CRUISE IRELAND ~ Waveline Cruisers ~ Linssen Boating Holidays LNineswsefonr3250.017AC
Boating holidays on the River Shannon and Lough Erne
Ireland's Welcoming Waterways
Have you always wanted to go to Ireland for a holiday? Have you always wanted to go on a boating holiday? You can do both by hiring a boat on the River Shannon or Lough Erne.
The Shannon and Erne offer 700km of unspoilt waterways - the longest non-commercial waterway in Europe and give you access to sights and sounds not available to the weary land-traveller. Think of your boat as your cottage on the water. Everything you need for your holiday is on board - kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, living room. Just go with the flow and do what you want fish, cycle, visit heritage sites, eat out, eat in, visit a music pub, go waterskiing, go horse-riding. A boating holiday is as much about what you do off the boat as you do on the boat.
We have a full range of boats from 2 berth to 12 berth and no experience is necessary - in fact half of our customers have never been on a boat before. We will give you full instruction, online before you arrive and on the boat when you get here. It’s really not difficult and the boats travel very slowly so you have time to plan ahead.
From Belleek in the north to Killaloe in the south, the Erne and Shannon offer some of the most spectacular cruising in Europe. You can start your cruise in any of our three marinas - one on the picturesque Erne and two on the lovely Shannon. We also offer limited access for the smaller boats to take the Grand Canal to Tullamore.
Unlike many other waterways, the cruising waters of the Shannon and Erne are lakes and rivers, not canals. And because the rivers flow very slowly, there are few locks and even these are manned. The Shannon-Erne Waterway, connecting the two rivers, has 16
electric/hydraulic locks so there is little work to be done.
For the Wave Earl, Wave Duke, Clare, Kilkenny, Tyrone and Carlow Class boats, you can book 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 or 14 days starting on any day except Sunday.
These boats are priced as a 3-day minimum and then an extra per-day price. For the other boats, initially you can only book full weeks but early in the New Year they will be made available for short breaks. The website will give you the most up-to-date pricing and all our Special Offers.
We also offer transfers from Dublin Airport to our marinas on any day of the week apart from Sunday (not necessarily in Low Season).
One-way cruises are our speciality. We have three marinas on the same waterway and you can start at one and finish at another. From Bellanaleck to Carrick-onShannon you will have time to visit Devenish Island and Enniskillen before cruising through Upper Lough Erne to the Shannon-Erne Waterway and on to the Shannon.
From Carrick-on-Shannon to Banagher you can see most of the Shannon in one week. We can also offer a two-week holiday with a one-way from Banagher to Bellanaleck or vice versa (telephone bookings only).
For your convenience, we have divided the waterway into three distinct areas - the Erne, the Upper Shannon, the Lower Shannon (including the Grand Canal). We advise that each of these is considered a week's holiday - you can travel further if you wish, but that means being in a hurry which is not really the point of a relaxing holiday in Ireland.
Getting to Ireland and the Marinas
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City of Derry
Belleek Lough Allen
Lough Erne Enniskillen
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Knock Lough Ree
Travel to Ireland has never been easier with flights from every major European airport to Dublin and many more to Shannon and Belfast. Many airlines fly direct from the USA and Canada to Dublin.
We can organise coach transfers from Dublin Airport most days of the week and from
o Belfast and Shannon Airport every Saturday, making your journey easy
to plan. The journey from Dublin takes 2 to 3 hours to our marinas.
There are also several ferry services across the Irish Sea with crossing times as short as one hour. Irish roads are much better than they used to be with many new o motorways now open.
Your journey time will be about 2 hours from Dublin to Carrick or Banagher and about the same from Belfast to Bellanaleck.
Kesh Lower Lough Erne
Upper Lough Erne
Drumshanbo Lough Key
The Shannon and Erne Kilglass
Athlone River Shannon
The Upper Shannon
Our marina at Carrick-on-Shannon was opened over 40 years ago. The town has changed, but move a mile up or down river and it could be the same place as 1974. The north Shannon is probably the most lively section of the river. There are plenty of small villages along the way with good moorings and facilities. If you want to eat out every night, then this is the area you should be going to.
North takes you to Lough Key, one of the most scenic areas of the Shannon reached via a meandering river and one (manned) lock. Visit Rockingham Forest Park and climb the tower for spectacular views of the lake. Head up to Boyle with its pubs and restaurants for the evening.
