Lough Erne in Northern Ireland is one of the most spectacular cruising regions in Europe. A cruise from here will take around the upper and lower parts of this majestic Lake and down along the wonderfully secluded canal into Cavan and Leitrim. We have three bases on Lough Erne and many cruisers to offer from 2 berths all the way up to 10 berths. So why not try Lough Erne and northern Ireland for your next cruise.
Depart from Killadeas, Aghinver or Bellanaleck and cruise north to wonderful little tourist town of Belleek. This is a fantastic town full of charm and character. The people are really friendly and the towns centrepiece is the impressive Belleek Pottery centre. Housed is a huge Georgian building the centre offers tours at regular points during the day and is a very popular destination for tourist to the area. From Belleek you can cruise to Lust Beg Island which is not too far away. This is a private island with excellent facilities. There is a restaurant and bar as well as various walks and nature trails. From here you can take the chain ferry to Boa Island to visit the Caldragh Burial grounds and see the famous carved pagan stone statues.
Lough Erne is a great place for exploring and there are many islands which can be accessed for this. Some of the most popular on the Lower Lough included Hay Island, Innish Davar, Davy’s Island and the famous White Island. Davy’s island is great for an overnight stay and was once a very important monastic settlement, the ruins can still be explored. White island is one of the most visited islands on Lough Erne. It is home to 8 enigmatic figures carved in stone dating back to the 6th century. The figures have been collected from islands around Lough Erne and set into the wall of the 12th century church. These statues are incredible to view and give a real sense of the importance of this area during the first few centuries AD. The area around White Island is also a great place for fishing.
As you continue to explore the lower Lough Erne there are a few other interesting places to visit before travelling to Enniskillen for the night. These include Castle Archdale which is a large private marina and caravan park with mooring space available. There is a restaurant, shops and a pub on shore. Castle Archdale Country Park is a conservation area and includes a nature trail, butterfly gardens and wild flower meadows. During the 2nd world war it was an important base for flying boats and a small war time museum is situated in the courtyard. Another popular place to explore is Tully Castle which contains the remains of a 17th century fortified house along with beautifully restored gardens. A tragic history highlights Ulster’s turbulent past and there is a small exhibition in nearby cottages that illustrates this history which is worth visiting. Close by is the famous Lough Erne Golf Resort which hosted the G8 summit in 2013 and is a wonderful place to visit. The resort includes a 5 star hotel and spa and a championship golf course. From here you will not be far from Enniskillen and this will be a great place to spend the night. The town is full of restaurants, pubs and shopping so enjoy a stroll around.
Travelling south from Enniskillen you will pass by the popular marina of Carrybridge which is a very busy place during the boating season. The public moorings are well serviced with shower, toilet and picnic facilities. The hotel is also very popular with visiting cruiser crews and a great place for lunch or dinner. Another interesting place to visit today is The Crom Estate, this is a National Trust property which includes two castles, one of the most important nature conservation area in the UK and 2000 acres of woodland which is home to the largest Heronry in Ireland. There are a number of walks and nature trails here and the old farm buildings have been converted into a visitors’ centre and coffee shop. From here continue to travel south into the Republic of Ireland and County Cavan where the famous fishing town of Belturbet will be your destination for the evening. The people are really friendly in Belturbet and some of the pubs like the Widows bar are great fun in the evenings. Anglers and pleasure craft users have been coming to Belturbet for years and it is a real tourist town.
Lets enter the canal known as the Shannon -Erne Waterway. This will take you all the way to Leitrim village. This is one of the most secluded waterways in Ireland and your first stop will be the town of Ballyconnell, here you will find some nice café’s a restaurants for lunch and some shops for supplies. Continuing along the canal and onto Ballinamore there are three lakes you must pass through, Garadice Lough, Ballymagauran Lough and Derrycassan Lough. By far the largest of these is Garadice Lough which is famous for fishing. The scenery is stunning around here and it is an extremely peaceful and rural area which is perfect for relaxing. When you reach Ballinamore, there is one place you simply must visit and this the Glenview Folk Museum at Lock 4. There are over 4,000 artefacts on show and several exhibitions depicting early 20th century life in Leitrim. The Kennedy family own this museum and provide a very insightful tour. Further into the town is the Solas art gallery which exhibits the work of local artists and is a great place to stroll around. From Ballinamore continue to travel west along the canal towards the towns of Keshcarrigan and the tourist town of Leitrim village. Keshcarrigan is very small town but is located amidst some beautiful scenery. Not too far from here is the end of the canal and Leitrim village which is a very popular location and has some lovely restaurants and pubs to enjoy. The marina here is very well facilitated and is a great place to spend the evening.
Today will mostly be taken up with travelling back along the canal and to the upper lough. You will have to drop you cruiser back to base in the morning so it will be important to try get as close to here as possible. Try make it to Enniskillen so you don’t have much travelling to do tomorrow but make sure to relax and enjoy your final full day of cruising. A good thing to do would be to book in for dinner at the wonderful Watermill Lodge restaurant, this is a great place for a meal and mooring is provided. It will give you just the treat you deserve after a full days cruising and the food here is superb.
Time to return to base. We always say try to get up early and really enjoy your last few hours cruising. You will be back in the real world before too long so savour every minute of your last few hours on the majestic Lough Erne.