River Cruise - Shannon Navigation
Type : River through beautiful scenery of central Ireland. The Shannon is the longest river in Ireland, and indeed the British Isles. It stretches over 340km from the slopes of the Cuilcagh in Co. Cavan, through Limerick to the tidal estuary and on into the Atlantic. 280km of this waterway are navigable.
Locks : 9 in 280km.
Along the way
- Lough Allen - A lake 12 km long and up to 5km wide and lies between the Slieve Anierin Mountains to the east and the Arigina Mountains to the west. Lough Allen is a mixed fishery; it is noted for its pike fishing and holds many other species besides. There is a good stock of trout and the area from Gobcormongan to the mouth of the Stoney river, on the east shore, is a noted area for trout.The Lough Allen Adventure Centreis located on the eastern shore of Lough Allen ar Ballinaglera Co. Leitrim and offers hillwalking, kayaking and windsurfing.
- 1.0 km Inishmagrath Island
- 4.0 km Cleighran More jetty, east bank. Spencer Harbour, west bank.
- 10.2 km O'Reilly's Island
- 11.5 km End of Lough Allen
- 13.0 km Drumshanbo bridge and lock. Drumshanbo town is a 10 minute walk from the lock and has a supermarket, shops, ATM and several pubs. The Visitors Center is located in the centre of town and has an A V display showing visitors the local scenery and highlighting the history of Iron and Coal Mining, The Cavan Leitrim Railway, and Sweat Houses. There are pony trekking facilities at the Moorlands Equestrian Centre, and canoeing and windsurfing avilable locally. Drumshanbo hosts a traditional dance and music festival in July every year.
- 14.1 km Acres Lake jetty and amenity area containing heated outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and children's playground. The "Teach Ceoil" or Music House which is situated here provides occasional sessions of Irish music song and dance.
- 17.3 km Drumleague lock
- 19.4 km Battlebridge bridge and lock
- 20.2 km Junction with Shannon-Erne Waterway. (0.5 km to Leitrim)
- 26.8 km Junction with River Boyle
- 28.0 km Carrick-on-Shannon - Rental Base - Carrick-on-Shannon is the county town of Leitrim and is a centre of tourism along the Shannon river, being particularly popular with anglers and boating enthusiasts. There are all the facilities one would expect in a town including shops, supermarkets, pubs and restauants. Of note in the town is the Costello chapel which is believed to be the second smallest in the world, the town hall, the town clock, and a number of classically Georgian houses including Hatley Manor. The rowing club holds a regatta in August each year and the national canoe polo championships are held in June.
- 30.6 km Lough Corry
- 36.0 km Jamestown Cut - The loop of the Shannon between Jamestown and Drumsna forms a promontory sorrounded on 3 sides by water. A stone age settlement or Dún was built on the site. The earthworks for this are believed to have taken 300, 000 man years to build (eg. 3, 000 men working for 100 years). Parts of this ancient structure can still be seen.
- 39.0 km Albert Lock and end of Jamestown Cut (Drumsna 2.6 km northwards). Drumsna is a small picturesque village set on a hill overlooking the Shannon and the canal. It has 4 pubs and 2 shops. The 7 arch bridge was built in the 1700's and is one of the few bridges not to be replaced by the Shannon Commissioners in the nineteenth century. The author Anthony Trollope was stationed here for a time, and it was here that he had the inspiration for his novel 'The MacDermotts of Ballycloran".
- 39.8 km Drumsna Rail Bridge
- 42.8 km Lough Boderg and junction with Grange branch
- 45.6 km Derrycarne Narrows and entrance to Lough Bofin - Derrycarne is noted in history as a site of battle between Sarsfield's army and William of Orange. Derrycarne woods has a Car park, picnic site, forest and riverside walks with access to and from the river Shannon. There is a marked walk of about 1 km at Derrycarne. The site was once part of an estate and the trees and plants are a mixture of native and garden species.
To the east of Lake Bofin is Dromod harbour. The village of Dromod lies 1 km beyond the quay. Dromod is on the modern mainline railway but the station for the old narrow gauge railway still exists and the Cavan and Leitrim Railway is open to the public, with trains running on demand. A tour of the site will take approximately 40 - 50 minutes and includes a trip on the train and a tour of the engine sheds, workshops and the site in general.
- 50.4 km Roosky Bridge and quay. Roosky is a village on the River Shannon in County Roscommon, near the point where counties Leitrim, Longford, and Roscommon meet. The village is a popular stop on the Shannon route and there a number of good shops, pubs and restaurants.
