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!

 

Is this your ideal destination?                   BOOK NOW           

Want to see our route suggestions?   EXPLORE 

Map showing where the Shannon & Erne boating region is in Ireland

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.

Who is Emerald Star?

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 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. Emerald Star are Ireland's Number One boating holiday provider and have been operating on the Rivers Shannon and Erne for nearly 50 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 / Emerald Star 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

19 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!

19 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

Portumna RETURN via Athlone & Terryglass

Portumna
Banagher
Clonmacnoise
Athlone
Terryglass
Portumna

17 hr(s) of cruising

120km 4 lock(s) 3 nights

Portumna RETURN via Athlone & Terryglass

You'll discover lush green landscapes, historic towns and plenty of Irish charm as you wind through the heart of the Shannon on this short return cruise. 

17 hr(s) of cruising

120km 4 lock(s) 3 nights
Added on 28 September 2018

Pearse Douglas said

The service, the boat and the experience was first class and made our holiday very enjoyable. Everything was perfect and the boat was very clean. Clear instructions given and made us have a lovely holiday with family
READ MORE
Carrick-on-Shannon - Carrick-on-Shannon
Elegance
Added on 26 September 2018

Alan Higgins said

Excellent service start to finish the price was fantastic and will be back next year Everything was great from collecting the boat to dropping it off excellent service
READ MORE
Portumna - Portumna
Shannon Star
Added on 26 September 2018

Ulf Zagora said

very good service. very friendly and useful advice for local music great food in cosy Pubs around the lake good service - and helpful staff at the base
READ MORE
Portumna - Portumna
Lake Star
Added on 21 September 2018

Paula Williams Doyle said

The staff at the dock were so friendly and helpful. The guy who was my instructor, Frank, was brilliant at putting me at ease as it was my first time, and he explained everything so well. The lock-keepers were so friendly and helpful too. The check in and check out were fast and stress free. I would recommend a trip on the Shannon with the le boat team to anyone. A special mention too for the staff of Shannon River Cruises. I booked through them and they are a brilliant company to deal with. I will certainly be booking again!! Great route for a short break. The lock-keepers were sofriendly and helpful
READ MORE
Carrick-on-Shannon - Carrick-on-Shannon
Shannon Star
Added on 19 September 2018

Stephen Forristal said

We had a fantastic experience time on our boat trip. It was a first for all of us and everything was perfect, except maybe for the weather but not much Left Boat could do about that! The boats are equipped with everything you could be need, which was great. The staff at the base were welcoming, professional and very helpful and ready to answer any of our questions
READ MORE
Portumna - Portumna
Crusader
Added on 01 September 2018

Gerhard Terblanche said

All arrangements worked out perfectly. The boat was clean and mechanically sound. The staff were helpful and friendly. We will certainly recommend Le Boat to other people. We had a great experience. Something I had never done before. At times difficult enough to cause a slight adrenalin rush.
READ MORE
Portumna - Carrick-on-Shannon
Corvette B
Added on 25 August 2018

Tommy Langan said

We where really happy with everything great service best few days me and family had definitely do it again and boats were lovely and easy drive thanks again for good service We were very happy with all only thing boat has to be back very early on the day bringing it back but everything else was 5 star
READ MORE
Portumna - Portumna
Shannon Star
Added on 18 August 2018

Elaine O'rourke said

Excellent customer service from booking, to collecting and returning the boat. Excellent very helpful staff
READ MORE
Portumna - Portumna
Crusader
Added on 15 August 2018

John Hurley said

5 star service the whole way 5 star customer service the whole way
READ MORE
Portumna - Portumna
Shannon Star
Added on 15 August 2018

Kevin Moriarty said

Excellent loved the whole trip and service was excellent Great location spent a week on lough Derg
READ MORE
Portumna - Portumna
Caprice