Explore the beautiful Shannon River

The Shannon River in Ireland is a wonderful place to sail. Here you have a wealth of exciting activities and places to explore.

A boating holiday on the rivers and canals of Shannon and Erne rivers is a trip through Irelands eternally green and dramatic landscapes. As far as the eye goes, you’ll see the contour of faraway mountains, romantic valleys and Celtic medieval castles that towers over the lake sides. The area is also a paradise for anglers as they can catch both trout, salmon, perch and bream here.

Charming villages such as Carrick, Leitrim and Killaloe with their cozy pubs and brightly colored houses is a testament to the joyous Irishmen. You’ll soon realize that the old Irish proverb ”a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet” still assert itself in the Irish mentality.

Irelands history, myths and legends spans over centuries and there are plenty of opportunity to dwell on the history for example at Portumna Castle.

If you need a break from all the impressions, you can always enjoy a velvet black stout or an original Irish whiskey at one of the many pubs on your way. Here you’re guaranteed to enjoy evenings full of atmosphere while meeting the always warm and welcoming Irish people with their stories and folklore.

Finally, there are few countries that have as many and as incredibly beautiful golf courses of international standard as Ireland. Many of them are close to the waterways and offers incredible view so why not combine your boating holiday with a couple of games on the courses.


Riverboats in Ireland


A country with myths and secrets, the cleanest of waters and dramatic scenery – Ireland has all ingredients for the perfect boating holiday. The beautiful river of Shannon and Erne along with the surrounding lakes makes up one of the most popular destinations for a boating holiday in Europe.

Highlights along Shannon: 

  • The ruins of Clonmacnoise
  • Portumna Castle
  • Ceramics at Belleek
  • Horseback riding in Banagher
  • Carrick arts centre "The Dock"
  • Mountshannon's Holy Island
  • Angling
  • Bicycle trip on Kingfisher Trail
  • Swan Island Open Farm in Ballinamore
Map of Shanon

Practical information about sailing in Ireland

The 360 km long Shannon river is Ireland's largest. The difference in the water level of the navigable part of the river is only 9 meters, which means that the water is only moving slowly. A map of the Shannon River will also show many lakes in the Shannon system - a big plus for a boating holiday. It is a very beautiful area and engages with 2 channel systems between Shannon and Erne.

Tips for navigation

It is easy to sail on the Shannon-Erne including for beginners. However, care must be taken when sailing in winds over open water. Upon arrival at the base you need to watch a video before sailing out.

Restrictions on sailing

Be aware that some of the boats (boats from 4 m in width, i.e. Magnifique and Shannon Star) cannot pass through the narrow locks on Lough Allan Canal (between Carrick and Drumshanbo), but the rest of the area has no restrictions.

Sailing on the lakes you must keep to the center of fairway otherwise you risk running aground. If you run aground you must contact the base on the service phone. You will be charged a fee for a check up on the condition and safety of the boat as well as for assistance in pulling the boat free. This can be costly since neither the insurance nor the risk insurance covers this, and thus you as a tenant must pay them yourself.

The maps of the sailing area are clearly marked with shallow areas and buoys to mark the recommended routes or symbols of stones and rocks that you must beware of.

Please note that sailing on the lakes can be reduced in bad weather (high winds). Children under 17 must wear a life jacket.


At the bases you can buy a “smart card” that you need in order to pass through the lock of the Shannon-Erne system. Some of the locks are operated by a lockmaster and are open during the day except for some public holidays. Remember to check the opening hours. You pay a fee every time you pass through. This also applies to the swing bridge at Portumna.

Other locks in the area are electric and the “smart card” is used to activate them. It is compulsory to wear life jackets in the locks.


There are plenty of berthing facilities in the Shannon-Erne area. Overnight in the public ports are free, while it costs a fee to stay in private marinas. It is not allowed to anchor on the lakes during the nighttime.

Transfer Service

We arrange taxi transfer to and from the bases. Because of the bases' experience we can usually get a better price than the individual traveler. If you travel one way, there can be arranged a transfer from end base to start base.


A license is mandatory - and can be purchased at the bases or the tourist office. Private fishing equipment can be brought (no rent from the base).


River water is used to pump the toilet. The system and the environment are very sensitive, and it is recommended to have a plastic bag for paper and other waste standing at the toilet to avoid clogging. If the base is called out for a clogged toilet, you will be charged a fee. All boats have toilet collection tanks emptied by special "pump-out stations" on land. These are marked on the map. The “smart card” is also used as payment for the toilet tank emptying.

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