- 51.0 km Roosky Lock
- 56.2 km Entrance to Lough Forbes. The village of Newtownforbes lies to the east of Lough Forbes. The charming village was once the estate village to Castle Forbes. This castle was built in 1641 in the Woodland to the east of the lake. The current house on the site was constructed in the nineteenth century and is privately owned.
- 62.6 km Tarmonbarry Bridge.
- 63.0 km Tarmonbarry lock and quay - Tarmonbarry has several comfortable bars, restaurants and shops.
- 63.8 km Clondara and junction with the Royal Canal. Clondara is pretty village with a unique waterside location straddling the Royal Canal, the river Camlin and a navigation cut from the canal to the Shannon - a picture postcard of weirs, locks and water. It takes its name from the Irish, Cluain Da Rath, which means Meadow of Two ring forts. It is situated on the River Camlin at the end of the Royal Canal. In the town is Richmond Harbour, which is forty seven locks from Spenser Lock in Dublin. The canal closed for commercial use in 1966 but there are now plans to reopen it, and this will increase the number of visitors to Clonadra, as they will be able to travel on the canal by boat.
- 75.2 km Lanesborough bridge and quay. Lanesborough is set on the entrance to Lough Ree, ten miles from the towns of Roscommon and Longford. The irish name for the village is Beal Atha Liag, which means "Mouth of the stone ford." It was named after George Lane, Lord Viscount Lanesborough who was granted lands in the area in the 1600's. At the entrance to the Lough Ree the grounds of Rathcline castle can be seen on the eastern shore set on a wooded promontory. It was built be George Lane but was attacked by Cromwells army and then destroyed by fire. There is a charming riverside walk in the village. The skyline of Lanesborough is dominated by the peat fired electricity station.
- 77.2 km Entrance to Lough Ree - Lough Ree is the second largest lake on the Shannon after Lough Derg. The lake serves as a border between the counties of Longford and Westmeath (both in the province of Leinster) on the eastern side and County Roscommon in the province of Connacht on the western side. The lake is popular for fishing and boating. The lake supports a small commercial eel fishery and is locally famous for its eels on wheels truck. Lough Ree contains mixed fishery with wild Brown Trout averaging 1lb to 2lbs with much larger specimens possible; also Pike/Coarse Fish. The town of Athlone is situated at the southern end of the lake, and has a harbour for boats going out on the lake. Lough Ree has a large number of wave-worn limestone, or mushroom stones around the perimeter. There are at least 6 walks set out on the banks and islands of Lough Ree. Please contact the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) for details.
Lough Ree is a wide lake with many interesting bays, villages and islands to explore. Places of note include Portrunny in Cruit Bay, Leecarrow on the Leecarrow canal, Inchturk, Inchbofin, Inchmore with its monastic ruins, Glassan, and Hodson bay.
- 82.2 km Inchenagh Island
- 88.2 km Inchcleraun Island - The island of Inchcleraun (Inis Cloithreann) in the northern part of the lake is the site of a monastery founded in the early Christian era and contains the remains of several ancient churches. In Irish legends, it was on this island that Queen Maeve was killed. The viking Turgesius had a ringfort on the shores, and islands, from where he oppressed the local Irish populations for many decades, until his death by drowning in Lough Owel. The island is also known as Quaker Island after a past inhabitant.
- 93.6 km Rindoon Castle - Set on a promontory the ruined castle was built in the thirteenth century with a rectangular great tower and curtain wall. 1214 but, according to the Annals of the Four Masters, an earlier fortification was built there in 1156. For a time this castle was in the hands of the Knights Hospitallers and is also called St. John's Castle. There is also ruined windmill in the woods to the south of the Castle but it can be hard to find.
- 94.0 km Black Islands
- 98.2 km Yew Point
- 102.8 km Exit from Lough Ree
- 105.6 km Athlone Railway bridge
- 106.2 km Athlone bridge, quay and lock - Athlone town straddles both sides on the river Shannon. The town is considered to be the centre point of the island of Ireland and it is the crossing point of the river Shannon for the main Galway to Dublin road and railway. The town offers extensive choices in quality accommodation, restaurants, shops, pubs, sport & leisure activities and entertainment. Athlone castle is a 13th century construction and was built by John de Grey on the site of a fortress. The town museum is situated in the Keep of the Castle. Of note on leaving Athlone are the callows; riverside watermeadows that have never been developed or cultivated. The ecology of these callows is rich and varied and is one of the few remaining breeding sites in Europe of the corncrake. Another geographical feature of this area are the eskers or glacial ridges. When the glaciers receeded after the last iceage, they deposited these ridges of sand and gravel.
