About Shannon and Erne

Feel the irresistible lure of the Shannon-Erne

The River Shannon gives central Ireland it's unique character. It’s an obvious feature if you study a Shannon River map. At a glance, it’s clear that the waters influence the land. The fishing is superb and golf is extremely popular! As you travel, you’ll stop in quaint villages, why not explore the medieval churches and kick back in the pubs!

 

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Find your bearings...

Shannon and Erne Region map

 = Le Boat Base           = Canal           = Navigable river           = No navigation beyond this point

The perfect boating region for...

Golf

If you love golf you'll love golfing on the Shannon-Erne. Choose from six world-class golf courses and include golf breaks in your Shannon-Erne cruises. Tee off at the 18-hole golf course at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell. Then relax with a pint at the 19th hole!

Fishing

The Shannon-Erne is perfect for fishing holidays! Go for pike, perch, roach, bream and rudd. The Lower Lough Erne is famous for its hefty brown trout, and Upper Lough Erne is a pike angler’s nirvana! Carrick-on-Shannon ranks as one of Ireland’s top coarse fishing centres!

History & Heritage

Monastery ruins, medieval churches and stately castles are seen around every corner on the Shannon-Erne history holidays. Let the ruins of Clonmacnoise (circa 6th century) impress you! Not to be missed are the Brian Boru Heritage Centre, Portumna Castle and the Carrigglas Manor.

Nature Lovers

The fields, bogs and islands of the Shannon-Erne exude serenity as you watch ducks, geese, terns, coots and Great-crested grebes. Trekking trails meander through parkland and invite you to stroll in Nature. Bullock Island near Shannon Harbour beckons for bird-watching!

Useful information

A bit of background

The Irish coast rises tallish from the sea, and yet the terrain drops farther inland, creating a sort of cup where the water gathers. One fifth of the water drains inward to the Shannon River, Ireland’s largest at 360 kilometres (224 miles). The fall on the navigable middle section of the river is slight at only 9 metres (29 feet), which means the water moves slowly. A Shannon River map also reveals the large number of lakes in the Shannon system, a real plus for canal boat cruising!

 

Taking a look at a Shannon-Erne waterway map highlights the pretty stretch of the Shannon-Erne Canal. This passage links up the two canal systems of the Shannon and Erne rivers, thus accounting for its rather uncreative name. The canal is 63 kilometres (39 miles) and runs from Leitrim Village to Upper Lough. It has 18 locks and is as stunning as it is tranquil.

 

Le Boat in Ireland is known as Emerald Star. If you book outside of Ireland, although your booking will be with Le Boat, when you arrive in Ireland, our bases and boats proudly display our Emerald Star brand. But worry not, you will still receive the same great service that your would get from any of our Le Boat bases elsewhere. If you book from within Ireland, you'll be with Emerald Star every step of the way.  Emerald Star are Ireland's Number One boating holiday provider and have been operating on the Rivers Shannon and Erne for more than 40 years - your holiday is in safe hands.

The Shannon-Erne Canal is interestingly both old and new. As early as 1838, efforts were made to survey a route to link the Shannon and Erne rivers, and today’s canal follows the path set out at that time. The canal project had some false starts, but the waterway eventually opened in 1860. The railroads promptly killed it. In nine years, only eight boats used it! The canal was closed. In 1991, work began to open the canal for pleasure boats and three years later the canal was back!

Cruising on the Shannon-Erne is easy and suitable for beginners. However, you should pay careful attention to your navigation during windy weather on open waters. You will be required to view a video before departure. Fishing licences are required for all cruising areas except Carrick. The charge for a licence is about 7 euros per week.

 

Navigation restrictions: Please note that some of our boats cannot go on the Lough Allen Canal (between Carrick & Drumshanbo) but the rest of the itinerary is not restricted : Vision3, Magnifique, Classique, Elegance, Crusader, Shannon star, Royal mystique 2, Caprice.

