Discovering Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands by Boat

If you're wondering where to staycation in Ireland, discovering Ireland's hidden heartlands is a pleasure most should experience in their lifetime. This unspoiled land offers forests, wetlands and even majestic mountains while you cruise the River Shannon, Ireland's longest river.  A seven-night staycation cruising north, offers you a memorable adventure through this beautiful and unspoiled region of the Emerald Isle. Read on to learn about just some of the towns and attractions you'll find cruising north on the Shannon. 

Carrick on Shannon

For this itinerary, you'll begin at the base at Carrick on Shannon, a large and vibrant town in the county of Leitrim. It is the perfect starting point for your adventure. It offers visitor attractions, great restaurants, nightlife and shopping. 

Carrick on Shannon Rainbow

Leitrim Village

Once you depart Carrick on Shannon, you might want to take your first stop in Leitrim Village, a quiet and pretty little village straddling the canal. Have a drink on the terrace surrounded by stunning scenery, or stroll along the Acres Lake Floating Boardwalk. You might also want to take a unique tour underground with the Arigna Mining Experience. 

Lough Key

Lough Key is a bit of a side trip, but worth working in the time.  Known as one of the most beautiful lakes in Ireland, this relaxed mooring offers the opportunity to chill out and explore. You won't miss the Castle of Lough Key - you cruise right passed it. Nearby you'll find Lough Key Forest and Activity Park in Boyle, County Roscommon. Here you can enjoy scenic nature walks, gardens, underground tunnels, and an observation tower, renowned for its stunning views. 


Cruising past the island castle at Lough Key


Drumshanbo, a well preserved, traditional Irish village with a once-thriving iron-mining industry - which you can learn about at the Sliabh an Iarann visitor centre. The city has a great religious past, and has three churches that you can visit. Around the lake, there are also beautiful walking paths. Next, you can take a tour of the Carrig Brewing Company and try the freshly brewed local beer. 

Stroll the walking trails in Ireland's Hidden Heartland


Ballinamore is a green and peaceful town with many activities on offer. Situated on a canal that links the River Shannon with the River Erne, this town offers hiking paths around the city, the Solas Art Museum, and an equestrian center. You might want to play some golf or tour the grounds of the Lough Rynn Castle Estate and Gardens. 

Golfing in Ireland



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. Ballyconnell is highly regarded for its fishing and is a good location to sample some golf courses and outdoor activity Enjoy the delights of the local country club, absorb groundbreaking archaeological finds and grab your gear for a day of invigorating mountain cycling. Why not add on bicycles to your cruise or even angling dinghy and motor to help you explore farther into the countryside or reach the most secluded stretches of water for the big catch! 

Fishing on your self-drive cruise holiday in Ireland



Welcome to Belturbet, a peaceful and welcoming town along the canal. Bustling Belturbet welcomes boats of all sizes. Cruise along the water, take in Belturbet's rich history.  Enter the city and have a walk downtown or stroll down the heritage town trail to discover the beautiful Staghal Church. You may want to visit the restored Great Northern Railway, a cut-stone railway station displaying an interesting exhibition on railway history.  If you stay the night in Belturbet, you can dine in one of the many fine restaurants to finish off the perfect day.



Start Planning Your Self-Drive Cruise Holiday on the River Shannon

If you want to staycation without a car, a self-drive boating holiday in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands is a terrific way to get away from the crowds and discover this very special region of Ireland along the River Shannon. Surround yourself with beautiful landscapes while you relax on your own private cruiser, visting small towns, villages and historic sites. Ireland tours are also available and very enjoyable for anyone who loves nature. 

This return trip to and from Carrick-on-Shannon spans approximately 150 km, 34 locks and can be done in 7 nights but with a Le Boat holiday, you can decide where to go and what to see. You only need to ensure you return the boat on the agreed date and the rest is entirely up to you!

Our regional guidebook offers great photos and information on the sites and activities you'll find along the Shannon. You can download it directly to your PC to help with your trip planning. 

Ireland Guide


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Learn more about a cruising staycation in Ireland