An alternative northwards journey takes you to Lough Allen along a narrow canal and through Drumshanbo. (Please note that our larger boats will not be able to traverse the Lough Allen Canal ask for details). Or head up to Lough Erne through Leitrim and the Shannon-Erne Waterway. With its 16 locks, all electrically operated, it is a fascinating journey through class Irish scenery.
If you travel south from Carrick you will go through the Jamestown Canal, built to bypass Jamestown and Drumsna. Travel through the Albert Lock and into Lough Boderg where you can choose to continue down the Shannon or head off into the Kilglass Lakes - remote even by our standards. Further south is the little village of Dromod or you can continue to Rooskey - another lock! But don't worry, all the Shannon locks are operated by a lock-keeper and easy to use.
Lanesborough is your next port of call, the entrance to Lough Ree, one of the two large lakes on the Shannon. You can head into Portrunny with a new, larger harbour, or head south towards Glassan with its fabulous lakeside golf course. Or tie up at the award-winning Wineport Restaurant for a gourmet delight. Straight across the lake is Hodson Bay with a modern hotel and facilities and home to Athlone Golf Course.
The southerly part of this section is at Athlone, the largest city on the River Shannon. Athlone has a good selection of shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs, cinema, sports facilities and more.
The Lower Shannon
'You can't beat Banagher' goes the old saying - so that's where we based our southern marina. Banagher in County Offaly is ideally placed to cruise the Shannon south from Athlone, but a whole week could be spent happily cruising Lough Derg. With mountains sweeping down to the water, Derg is quite different to the cliffs of Lower Lough Erne or the flatlands of Lough Ree. Quaint villages such as Garrykennedy, Mountshannon and Terryglass have Award-winning pubs and restaurants.
On the Western shore, take the tiny winding Scarriff River to Scarriff village. The journey up the tree-lined river with branches hanging over the water is an experience in itself just watch out for boats coming the other way!
A few hours more takes you to Killaloe and Ballina, the most southerly part of our navigation. Two villages, one on each side of the river connected by a long bridge are of historical interest and well worth a visit. It’s also a good place to stock up on supplies as you’ll have eaten all the food you bought in Banagher at the start of your holiday!
And when you've had enough of lakes, head north through Banagher and take the River Suck to Ballinasloe. The excellent harbour has good mooring adjacent to the town with it’s pubs, restuarants and shops. Head back through Shannonbridge with it’s long, multi-arched bridge and an old fort transformed into a modern restaurant. Next stop is one of the most popular attractions in Ireland, let alone on the Shannon - and it is much better to approach by water than by road - Clonmacnoise.
Renowned throughout the world, this is an Early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the eastern bank of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th -13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe. There is also an excellent visitor centre.
Follow the river north and you should have time to call in to Athlone, the largest town on the river with shops and restaurants. Meander slowly back down to Banagher for your final night with a great choice of pubs and restaurants.
Lough Erne and Shannon-Erne Waterway
Our marina station on the Erne Waterway System is at Bellanaleck on the Erne River between the two loughs. You can travel north on to Lower Lough Erne or south on to Upper Lough Erne; or if you are here for a week, you can do both. These waters are framed by magnificent country - lush green rolling meadows give way to craggy uplands with spectacular cliffs that then lead on to uninterrupted open moorland. This is truly breathtaking lakeland, unrivalled throughout Europe.
From the loughs the night sky is jet black and studded with a panorama of brilliant stars. The long summer days are so peaceful - hardly another boat will interrupt your calm. There are numerous free moorings along the waterway, many on uninhabited islands - just you and your family.
Lower Lough Erne, the most northerly of the two loughs, is a great expanse of open water fringed by mountains and dotted with islands. Upper Lough Erne is filled with dozens of islands, so it is more like a meandering river than a lake. Some islands have jetties and offer perfect lunchtime picnic stops.
Heritage features high on the Lough Erne tour - a perfectly preserved 12th century round tower on Devenish Island is easily reached by boat - and if you like your heritage older, there are some 6th century carvings on White Island. And for something more active, there are watersports centres on both lakes, offering sailing, waterskiing and kayaking.
Enniskillen, lying between the two loughs, is a picturesque market town and fascinating heritage centre. By day this busy town brims with shops, museums, a sports centre and castle. By night, Enniskillen comes alive with happy holiday merriment from the wealth of original pubs and restaurants that offer delicious international culinary delights.
The Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal was re-opened in 1994 and links the Erne to the Shannon. The canal itself is a delightful cruise, meandering through a series of rivers, canals and loughs, with the odd colourful pub and eating place along its banks. There are 16 locks along the canal - but they are all hydraulicly controlled, so very easy to operate.
Angling on the Shannon and Erne
The Irish climate is well suited to sport angling. It is temperate and kind to the angler with moderate summers, mild winters and adequate rainfall throughout the year.
Many Irish people enjoy fishing but they are happy to share the fish with fellow anglers from all over the world. Few locals, however, fish for coarse fish (freshwater species other than the salmon and trout family) which means that the magnificent pike, bream, tench and roach fisheries are largely left to the tourist.
No licence required on the Shannon
Anglers are welcome throughout the whole of Ireland but there are some differences between the North and South as far as regulations and licences are concerned. No licence is required for coarse or pike fishing on the Shannon, but a share certificate is required for game fishing. A licence is required for all types of fishing in Northern Ireland and these are available to buy online. In Ireland, conservation is necessary to protect the variety of fish in our waters. Local fishery bye-laws are very strict and you must make yourself aware of them before you arrive. There is no close season for coarse fishing in either the North or South. The season for game fishing varies in different regions.
Fishing from your cruiser allows you the option of moving to where the action is - and when you find a good spot, you can stay there! Think of your cruiser as a cottage that moves - there are literally hundreds of places to tie up and plenty of pubs and shops for when you're finished.
The popular coarse fish species in Ireland are Pike, Bream, Roach, Tench, Hybrids (roach/bream & rudd/bream) & Perch. Once large bream are encountered it is not unusual to get bags of 150lbs to 250lbs. And for the Pike angler starting in Banagher, fishing is often
very productive, especially around Meelick where fish up to 20lbs+ are reported quite frequently.
There is no need to bring your own bait as there is a network of Bait Stockists around the region, and we can pre-order and deliver your bait for you. Most of our angling visitors prefer the sedan-style boats as they have aft cockpits from which you can fish safely. These include the Limerick Class, Tyrone Class, Wave Duke and Carlow Class - and for the discerning customer, the Wave Princess and Wexford Class. We can also supply fishing dinghies up to 14' long and outboard motors so that you can explore the smaller inaccessible tributaries and creeks. (Prices from €100 for an extra dinghy with outboard per week).
Traditional Irish Music
Ireland is renowned for the Traditional Music which is played in hundreds of pubs and bars up and down the country. And along the Shannon and Erne there is no shortage of pubs where you can tie up for the night and head into town for a memorable night of music. If you are wondering what you will hear, the fiddle is the mainstay of the band, likely with a flute and whistle and the traditional Irish percussion, the Bodhrán. If you're lucky you will also hear a harp and maybe the Uilleann Pipes. Other instruments in the larger bands may be the guitar, banjo and accordion. Many of the pubs encourage you to sing along, so you'll need to have a pint of Guinness ready to keep you going through the evening.
Most pubs only have music on a few nights a week, so you will need to plan your journey to be in the right place at the right time. As a rough guide, the following bars along the Shannon and Erne offer music:
Belleek Belleek Enniskillen Belturbet Kilclare Leitrim Battlebridge Drumshanbo Carrick-on-Shannon Carrick-on-Shannon Lecarrow Athlone Athlone Athlone Shannonbridge Ballinasloe Banagher Terryglass Terryglass Dromineer Garrykennedy Garrykennedy Mountshannon Killaloe
Black Cat Cove (Moohan’s) Fiddlestone Pub Crow’s Nest Widow’s Bar Sheemore Inn (Lock 14) Donnellan’s Beirne’s The Millrace Cryan’s Bar Anderson’s Thatched Pub Coffey’s Gertie Brownes Flannery’s Sean’s Bar Killeen’s Village Tavern Maud Millars Hough’s Singing Pub The Derg Inn Paddy’s Bar The Whiskey Still Larkin’s Ciss Ryan’s The Village Inn The Anchor Inn
Every Thursday Saturdays, every 2-3 weeks Tuesdays Tuesdays and Sundays Contact for details First Sunday in month Most Fridays Tuesdays Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday Wednesday, Friday, Saturday Contact for details Mondays Sunday sessions Sunday afternoon Tuesdays Thursdays open session Most nights Sunday evening sessions Contact for details Friday nights Wednesday and Sunday contact for details Friday nights. Set Dancing Wednesday Traditional music Fridays Contact for details
Ireland is famed the world over for its heritage and history, and on a cruising holiday on the Shannon and Erne, you will find numerous fascinating sites of historic interest: castles, gardens and heritage centres right on the river or just a short walk from the many moorings.