- 121.6 km Clonmacnoise landing - Clonmacnoise is the site of a medieval monastery founded by St. Ciaran. The remains are well preserved and interesting. The round tower still stands and there there are 2 significant celtic crosses housed in the visitors centre. Remeber to take a look at the 15th century whispering door to the cathedral. The acoustics are such that even a whisper at this door is carried into the building.
- 129.6 km Shannonbridge bridge and quay - The town has one of the oldest bridges still in use over the River Shannon, completed in 1757. The 16 arch bridge across the river is the longest on the Shannon. Shannonbridge (Irish: Rachra) is a town with a population of around 600. Shannonbridge was heavily fortified by the British in the Napoleonic era. Some of the fortifications, including a fort that now houses a restaurant, are still visible today on the west bank of the river. Kileens Pub situated on the main street of shannonbridge has a rich background. It featured in the 1971 film Flight of the Doves which featured such Irish entertainers as songstress Dana Rosemary Scallon and Irish comedian Niall Toibin.
Near to Shannonbridge is the guided tour on the Clonmacnoise & West Offaly narrow-gauge railway train run by Bord na Mona (the Irish Peat Board). It gives a fascinating insight into the history, development and flora and fauna of the raised peat bogs.
- 130.2 km Junction with the River Suck
- 139.8 km Shannon Harbour and junction with the Grand Canal - The access to the Grand Canal is on the eastern shore just past Lehinch island but is not signposted as yet. The scale of the ruins of the Grand Canal Company Hotel at Shannon Harbour give an indication of how important the waterways once were to the economy of Ireland.
- 143.2 km Banagher bridge and quay - Rental Base 1 - Rental Base 2 - A Napoleonic martello tower guards the western end of Banagher bridge. Banagher (Beannchar in Irish) is a town in the Republic of Ireland, located on the western edge of County Offaly in the midlands of Ireland. Banagher was originally built to guard a crossing point on the nearby River Shannon. The old quays have been extended and a new marina built upstream of the fine stone bridge. Shops, pubs and restaurants cater for the hundreds of cabin cruisers that tie up there. Canoes and boats can be hired and there is a canoe training centre. Famous residents have included Anthony Trollope, the Brontë sisters and singer Johnny McEvoy. The town has a thriving poetry scene, including the Readings from the Pallet festival in local bars. One product of this was Anthony Sullivan whose self-published first book Under Star and Under Sun has seen local success. Leaving Banagher more fortifications can be seen on the eastern shore.
- 150.6 km Meelick and Victoria lock - The river at this point is wide and mysterious with islands, weirs, pools and streams. Meelick is a fascinating place. Most cruisers pass through Victoria Lock unaware of the history of Meelick and the interesting places to visit. Take a morning and explore the Keelogue Battery, across the river from the quay, Hamilton Lock (disused) a short walk from Victoria Lock. The walk crosses sluices on the east side of Incherky. There is a circular walk to the east of Hamilton Lock. There is a Martello Tower on the island to the west of the canal leading to Victoria Lock. The Martello tower is unusual in being cam shaped. The roof is designed to support three artillery guns. Meelick has the oldest Irish Roman Catholic church with continuous use since 1414 AD.
- 163.4 km Portumna bridge and quay - Rental Base - Portumna is a town in County Galway, Ireland, on the border with County North Tipperary. Portumna is located in South East Galway at the point where the River Shannon enters Lough Derg. The town is famous for Portumna Castle which both King James I and Queen Elizabeth I of England visited, and for the lords that lived there. Portumna is a well-known tourist destination for boaters, golfers and anglers thanks to its natural amenities. Portumna Forest Park provides a mile long sign-posted trail that goes througha forest of common and exotic trees. Of interest in Portumna would be Portumna Castle & Gardens, and the Dominican Friary.
- 165.2 km Entrance to Lough Derg - Lough Derg is the second largest lake (or lough) in the Republic of Ireland (after Lough Corrib) and the third largest in Ireland overall (after Lough Neagh). It is a long narrow and relatively narrow lake, with shores in counties North Tipperary , Galway, and Clare. The lake is the last of three on the River Shannon. The lake is a popular place for leisure boating and fishing.
Some towns or villages on Lough Derg include:
Cloondavaun Bay - Near to Cloondavaun Castle, the marina has comprehensive facilities for boaters including a clubhouse, water, showers and laundry. Near by are a restaurant, horseriding and tennis.
Terryglass, Kilgarvan, Dromineer, Garrykennedy, Mountshannon, Scariff, Killaloe and Ballina.
- 168.2 km Gortmore Point
- 173.4 km Kilgarvan quay - Kilgarvan is a small unassuming village on the shores of the lough but it is home to one of Irelands top restaurants; Brocka-on-the-water, so well worth a visit.
