simple call. Friendly personnel. We started in Portumna,went to Athlone, then back to Killaloe, and return to Portumna. We found this route perfect. LC - Portumna out and back in Ireland

Suggested cruises from our bases in Ireland

Show Full Map
Ireland Boating Map

View Routes from:

Back to the Top