Table of Contents
Carrickcraft's marina station on the Lower Shannon is at Banagher in Co. Offaly, a typical Irish market town. From here, you can head north to Athlone and Lough Ree or you can head south into Lough Derg with its spectacular mountain scenery.
You can't beat Banagher' goes the old saying - so that's where Carrickcraft based their 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 newly-opened 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 and Tea Rooms.
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 its great choice of pubs and restaurants and a lively night-life.
Distances from Ireland's main Airports and Ferryports to Banagher:
The largest town on the Shannon with all modern facilities including shops, supermarkets, banks, post office, pharmacy, hotels, leisure centres, theatres and many bars and restaurants. It has always been considered an important crossing point on the Shannon and is known as the Capital of the Midlands. The Tourist Information Centre is located in the Castle and you will find details here of 2 very interesting town trails - The Connaught Walk, 3km long and the Leinster Walk, 2 km long. Both walks start at the jetty and take you around the most interesting historic sites of the town.
Athlone Castle and Visitor Centre
Tel +353 (0)90 64 92912 www.athlonecastle.ie
This Norman Castle dominates the town centre and features exhibitions and audio visual presentations on the siege of Athlone, John Count McCormack, River Shannon wildlife and history with folk and military museums. Tearooms, gift shop and Tourist Information Office on location
Tel +353 (0)90 644 2154 www.luangallery.ie
Athlone’s municipal art gallery is well worth a visit for the traditional and contemporary pieces of art on display. The building itself is a work of art with exquisite views. A real feast for the eyes, and free entry too!
Derryglad Folk Museum Tel +353 (0)90 6488192 www.derrygladfolkmuseum.com
View a wide range of indoor and outdoor rural artifacts from farm and folk life in Ireland dating back to the 18th century.
Glendeer Pet Farm Tel +353 (0)90 64 37147
A 6 acre open farm with over 50 species of animals and birds. Also has a coffee shop and a large picnic and play area.
Tel +353 (0) 90 64 76655
Located at the Golden Island shopping centre.
Athlone Regional Sports Centre
Tel +353 (0)90 64 7097www.athlonersc.ie
This state of the art health, sports and fitness centre includes a 25m heated indoor swimming pool, a toddler's pool, separate family changing areas, jacuzzi, sauna and steam-rooms, children's outdoor playground and the recently developed outdoor skatepark. The Centre also has a coffee shop and créche service.
Jump 4 Joy Adventure Centre
Tel +353 (0)90 649 8450 www.jump4joyathlone.com
Bouncing castles, inflatable sumo suits, go-karts, bungee trampolines, crazy golf, air hockey and loads more. Great fun for under 12s.
Shannon Banks Nature Trail Walk
A 5km, circular way marked route, following the Banks of the River Shannon and along the old Athlone Canal. Information boards along the trail detail the flora and fauna along the way.
The location of Athlone in the centre of Ireland makes it a very busy shopping town attracting both locals and visitors. You'll find a good selection of Celtic crafts and souvenirs in the many gift shops and shopping centres. Athlone Town Centre is a large shopping mall and has many high street shops and department stores. For groceries, Golden Island shopping centre has a number of supermarkets as well as a multiscreen cinema. Athlone Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm in the Market Square.
There are many pubs and restaurants to choose from in Athlone. The 4 hotels in the town all have fine restaurants and many of the pubs serve bar food. There are also Italian, Indian, Chinese, Thai and Lebanese restaurants as well as a number of takeaways. Just ask around for local recommendations or to find out about entertainment in the many bars. Here are a few suggestions:
Hatter's Lane Bistro
Tel +353 (0)90 647 3077
Hollywood themed restaurant, offering a cosy, welcoming atmosphere with open fire.
Linked to Gertie Browne’s Olde Worlde pub, with regular traditional Irish music sessions
Tel +353 (0)90 647 8850
Award winning restaurant, offering a blend of traditional and contemporary cuisine, based on fresh, seasonal, local produce.
La Cucina di Angelo
Tel +353 (0)86 8673887
A cosy atmosphere, offering Portuguese, Mexican and Italian cuisine.
Tel +353 (0)90 649 2358
Famous Athlone pub, reputedly the oldest pub in Ireland.
Often have traditional music sessions on Sunday afternoons
The Prince Bar
Tel +353 (0)90 647 6666
Modern bar in the centre of town, part of the Prince of Wales Hotel, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two before heading in to the Karma night club.
Quinn’s Fishing Tackle and Shoe Repairs,
Lloyd’s Lane Tel: +353 (0)87 680 0592
Golden Island Shopping Centre
Tel: +353 (0)90 647 0344
Mount Temple Golf and Country Club Tel +353 (0)90 648 1841 www.mounttemplegolfclub.com
A traditional 18 hole Championship Golf course, renowned for its links type greens and undulating fairways. It is just a 10 minute taxi journey from Athlone town.
Athlone Equestrian Centre Tel +353 (0) 86 2433609 www.athloneequestrian.ie
Ideally situated in a quiet country setting yet only 3 miles from Athlone town, the Centre prides itself in providing a safe and fun learning experience for both adults and children.
