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Upper River Shannon holiday boating

The majestic Shannon, Ireland's longest river, is free from all commercial traffic and navigable for over 150 miles (220km) with only 6 locks. This river and the lakes it flows through - some more like inland seas - combine natural landscapes with historic sites.

Our Carrick-on-Shannon base bustles with cruisers and cosmopolitan crews busily preparing to cast off for their waterway adventures. The small pretty town is Ireland's cruising centre, offering a rich choice of provisions as well as a wide selection of pubs and restaurants.

From here, a northerly heading takes you along the narrow, tree lined Boyle River which then leads into Lough Key. This is a magical place with stunning scenery and nestled on its banks is the Forest Park. Follow the splendid nature trails and claiming a secluded picnic site for lunch. (Some larger boats are not able to access Lough Key)

The charming little town of Boyle boasts the ruins of a Cistercian abbey founded in 1161, a stunning mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles.

Kilkenny class at Lough KeySouth from Carrick the Shannon slowly widens, flowing gently by a cluster of small towns and villages and all well worth a visit. As you slowly cruise down stream, the river leads through a ribbon of loughs that stretch for miles until you finally reach Lough Ree.

Lough Ree is a vast, inland sea that boasts inspiring scenery and diverse wildlife. If you fancy some fish for supper, cast your line over the side - the fishing on Lough Ree will rarely disappoint.

AthloneHodson Bay is an excellent stop-off point on the southern shore or make your way along to Athlone, a town with long history and a choice of extremely good golf courses. It is notable for its imposing castle which has dominated a strategic crossing ever since the 13th century. Our new boat base is just outside Athlone at Killinure Point.

Carrick-on-Shannon to Athlone is about 11 hours direct cruising - with many places to visit en route. This route forms a pleasant one-week return trip from our bases at Carrick or Athlone. An alternative is the one-week one-way trip from Carrick on Shannon to Portumna on the Lower Shannon.

Carrick-on-ShannonRead a Boating Holidays customer's diary of a week on the River Shannon

Use our live availability search to find the ideal boat for your Irish boating holiday, and book online or contact us for advice and to book.

Carrick Base Information

Cruise Ireland, Bowers Wharf, Skipton, BD23 2PD, United Kingdom | info@cruiseireland.com