- 177.2 km Goat Island reef
- 180.4 km Illaumore Island
- 182.6 km Williamstown harbour
- 183.0 km Corrikeen islands
- 185.8 km Dromineer quay - Dromineer is home to the 3rd oldest yacht club in the world; Lough Derg Yacht club, and Shannon One designed dignies can be seen racing here regularly.The entrance to the harbour can easily be identified by the ruins of a 16th century castle. It is a popular place for swimmers, anglers, yachting, water-skiers and wind-surfers. The modern facilities include restaurants, pubs, shops, privately and publicly developed marinas, sailing school and childrens play area. The former Grand Canal agent's house, upgraded and sociable to generations, is a notable landmark. Ruins of a small church, with parts as old as the 10th Century are in evidence.
- 187.4 km Garrykennedy quay - This pretty little village has very good marina facilities. It was once the stronghold of the O'Kennedy family and they had a castle by the shore. The stone from the castle was used to build the quay, though some of the tower base is still visible. the 2 pubs in the village come highly reccommended.
- 201.4 km Scariff quay - The village is a few minutes walk from the quay and has several pubs, shops, a restaurant and take-away. The village is rightly proud of its history. In the 6 th century a monastic settlement was founded on the island of Iniscealtra and the village had close links with it. Of particular interest in Scariff are:
Tuamgraney Heritage Centre and O'Grady Castle: Built prior to 960 A.D. the Church of Ireland church is the oldest one in continuous use in Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales. O'Grady Castle was built in the 14th century as a fortification for the O'Grady family which ruled the area.
Moynoe Church and Graveyard: Mentioned in the Annals of Ireland in 1084, the graveyard situated just outside the town of Scariff, was the site of a monastery accosiated with the monastery in Iniscealtra.
The Market House: The beautiful cut stone building, situated in the centre of Scariff, was built in 1893. It was used as a weighing house for butter, corn, hay and animals and a butter market was held within it.
Famine Memorial Park: The Memorial Park was recently opened, and is a reminder of the thousands of victims of the Great Famine of 1845 - 1852. One can still see the trenches where these people were buried at this time.
The Brian Boru Oak, a tree reputed to be a thousand years old, can be seen at Raheen. It is the last surviving remnant of the great primeval wood which once covered all of East Clare.
- Iniscealtra (Holy Island) in Scariff Bay in Lough Derg is one of the most famous monastic sites in Ireland. Holy Island, as it is also known, contains many important archeological sites including a well preserved Round Tower, the ruins of six churches, a holy well and a bargaining stone.The island can be easily accessed from Mountshannon pier. Visitors can avail of daily guided visits to the island daily during the summer.
- 191.2 km Scilly Island
- 196.0 km Derry Castle. The castle remains can be seen through the trees.
- 200.0 km Exit from Lough Derg
- 201.2 km Killaloe pier - The twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina lie on either side of the river Shannon at the southern end of Lough Derg. Killaloe is characterised by its charming narrow streets set on a steep hillside. Ballina runs parallel to the riverside. With all the facilities that the two towns boast, you be will be spoiled for choice with pubs, restaurants and eateries. though steeped in history Killaloe is most noted as the home of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland 1002-1014. He was responsible for harrying the Vikings on the Shannon and eventually defeating them at the battle of Clontarf. A visit to the Brian Boru Heritage centre, which is also the local tourist office, is well worth it to find out about the many places to see and activities to do in the area. The University of Limerick have their activity centre by the lake, just outside Killaloe. It is used for canoes, kayaks, windsurfing and yachts, amongst other purposes.
- 208.6 km Parteen weir and entrance to canal
- 219.4 km Ardnacrusha lock - Ardnacrusha lock was built to facilitate the Hydroelectric plant at Ardnacrusha. It is double chamber lock and seems a little intimidating at first with its 30m drop and no apparent exit. As the water falls a tunnel to the next chamber is revealed.
- 224.2 km Limerick docks - Limerick city is the the county seat of County Limerick in the province of Munster.The city itself dates from at least the Viking settlement in 812. The Normans redesigned the city in the 12th century and added much of the most notable architecture, such as King John's Castle and St Mary's Cathedral. During the civil wars of the 17th century, the city played a pivotal role, besieged by Oliver Cromwell in 1651 and twice by the Williamites in the 1690s. Limerick grew rich through trade in the late 18th century, but the Act of Union in 1800. Places of interst include:
King John's Castle, located on King's Island (in the heart of Limerick City
The Hunt Museum, Rutland Street
St Mary's Cathedral located on King's Island
Downtown Georgian architecture
Thomond Park, one of the Rugby world's most feared cauldrons.