Smart cards are needed to operate the 16 locks on the Shannon-Erne. They can be purchased for approximately 13 euros for 20 units at all our bases. Locks and bridges on the River Shannon are also charged at approximately 1.50 euros each. Lifejackets must be worn in the locks.

 

Opening hours: Locks are open daily 09:00-20:00 (8:00 p.m.).

 

Public holidays: Locks are closed on some public holidays. All locks closed on: 1st November. 

Moorings are plentiful on the Shannon-Erne.

To find out how to get to each of our bases in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available at each base or nearby, click on the relevant base below:

  • Hire of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demontration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Optional holiday extras (find out more
  • Boat damage waiver (find out more)
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour (find out more)
  • Passage through locks (small fee applies - payable locally)
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside serevices if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Download our region guide

We've produced a handy PDF guide for this region to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway.

Download our region guide

Interactive map of the Shannon & Erne

  = Le Boat base       = Point of interest

Great to see...

Must see
Emerald Star in front of Castle Island in Lough Key

Lough Key is a beautiful, relaxed mooring offering the opportunity to chill out and explore. The Lough Key centre offers a number of activities for the whole family. There also is an adventure playground in the complex together with a unique and challenging adventure house for adults and children called Boda Borg.

Must see
Pierres tombales de Clonmacnoise

Clonmacnoise is a wonderful vestige of the past, lost in nature. Discover a great monastery, which was once the most famous of the island, before beeing destroyed by Athlone. Come here and discover many beautiful monuments, like the old monastery, the ruin of the cathedral and the pretty castle ruins too. The landscapes are here just marvelous.

Altough it is a small village, Belleek is known for its history in china and porcelain production. Cycle around town and discover the Belleek pottery, founded in the 19th century. You may also enjoy a walk to the pretty Castle Caldwell at the west of the city.

Enniskillen is the biggest city of Fermanagh County. Downtown, have a walk and visit the magnificient Anglican Cathedral, St. Macartin. On the outskirts, there are pretty places like the gardens near the old fortified house in Tully Castle.

Welcome to Belturbet, a peaceful and welcoming town along the canal. Enter the city and have a walk downtown, to discover the beautiful Staghal Church. If you stay the night, you can dine in one of the many fine restaurants.

Welcome to Ballyconnell, a vibrant and picturesque town with a number of good restaurants and typical pubs downtown. The Tomregan church, aside the town, is a good place for a peaceful walk in pretty surroundings.

Ballinamore is a green and peaceful town with many activities on offer. Walk the hiking paths around the city, take to your bicycle or visit the equestrian centre.

Drumshanbo, located along the Shannon river is a typical Irish village, with a once-thriving iron-mining industry.  The city has a great religious past, and has three churches that you can visit. Around the lake, there are also beautiful walking paths.

A quiet and pretty little village straddling the canal. A good place to have a drink on the terrace, watching the river.

Carrick-On-Shannon is the largest town in County Leitrim. The ruins of the old Carrick Castle can be glimpsed on the Carrick Bridge. Stop in this pretty town and visit the great Saint-Mary's Church. Learn its history and discover its culture in the art centre.

This picturesque village is an important boating harbour on the River Shannon with many attractive mooring places. There are some lovely walks here, and really good spots for anglers.

Tarmonbarry is a welcoming town with many vestiges of the past. Discover the hidden Abbey in the church grounds, built in the twelth century or enjoy the sight of the great Carriglas Manor. If you stay for the night, enjoy the plentiful local pubs and restaurants.

In the small town of Lanesborough stands one of the oldest centres of Christianity in Longford, Saint-John's church, a beautiful building built on an older church dating from the 5th century.

Athlone

Athlone, the capital of the Midlands, is a welcoming town. Come and discover its culture, especially Athlone Castle, built to defend the island against French attacks and then partially destroyed by a lightening strike in 1967. Take time to see the visitor centre and the beautiful landscapes over the river Shannon.

Banagher is steeped in history. Come here and discover this peaceful and quiet town hiding many treasures of the past, like the old Castle Clonony. Head downtown and visit the pretty Saint-Paul's church.

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 lived there.