To provide protection from invaders, many of the fortifications were built on islands or close to rivers, but with a cruiser you have access to many sites only accessible by boat - just moor up alongside and view at your leisure.
On Lough Erne, you can visit Devenish Island with its wonderful round tower and church ruins, then head up the lake to the 6th Century carved figures on White Island. Cross the lake to visit Tully Castle before heading back to Enniskillen and the famous castle. On Upper Lough Erne, you can visit Crom Castle on your way to the Shannon-Erne Waterway and on to the Shannon.
Here, you can visit Castle Island on Lough Key (only by dinghy, but you can tie up the cruiser close-by). And if you have time, stroll in to Boyle from the harbour and visit the Abbey and King House. Stop off in Carrick-on-Shannon and visit the Costello Chapel - the smallest in Ireland.
Further down the Shannon, there are plenty of sights in Athlone, including the Castle, and then motor downstream to Clonmacnoise, a fascinating 6th century monastic site with its own jetty.
Clonmacnoise is an Early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the mid-6th century on the banks of the River Shannon. The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches, two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe. And if you have time to get to Lough Derg, you can stay the night in Portumna Castle harbour.
You will be amazed at how the country's traditional culture has been preserved in modern day Ireland. As well as the many attractions described here, there are many towers and ruins alongside the river or on islands which you will cruise past, such as the round tower at Banagher or the medieval ruins on Trinity Island in Lough Key.
Particular attention should also be paid to the many locks and bridges which have historic interest such as Meelick Lock and the magnificent 16 arch bridge at Shannonbridge.
Even the harbours themselves tell us much about bygone days, for example the historic Richmond Harbour at the entrance to the Royal Canal.
Many of the sites have excellent visitor centres or museums where you can discover more about the site and its past. There are few holidays which give you such unrivalled access to Ireland’s unique history and heritage.
When to come and what to bring
When should you come?
Much will depend on when you are able to come - school holidays, work commitments etc. July and August have the best of the weather and everything will be open. April and May are popular with fishermen and being early-season, the holiday is better value.
June is delightful with the sun getting warmer. The river will be less crowded and most of the tourist attractions will be open. September is one of the best times to come. Historically the weather has been dry, the water is warmer and it’s not crowded.
October offers exceptional value, but the days are shorter and it can get cold during the day. But you will have the river to yourself and if you want to “get away from it all”, this is the place and time to do it.
What should you bring?
The Irish weather can be unpredictable so the safest option is to bring a variety of summer clothing, warm jumpers and rainproof gear with you. Jetties and cruiser decks can be very slippery in wet weather so non-slip footwear is a must to avoid unnecessary accidents. Basic deck shoes can be purchased at the marina. A torch and alarm clock may be useful. Remember to pack a pair of good quality sunglasses and sun-cream to protect from UV light reflected from the water. And lastly, don’t forget a couple of good books and a pack of cards.
For evenings out in the many restaurants and pubs found in abundance along the waterway, bring smart, casual clothing.
Equipment we supply on your cruiser
On board equipment includes cutlery, crockery, glasses, cooking utensils, bed linen and hand towels, a radio/CD player and a pair of binoculars. Bath towels can be provided on request. On-board services include galley with gas cooker, oven and grill, fridge, shower room, flushing lavatory and hand basin, hot and cold running water and hot air central heating. If required, bicycles and outboard motors are available to hire but pre-booking is essential.
What happens when I arrive?
Before you arrive, we will send you our Holiday Planner which gives details of all the pubs, restaurants, sights and activities along the river.
On your arrival at the marina, you will be given a short classroom session and safety briefing, followed by a hands-on instruction on the boat. We will give you a detailed chart of the entire waterway which is simplicity itself. Once you are comfortable with the handling of the boat you are cleared for departure.
The only on-board electrical power supply is from a 12 volt cigarette socket similar to the system found in cars. You should bring a 12 volt charger for your mobile phone and/or camera. (we can supply a 12V to USB converter). All the Waveline boats and the Linssen, Roscommon, Fermanagh, Waterford, Wexford and Tyrone Classes have a 240V supply from an inverter. Other boats have plug-in inverters with very low current.
On board storage
Adequate on board storage space is provided for clothing but large suitcases and non-essentials can be stored at the marina base and collected on your return. If you have booked a oneway cruise, we can arrange for your luggage/cases to be transported to the finishing base free of charge.
