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Boating In Europe: Ireland

Emerald green is indeed the colour of Ireland and its beguiling countryside.

Ireland is a golfer's paradise, an angler's dream, but above all it offers spectacular and beautiful waterways. In 1994 a project to restore the 75 kilometre link between the rivers Erne and Shannon was completed which effectively combined Ireland's two main cruising areas. Holidaymakers now have over 500kms of lakes and waterways available to cruise from Belleek in the north to Killaloe in the south of this scenic area.

Ireland has the largest expanse of water in Europe dedicated to the pleasures of cruising, angling and holidaying on the water in total tranquillity, far from the stress and noise of our modern day lives. Navigating on large lakes such as Lough Derg or Lough Ree is quite different from that on rivers such as the Erne. Our bases, Carrick-on-Shannon and Portumna, at the northern tip of Lough Derg, are your gateways to a wide variety of landscapes which will ensure your holiday is memorable.

carrick on shannon

Enniskillen CastleTraditional shops at Athlone
Fishing on Lough Derg

1. Enniskillen Castle
2. Traditional shops at Athlone
3. Fishing on Lough Derg
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The upper course of the Shannon is formed from the confluence of the Boyle and the Shannon. These two rivers come together just to the north of our Carrick-on-Shannon base. You can therefore cruise up to the sources of both rivers, in Lough Key for the Boyle and in Lough Allen for the Shannon (via a narrow, tree-lined, canal). From Carrick, a short cruise brings you to Leitrim village and the lock which controls access to the new Shannon-Erne Waterway. There is an extremely wide variety of trips from Carrick-on-Shannon all of which offer easy access to numerous villages and moorings. Do not miss the Lough Key Forest Park and, nearby, the 12th century Cistercian Abbey and the recently-restored 17th century King Town House in Boyle. Upstream, a fairyland of meandering rivers and lakes awaits you as the Shannon intensifies in its slow progress to the South. You can admire the mysterious reedy marshes and cruise on Carnadoe, Kilglass and Grange Waters. Visit Lough Ree. Follow the water and your boat will take you to Lecarrow or Hodson Bay or to the river Inny.


Emerald Star's Portumna base is at the northern tip of Lough Derg. This vast lake is almost 40 km long and 18 km wide at its widest point. Terryglass, Dromineer, Garrykennedy or Mountshannon are all recommended moorings and provide delightful stopovers. This lake nestles in the midst of grassy hills and the landscapes are lush and green. Killaloe is a small sailing harbour at the Southern tip of Lough Derg. Further upstream, the Shannon makes its way peacefully between embankments dotted with grazing herds.Do not miss the famous monastic settlement of Clonmacnois, founded in 545 AD, then continue your cruise towards the dynamic country town of Athlone.

There is so much to see and visit in Ireland that one trip will only whet your appetite... and the warmth and hospitality of the Irish will bring you back time and time again.

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