Boating holiday in Ireland

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Explore the beautiful Shannon river in Ireland

In Ireland, you can sail on the beautiful Shannon river, which offers many exciting activities and places to explore

A boating holiday on Shannon-Ernes rivers and canals will be holiday-sailing through Ireland's ever-green open spaces and dramatic landscapes. As far as the eye can see - the outlining of distant mountains in the horizon is are always present and romantic valleys abound - centuries-old monastic communities in Clonmacnoise south of Athlone and Celtic medieval castles towers along the lakeshore. The beautiful string of blue lakes is a paradise for anglers. Adorable little villages such as Carrick, Leitrim and Killaloe with warm pubs and houses painted in bright colours testify to the exuberant Irish authenticity in the area. The old Irish proverb: a stranger is a friend you have not met yet - is something you will soon realise.

Fishing - the water in the Irish lakes is so clean that you'll want to drink it - and where there is water in Ireland, there is also fish - trout, salmon, perch, bream and many more - a paradise for anglers.

Myths and legends and Irish history spanning millennia are ever evident at prehistoric sites and while admiring royal seats - the earliest Christian monasteries, tall-crosses and fortresses - all in harmony with the Irish daily life, and on a boating holiday you can sail in the middle of it all.

Enjoy a velvet black stout or an original Irish whiskey at one of the many pubs on your way and enjoy evening moments full of atmosphere, while meeting the always warm and welcoming-coming Irish people, their stories and folklore.

Golf - Few countries have so many and so incredibly beautiful golf courses of international standard as Ireland. And many of them are close to the waterways and offering incredible views. So why not combine your boating holiday with a couple of mornings on the course.



A boating holiday on the River Shannon in Ireland is an amazing experience where you can unwind and relax, have fun and discover one of Irelands most scenic areas. Here you will find hundred-year-old monasteries, lush landscapes, dramatic scenery and quaint small towns with a big heart - and you have all the ingredients for a perfect boating holiday. It's no wonder the River Shannon with its boating culture is such a popular holiday choice in Ireland.

Highlights on a boating holiday on the Shannon in Ireland: 

  • Shannon and Erne rivers and the surrounding lakes are an angler's paradise with salmon, pike, bream, and perch
  • Traditional Irish pubs and lively Celtic music welcomes you in country
  • Majestic scenery around the Upper and Lower Lough Erne - where cliffs rise from the sparkling waters
  • Portumna's National Park and the castle from the 17th century for strolling and sightseeing
  • Very fine golf courses near waterways
  • Bike ride on the Kingfisher Trail
  • Shannon Harbour fishing
  • Carrick arts centre
  • Swan Island Open Farm in Ballinamore
  • Mountshannon's Holy Island
  • Ancient religious sites - visit Clonmacnoise near Shannonbridge
  • Small towns, restaurants and bars at Lough Derg - the largest lake on the route
  • From Carrick on Shannon, hub of the waterways, you must explore the beautiful scenery around Lough Key
  • Golf at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell
  • In Pottery Belleek

About boating holidays in Ireland - Practical Tips

The Irish coast rises steeply from the sea and the terrain falls further into the country and forms a sort of dish where water collects. The fifth part of Vanden headed down the Shannon river - Ireland's largest river 360 km long. 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 a large number of lakes in the Shannon system - a big plus for a sailing and boating holiday. It is a very beautiful area and engages with 2 channel systems between Shannon and Erne. The canal is 63 kilometres and runs from Leitrim Village to Upper Lough. There are 18 locks and here is very peaceful.

A brief historical orientation

Shannon-Erne canal is interesting - both the old and the new. As early as 1838 there were plans to create a route to connect the Shannon and Erne rivers and canal follow the lines that were thought at the time. Channel project got a little bad start, but the system was opened in 1860, but the railways beat it to death immediately. For 9 years, there were only eight boats that used the system and the canal was closed. Work began in 1991 to the reopening of the canal for a pleasure boat and three years after the system was reopened.

Tips for navigation

It is easy to sail on the Shannon-Erne and easy for beginners. However, care must be taken when sailing in winds over open water. You need upon arrival at the base watching a video before flying out. Required license for all areas except Carrick. The fishing license costs about 7 € for 1 week.

Restrictions on sailing

Be aware that some of the boats (both from 4 m in width) cannot be found in the narrow locks on Lough Allan Canal (between Carrick and Drumshanbo) (including Magnifique and Shannon Star), but the rest of that area which no restrictions.
Sailing on the lakes can be reduced in bad weather (high winds). Children under 17 must wear a life jacket. On the lakes have to sail in the middle of the fairway otherwise you risk running aground. It can be costly to have the assistance and pulled free after grounding and these costs are covered either by insurance or risk insurance and must be paid by you as a tenant if it happens.


You need a "smart card" to get through the 16 locks on the Shannon-Erne system. You can buy them at the base - price approx.13, - €. You also have to pay to sail through the locks and bridges. It is compulsory to wear life jackets in the locks. The gates are open during the day - but closed on some public holidays. The gates (6 pcs.) At Shannon is controlled by a gate guard. There is a fee every time for help. The same applies to the swing bridge at Portumna. Please check the opening hours! The locks on the Shannon-Erne route is electric, and it bought "smart card" is used to activate the locks. Clip Card is also used as payment for the toilet tank emptying.
The maps of sail area are marked with shallow areas (this is shaded squares on the map) and buoys to mark the recommended routes or symbols of stones and rocks that you have to take care of. Should there still be a grounding, please base Please contact the service line. Will be charged a fee - for control of the boat's condition and safety.

Additional Berthing

There is plenty to berthing facilities in the Shannon-Erne area. Overnight in the public ports are free, but it costs amounting to stay in private marinas. It is not allowed to anchor during the night time on the lakes.

Transfer Service

We arrange taxi transfer between bases and the airport or train station. We can because of the bases' experience usually get a better price than the individual traveller. If you travel one way, there can be arranged a transfer from end base to start base.


Ireland is the perfect place to combine a boat vacation with golf. Choose from six world-class courses, while enjoying your boat vacation. Tee off at the 18-hole course at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell and then relax with a "pint" at hole 19!

Nature lovers

The fields, marshes and islands of the Shannon-Erne system radiates serenity while you watch ducks, geese, terns, coots and the crested grebe. Hiking trails meander through the landscape and invite to trips. Bullock Island near Shannon Harbour to birdwatching.

Families and children

The family-friendly Shannon-Erne area boasts of pitch-and-putt golf in Lanesborough. The kids will also love Lough Key Forest and Active Park in Carrick-on-Shannon and animals in Swan Islands in Ballinamore. Do not forget that it is always fun for children, fx fishing or kayaking.


A licence 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 is sensitive and it is recommended to have a plastic bag for paper and other waste standing at the toilet to avoid clogging. Called the base like a clogged toilet, a fee for doing so. All boats have toilet collection tanks emptied by special "pump-out stations" on land. These are marked on the map.


Normally open 10:30 to 23:30. Sundays 12:30 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 11:00 p.m.
You should mostly book a table in advance on Fridays and Saturdays. Going to the pub is traditional and a loved living in Ireland - and generally, pubs are both cosy and explode with atmosphere. The service is friendly and atmosphere.

Driving a car in Ireland

Left Driving in Ireland. There are few highways, so allow plenty of time.

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