A pretty and welcoming village where you will enjoy having a rest. Have a break in one of the good restaurants. Terryglass is also the site of a 6th century monastic settlement, of which only a small part remains; but the area is very historic.

Near Dromineer, you will appreciate the sight of the 13th century ruined castle. Have a walk along the shore to observe the pretty landscapes on the river Shannon.

Welcome in Garykennedy, a quiet village that was once the residence of the powerful Kennedy family. Observe the old Kennedy Castle, and have a good time in the pubs downtown. There is also an access to the biggest lake of Ireland, the Lough Derg.

Mountshannon is a beautiful and scenic village. It was designed as a model village and completed in 1742. It's tree lined streets and the uniformity of its architecture give it a grace and dignity seldom seen in villages of comparable size.

Scariff is a major stopping point for boats upon the Shannon River. Although it is narrow and windy, the Scariff River, which winds its way through the town before joining Lough Derg, is easily navigable and is a quaint and enjoyable experience.

Killaloe and Ballina are two wonderful green villages separated by the river. Take time to have a walk on the old stone bridge and appreciate the amazing river views. The old roman catholic church is also worth a visit.

Itinerary suggestions

To help you get an idea of how far you can travel in the time you have, here's a selection of routes to and from our bases in this region. You dont have to stop at all the places listed or follow the route exactly. So long as you return your boat to your end base by the date you've booked - you're free to enjoy your cruise however you like. For a comfortable pace, allowing you time to regularly stop and explore, we'd recommend an average of 2 - 4 hours cruising each day.

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Enniskillen

Carrick-on-Shannon
Leitrim-Village
Drumshanbo
Ballinamore
Ballyconnell
Belturbet
Enniskillen
Carrick-on-Shannon

36 hr(s) of cruising

220km 34 lock(s) 10 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Enniskillen

You came for the world-famous Irish scenery you knew you’d find on Lakelands Short Break boat holidays in Ireland, a departure from the harried to a land where the fish bite and the 19th hole lures. You’ve already teed in Belturbet, and now you’re leisurely cruising northward on Upper Lough Erne to angle for dinner. Perch and Guinness anyone?

36 hr(s) of cruising

220km 34 lock(s) 10 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Belleek

Carrick-on-Shannon
Leitrim-Village
Drumshanbo
Ballinamore
Ballyconnell
Belturbet
Enniskillen
Belleek
Carrick-on-Shannon

46 hr(s) of cruising

280km 36 lock(s) 11 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Belleek

You’re cruising in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands, and you see that Upper Lough Erne is a wonderland of lush green islands amidst a backdrop of blue. Having temporarily satiated your passion for angling, golf and cycling, you look forward to exploring Tully and Caldwell castles on the next phase of your barge holidays in Ireland! 

46 hr(s) of cruising

280km 36 lock(s) 11 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Belturbet

Carrick-on-Shannon
Leitrim-Village
Drumshanbo
Ballinamore
Ballyconnell
Belturbet
Carrick-on-Shannon

29 hr(s) of cruising

150km 34 lock(s) 7 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Belturbet

You head out on your barge holiday in Ireland through lakes, the Shannon-Erne Waterway and the River Shannon. You feel relaxed as the scenery slowly passes by, and you see friendly people wave at you from the towpath. Along the way, you enjoy the waterfront bistro in Leitrim, fishing at Drumshanbo and playing the 18-hole championship golf course at Ballyconnell.

29 hr(s) of cruising

150km 34 lock(s) 7 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Lanesborough

Carrick-on-Shannon
Roosky
Tarmonbarry
Lanesborough
Carrick-on-Shannon

14 hr(s) of cruising

104km 6 lock(s) 3 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Lanesborough

The River Shannon marks a swath of blue through emerald-green hills dotted with Celtic ruins and postcard-perfect villages, entrancing you with every mile you make south toward Lanesborough at the head of Lough Ree. A boat hire in Ireland immerses you in the Irish way of life, slow and easy as you cycle the towpaths or play a round of golf.