I’ve never driven a boat before!
By this stage you may be saying to yourself "I can't navigate - I can't even drive a boat!" Don't worry. Many of our customers are in the same position and have never been on a boat before.
When you arrive, you will be asked to watch a short 8-minute video on safety and the basics of boat handling. Then you will attend a short classroom-style session where we will go through all the rules of the river - how to navigate and how to go through a lock.
Or if you have internet access, you can do our online Boat Craft Tutorials and save the classroom session at the Marina. The tutorials are great fun and end with a test.
We will also show you our chart of the river and you will begin to realise that this is not so difficult after all. We will also issue you with lifejackets (It is a legal requirement in Ireland for children to wear a lifejacket on deck or when in the dinghy). This is a sample page from the chart - as you can see, there are lots of places to go and the channels are clearly marked.
The entire river is marked with poles to show you where to go and warn you of shallow water. Simply stay between these markers and you will be fine.
On the Shannon, the markers are green (keep on your left going down river) and red (keep on your right going down river). Usually they are in pairs - so just go between them. A lot of the markers now have an arrow showing which side you should pass.
On Lough Erne, the markers have a red side and a white side - always pass on the white side and you won't go wrong. You will be given a copy of the chart to keep, and you will soon learn how to read the different symbols and what they mean. Each page is about one hour’s cruising time and you can use the chart to plan a couple of days ahead as well as have advance knowledge of harbours and jetties.
NAVIGATIONSANWEISUNG Langsam fahren bei Clonmacnoise -
Archäologische Taucher könnten unter Wasser sein. Beachten Sie die Taucherflagge.
NAVIGATION NOTICE Slow past Clonmacnoise -
Archeological divers may be under water. Look for the divers flag.
Strong current through bridge
Keep Clear of corner
Look out for fallen markers
CLONMACNOISE Not suitable for overnight mooring in windy weather
Coffee Shop in Heritage Centre
x Borannagh Island
NAVIGATION NOTICE Take care travelling south
River Shannon to Left
River Suck straight on
Warning Do not enter River Suck if water level is high telephone your hire operator if in doubt.
Bord na Mona Railway Bridge
NAVIGATIONSANWEISUNG Sorgsam in südliche Richtung fahren
der Shannon ist links der Suck geht geradeaus
Bord Na Mona bridge - Shannonbridge Use this arch
xx River Blackwater
0 1 2 Km 3 4 5 0 6 BALLIN1A2SLOME inutes 18 24 30
© Shannon Leisure Development Company Ltd 2013
After your classroom instruction, you will be taken for a demonstration run in your cruiser. As you can see in the picture, the controls are simple - you steer as you would in a car (although you have to remember that it all happens a bit more slowly in a boat) and you make the boat go faster using the throttle control (the black lever in the picture). Also, boats have no brakes, so proceed slowly, and go into reverse when you want to stop. Don't forget that the boats only travel at 6 knots (7 mph, 11kph) so you have lots of time to change your mind.
Remember the Golden Rule of a boating holiday on the Shannon
and Erne: there’s no hurry.
Some of the boats have a bow-thruster which swings the front of the boat to the side which makes coming into (and leaving) a mooring very easy. The biggest boats also have a stern thruster. We can show you the few basic knots you will need and if you have any questions, just ask your demonstrator.
If you start on a Saturday, Sunday will be a bit daunting as you get used to the controls, tying up with ropes and going through your first lock. But with help from the lock-keepers you will soon get the idea, and other boaters will help you when you come in to a jetty.
By Tuesday, you will wonder what all the fuss was about as you glide gently into a new harbour, have a look around, decide where you are going to tie up and proceed slowly towards the jetty. Your crew, who by now are much more comfortable with their duties, step ashore and tie up the cruiser. You shut
off the engine and relax. It is a good idea for the crew to have fixed duties when coming in or leaving a mooring and teamwork is essential. Children love being part of the whole boat-handling experience and can be given tasks appropriate to their age.
We recommend that you fill up with water at every opportunity as you can quickly use up the water on board. On most of our boats, you will start with enough diesel fuel to last your entire holiday - and there are numerous shops along the way, so filling up with food and drink is not only easy, it’s a pleasure.
CRUISE IRELAND ~ Waveline Cruisers ~ Linssen Boating Holidays
Linssen 35.0 AC
Available from Banagher and Carrick-on-Shannon