Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands: as seen on Channel 4's Stand Up Road Trip in partnership with Tourism Ireland

Sean Burke and Suzi Ruffel get on board with Le Boat search for the 'Salmon of Knowledge'

Comedians Sean Burke and Suzi Ruffel travelled across Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands on the search for new comedy material to perform at a stand-up gig. They took the waterways to find out how easy a boating holiday on the River Shannon really was. They visit Portumna in search of the ‘Salmon of Knowledge’.

Le Boat - Map of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands

Whatever your preferences, the River Shannon in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands is filled with breath-taking vistas and enriching experiences that will leave you intrigued, relaxed and entice you back time after time. A beautiful unspoilt part of Ireland, where life moves at it’s own pace. And whilst, Suzi and Sean explored Portumna, Lough Derg and Athlone there are plenty more incredible places to visit.

Discover Portumna

Portumna Kasteel

Portumna is home to one of Le Boat's boat hire bases. Situated at the head of Lough Derg, Portumna is one of Galway’s most attractive towns and is famous for Portumna Castle, which both King James I and Queen Elizabeth I of England visited, and for the lords that once lived there. You can also visit the Irish Workhouse Centre, the last resort of the destitute from the early 1840s to the early 1920s. Visitors are guided through the original workhouse buildings and view a short film on life in the workhouse. Portumna Forest Park is an excellent, well-maintained area with picturesque views, different walking paths, biking facilities, and lots of beautiful wildlife.

Around Lough Derg

Le Boat - Lough Derg

Take to the shores of Lough Derg dotted with picturesque villages, unwind as you cruise and soak up all the area has to offer. The legendary lake kisses the sides of Clarem Galway and Tipperary before it spills into the Shannon, so it's easy to find a solitary spot to lap up the quiet, cast out a line, or unbuckle your picnic basket for a lazy lunch. 

This is Ireland's Hidden Heartlands and the key to it all is the Shannon itself. For millennia it has been the traditional boundary between 'the West' and the rest of Ireland. The waterways of Ireland's midlands aren't always the most obvious choice for tourists and that's part of thir enduring charm. You may be only 90 minutes from the country's main cities, but once you connect to the serne and scenic network of lakes and rivers, you could be a million miles away.

The lakeshore is dotted with picturesque villages offering boat hire, mooring and leisure facilities and an excellent variety of restaurants and pubs, many with live traditional music sessions. Whatever you choose a visit to the magical Lough Derg will leave you relaxed, inspired and re-energised!


Explore Athlone

Le Boat - Athlone

You don't have to travel very far in Ireland for truly breath-taking sights and scenery, secret places full of life and bursting with charm.

Hidden landscapes, a 'subtropical paradise', captivating stories and vibrant towns; the central area of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands is ready to uncover. 

The number of heritage and cultural sites dotted around Athlone as well as the beauty of its waterways keep visitors coming back to this historic town. 

Did you know that when you are in Athlone you are at the centre of Ireland, the very heart of Ireland? Athlone, is yours to uncover.

Embark on your own adventure on the River Shannon!