14 hr(s) of cruising

104km 6 lock(s) 3 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Athlone

Carrick-on-Shannon
Roosky
Tarmonbarry
Lanesborough
Athlone
Carrick-on-Shannon

22 hr(s) of cruising

200km 6 lock(s) 7 nights

Carrick-on-Shannon RETURN via Athlone

You’ve revelled in the friendly pubs and tried the Guinness and Jameson whisky, Calcannon (potato and cabbage) and Boxty (fried potato cakes). Now you’re up for golf — even more natural on barge holidays in Ireland than neighbourhood leprechauns and four-leaf clovers! At Glasson and Hodson Bay, you hit the greens with gusto and the luck of the Irish!

22 hr(s) of cruising

200km 6 lock(s) 7 nights

Portumna to Carrick-on-Shannon

Portumna
Banagher
Clonmacnoise
Athlone
Lanesborough
Tarmonbarry
Roosky
Carrick-on-Shannon

20 hr(s) of cruising

160km 5 lock(s) 7 nights

Portumna to Carrick-on-Shannon

The Ireland Celtic Cruise boat hire appeals to you for many reasons, chiefly because it covers lots of the Shannon! Now that you’re on the water you realise you picked right! The Georgian town of Portumna lies astern and the pristine waters of Lough Ree surround you. You look forward to indulging yourself with some fishing, a round of golf and some shepherd’s pie in a pub!

20 hr(s) of cruising

160km 5 lock(s) 7 nights

Portumna RETURN via Killaloe

Portumna
Terryglass
Killaloe
Portumna

14 hr(s) of cruising

106km 0 lock(s) 3 nights

Portumna RETURN via Killaloe

You are totally relaxed only hours from Portumna, where you savoured shepherd’s pie in a friendly pub and checked out the castle! Now you’re happily cruising on your boat hire in Ireland southbound on big Lough Derg, famous for its brown trout and pike. You can just taste your fresh fish dinner as you envision kicking back on the sundeck!

14 hr(s) of cruising

106km 0 lock(s) 3 nights

Portumna RETURN via Killaloe & Mountshannon

Portumna
Terryglass
Dromineer
Garrykennedy
Mountshannon
Scarriff
Killaloe
Portumna

17 hr(s) of cruising

128km 0 lock(s) 7 nights

Portumna RETURN via Killaloe & Mountshannon

You’ve locked wits with wily pike, brown trout and course fish on beautiful Loug Derg, enjoyed all kinds of watersports in Dromineer, and gone cycling to villages, castles and cathedrals. Ireland Angler’s Cruise boat hires delivered exactly what you were looking for — a mix of varied holiday pleasures to long remember. Ancient Celtic ruins definitely caught your imagination!

17 hr(s) of cruising

128km 0 lock(s) 7 nights
Added on 18 August 2018

Elaine O'rourke said

Excellent customer service from booking, to collecting and returning the boat. Excellent very helpful staff
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Portumna - Portumna
Crusader
Added on 11 August 2018

Ehud Millman said

It was our fifth time we enjoy cruising with le-boat. but this time was amazing. It starts with a wonderful boat called Horizon and ends with an amazing crew that runs the marina and the cruise fleet. This is exactly a decade of our acquaintance with le-boat company, the boats and the sailing sites all over Europe. We have cruise twice in France, once in Holland and once in Germany and all our vacation with le-boat was good. But this time was super !!! We choose the horizon especially because the driving facilities, The functionality of parking the boat with a joystick was amazing for us. The boat was clean and all the inter facilities was working like charm. We found that boat full of innovation and all the systems worked with helpful facilities. That was only the start of a wonderful vacation. The le-boat crew in the two bases we met was really magnificent people. It started with the e-mail correspondence before we arrived and continued with wonderful people we met when we arrived. A bunch of people who just know how to serve. Both in Harbor of Carick-on-Shannon and at the base of Portumna, The service was exceptional beyond what we were accustomed to on previous visits (on other sites) Happy friendly people that gives you the feel that they really want to satisfy you. Answering all your needs and do it with a smile. The combination of a wonderful boat and a amazing team is certainly a reason to report to the management and ask to preserve the situation. Really good job, please go on like this Thank you for wonderful vacation cruise The purchase process is simple, efficient and very intuitive
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Carrick-on-Shannon - Portumna
Horizon 1
Added on 07 July 2018

