On the northern tip of Lough Ree you will come to the twin villages of Lanesborough and Ballyleague. You will now be once again entering the narrowing Shannon River as it winds towards Longford and Leitrim. These villages are a relaxing stop-over for Shannon cruisers and are famous for fishing. Lanesborough is most noted for the large ESB power station that dominates the skyline. This station has helped the local economy not only through employment but through its by-product of warm water pumped into the river attracting an abundance of fish. Amidst the town’s dramatic scenery there are restaurants, pubs and shops for supplies and the harbour is a nice quiet place to set down for the night.
For those in the mood for some live music and entertainment, Clarke’s pub on Lanesborough’s main street is famous for it’s live Irish music sessions and these take place on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summer months. The bar also caters for pool and sports and a visit makes for a great night.
The name Lanesborough means ‘Crossing place of the stones’, which suggests that this is an ancient crossing point on the river. The area has been the scene of invasion, occupation, war, plague and famine over the centuries and like the other famous crossing points along the Shannon it is steeped in a rich and bloody history. The first bridge at this crossing point was built in 1000 AD by King Malachi of Meath to join the kingdoms of east and west in an attempt to defend against the Viking threats. The strategic importance of this bridge has led to it being re-built again and again over the centuries by conquering invaders and occupying forces.
The twin villages are famous for fishing and stocks of pike, rudd, trench and bream are plentiful. There is a small playground for the children and a looped bog walking trail which starts near the harbour. The ruins of the 17th century Rathcline Castle located to the south of the town make for impressive viewing.