Cruising the river Shannon is one of Ireland most unique and wonderful experiences. It offers a relaxing and tranquil break which will leave you craving more. With 33 lovely villages and towns along it’s banks there are some fantastic restaurants to enjoy. In fact some of the finest and most popular restaurants in Ireland are located here and this three day Southern Shannon cruise will allow you to sample the very best culinary delights that the river Shannon has to offer.
Departing from the historic town of Banagher. Travel north past the lovely town of Shannonbridge stopping off at the ancient city of Clonmacnoise, tours are available here at regular points through out the day and the site is easily accessed by cruiser. After this continue north through Athlone and into Lough Ree (Lake of the Kings). At the south eastern side of Lough Ree is a sheltered bay with a number of marina’s offering access to the beautiful village of Glasson (village of the roses). Glasson is a 2km stroll away and is known as the jewel of Irelands midlands. There are several wonderful and very popular restaurants in the village and the best of these included The Fatted Calf and Grogans both of which are full of character and offer fantastic food. They are well worth visiting. If there is still light, travel south again this time stopping off in Shannonbridge for the evening where there are two famous pubs to visit. One is located just on the banks of the Shannon and is Lukers Bar originally built in 1754, John your host is well known by all tourists and he is a very friendly character. The second is Killeens Bar and this is a delightful tourist pub full of charm and fun. During the summer months there is Irish music played here most nights of the week.
Time to visit Lough Derg. Follow the winding river south back through Banagher and on to Portumna where the Shannon opens into Lough Derg. On the eastern bank on upper Lough Derg is the wonderful little village of Terryglass with its two award winning restaurants, The Derg Inn and Paddy Bar. These are very popular spots for Shannon cruisers to visit and the food here is known through out the country. It is a perfect place for lunch or dinner. Leaving Terryglass and continuing south on the Tipperary side of Lough Derg, make your way to Garrykennedy. This beautiful part of the Lough is famous for one place, the enchanting thatched Larkin’s pub. Irish music and dancing are held here regularly though out the week during the summer months. You will really enjoy your evening in Larkins and the marina and park are well facilitated to moor for the night.
As you depart from Garykennedy head west across the lough to Mountshannon. You will see the glorious round tower and ruins on Holy Island which is just outside the marina. From the marina you can arrange a tour of the island with Ger Madden who is based here. Ger is a great storyteller and a real character and a tour of the island is recommended. After this you can then travel south and cruise up the Scariff river to the east Clare towns of Scariff and Tuamgraney. The East Clare Heritage Centre is located in Tuamgraney and is housed in one of the oldest currently used churches in the world. This pre-dates St Peters Basilica in the Vatican by some 600 years and is full of interesting information. Both towns are lovely to visit. Your last stop before returning towards Banagher should be the medieval town of Killaloe which is surrounded by majestic scenery. Next to the bridge in the town in the Brian Boru centre and you can learn all about Ireland’s heroic 10th century King and his wars against the Vikings here. Killaloe was once the capital of Ireland. Located on the Ballina side of the bridge is the wonderful Cherry tree restaurant. This is a great place to enjoy your final evenings meal on the Shannon. You will have to return to base by morning time so you can choose to stay in Killaloe for the night or travel north to the popular town popular tourist town of Portumna where you can enjoy some creamy pints of Guinness and craic with the friendly locals on your last night on the Shannon. There are two marinas in Portumna, both are well facilitated for overnight mooring. The next morning it is time to set of for Banagher again, it should take two hours to arrive at a leisurely pace.