Vincent Sheard said

They were very clear in providing instructions. Very helpful and friendly at the pickup location. We had an issue and they addressed it on the trip in a timely manner We took a Clipper for a week and only had engine hrs to pay after. reasonably priced in comparrison to other companies
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Portumna - Portumna
Clipper
Added on 29 June 2018

Aisling Mcniffe said

Fantastic week spent cruising on the Shannon. Boats were very well equipped and staff were helpful and accommodating. We'll be back! Carrick is a a great starting/finishing base. There are plenty of short spins from there and nice towns where you can get food and drink. Look forward to next time!
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Dear Mrs M,
Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are pleased to learn you enjoyed your cruise on the River Shannon and were satisfied with the customer service you received.
Thank you for your feedback on the boats - we have passed your comments onto the base teams. Your suggestion for a larger repeat bookers discount has been considered.
We look forward to welcoming you on board with us again soon!
Best wishes, The Le Boat team
Carrick-on-Shannon - Carrick-on-Shannon
Consul
Added on 26 May 2018

Frank Duke said

We arrived Dublin and took the train to Carrick on Shannon. Easy peasy. From the train station, someone offered us a ride to the base. How nice!! The boat was in excellent condition as well as the bikes. Everyone was great, and the local people we met along the way went out of their way to make us feel welcome. We love Ireland!! Great service!! Highly recommended
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How wonderful! It sounds like you had a marvelous time in Ireland! Thank you for letting us know how much you enjoyed it. Our new 2019 brochure is available on our new website at www.leboat.com Where will you cruise next? :)
Carrick-on-Shannon - Portumna
Magnifique
Added on 25 April 2018

John Keenehan said

The whole package, from the moment we arrived, the debrief to the instruction and the experience on the Shannon was just amazing. It was just amazing, for the price and the size of the boat. The whole boating experience was just a pleasure
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Dear Mr KeenehanThank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. We are happy to read that you enjoyed your cruise and we hope to welcome you back on board with Le Boat soon. Best wishes, The Le Boat team
Carrick-on-Shannon - Carrick-on-Shannon
Magnifique
Added on 20 April 2018

Danny Murphy said

The booking in team were super, early check in, the boat, the staff in Portumna were 100% Best boat, and charts were perfect, captain baseball hat for the 5yr old skipper was great
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Portumna - Portumna
Elegance
Added on 16 April 2018

Richard Godfrey said

Excellent service as usual from the team at Carrick from check in to the return of the boat. Friendly and efficient. Had a few friends from Croatia on the boat, their first time, and great weather. Great fun in Cox's bar in Dromod. In the Shannon Star, a great old lady of the river, roomy and well able for the few windy days on the lakes. The development of electricity supplies at harbors, the facility of a shower base at Carrick (and places like Leitrim Harbor and Dromod as well) all add to the general feeling of a good trip. Didn't buy other than the hire
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Carrick-on-Shannon - Carrick-on-Shannon
Shannon Star
Added on 13 April 2018

Liz Kavanagh said

We received a warm welcome. Everything was explained clearly. The boat was pristine and very well equipped. We asked for extra pillows, nothing was a problem. I have already recommended emerald star to friends and family as too have the rest of the crew. We found we got great value for the short break. We had a kitty of 175 euros each. This covered everything including food shop and breakfast on the Way home!
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Carrick-on-Shannon - Carrick-on-Shannon
Elegance
Added on 04 April 2018

William Walsh said

Excellent service as always. My only disappointment is the fuel charge, now per hour, as apposed to litre used. The fuel was expensive enough when it was at per litre rate. Charging per hour just seems to be a way to take more money of guests. Very reasonable price. Very enjoyable
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Carrick-on-Shannon - Carrick-on-Shannon
Shannon Star