Athlone Cabs Tel +353 (0)90 647 4400
Dial-a-Cab Tel +353 (0)90 649 3030
Athlone City Cabs Tel +353 (0)90 647 4888
Europcar Tel +353 (0)90 649 3999
Enterprise Rent-a Car Tel +353 (0)90 649 1030
Founded by St. Ciaran in 545 AD, Clonmacnois was one of the great monastic cities of early Europe. There are now a number of churches (10th to 13th century), 2 round towers, 3 high celtic crosses and stone temples. The long and varied history is recounted in an audio-visual presentation shown in the visitor centre. Guided tours of the site are available. The visitor centre also has a coffee shop, a gift shop and a tourist office.
Just north of Banagher, a deviation on the Shannon leads to the River Suck, which is navigable as far as Ballinasloe. It is a large town with all modern facilities including ATM machines, post office, shops, hotels and tourist information centre (in the local travel agents during July and August). With 4 hotels, over 20 pubs and numerous restaurants and coffee shops, you won't have any problem finding an eating house here. It is well known for the Ballinasloe Horse Fair, which is one of the oldest in Europe and takes place at the beginning of October each year. The River Suck runs deep and slow, providing excellent coarse fishing, particularly for bream and rudd.
Battle of Aughrim Interpretative Centre
Tel +353 (0)90 96 73939
Commemorates the Battle of Aughrim of 1691, with story panels and audio visual displays. About 3 miles from the town centre.
Ballinasloe Famine Park
Burial ground for victims of the famine as well as a memorial park.
Coral Leisure Centre, Ballinasloe
Tel +353 (0)90 96 45755
Extensive facilities including swimming pool, childrens pool, leisure centre, sauna and steam room.
Creagh Pitch and Putt
Tel +353 (0)87 6419415
An 18 hole par 3 course on a 12 acre site.Golf
Ballinasloe Golf Club
Tel +353 (0)90 96 42126
A mature and testing parkland course, Ballinasloe offers a challenging variety of superb golf. It is located just a few miles from the mooring in Ballinasloe.
With 4 hotels, over 20 pubs and numerous restaurants and coffee shops, you won't have any problem finding an eating house here. There are also a number of takeaways that serve a variety of food including pizza and Indian. Many of the pubs have entertainment in the evenings or traditional Irish music, ask locally for details.
Tel +353 (0)90 9645050
Highly recommended restaurant with very good food. Free mooring for diners in their private marina on the River Suck, just before the Ballinasloe Town moorings.
Tel +353 (0)90 96 30400
Upmarket restaurant, located beside the marina.
Tel +353 (0)90 96 42347
Food served in the bar or the restaurant and entertainment at weekends
Tel +353 (0)90 96 44830
Family friendly coffee house, serving excellent lunches and snacks.
Tel +353 (0) 90 96 45419
Contemporary Asian cuisine
Tel +353 (0)90 96 44222
Shannonbridge is the first stop north of Banagher, just where the River Suck meets the Shannon. The strategic location made it very important during the Napoleanic era and the fortifications can still be seen today. The famous 16 arch bridge is one of the oldest across the Shannon and was completed in 1757. Known as the Shannon Callows, this is an important nature conservation area and is surrounded by boglands. Home to the Bord Na Mona power station, which harvests the peat from the surrounding area and transports it using a narrow gauge railway. The Tourist Information Centre is located in the lockhouse at the harbour and there is a post office, 2 shops, 2 pubs, a restaurant and a Supermacs fast food takeaway. There is also a very good, modern children's playground in the village.
Shannonbridge Pottery Tel +353 (0)90 9674333
A full range of table and giftware produced at their factory shop in Shannonbridge.
Luker’s Pub Tel +353 (0)87 7415389
One of the oldest pubs along the River, with a great friendly atmosphere. Featuring a wonderful, original Victorian fireplace in the old part of the bar. There is also a more modern bar with beer garden. Food served every day and live music Wed-Sun.
Killeen's Pub (The Village Tavern) Tel +353 (0)90 9674112
Traditional pub with good food and live entertainment most nights where you will be made very welcome.
You can stock up on groceries while you're here and Killeen's are also the local Bait Stockist.
Parker’s at The Old Fort Restaurant Tel +353 (0)90 9674973
Located in a fascinating 200 year old building of the Shannonbridge Fortifications on the west bank. Open every day.
The historic harbour where the Grand Canal meets the Shannon. Passage is allowed onto the Grand Canal for the Carlow, Tyrone and WaveDuke only. All other boats are permitted up to the first lock. A short walk along the tow path, where you will see many boats, old and new, lining both sides of the canal, will take you to the charming little village of Shannon Harbour, which has seen regeneration in recent years. There is a very good children’s playground and 2 pubs in the village – the Canal Bar and D&S McIntyre.
D&S McIntyre Tel +353 (0)5791 5149 An authentic Irish pub serving traditional pub food, with live music most weekends. There is also a little shop where you can stock up on the essentials.
Banagher is an easy-going, modern town with a long history, dating back to the 17th century. It was a strategic river crossing for over 600 years and the most recent bridge was built in the 1800's, along with its Napoleonic fort to protect the town against a French invasion from the West of Ireland. The only inland Martello tower in Ireland, Fanesker, built about 1812, can be seen on the west shore of the river at Banagher. The old walls on the East shore replace an ancient fortification of the 1600's known as Fort Falkland and Fort Eliza is just downstream of Banagher on the east bank.
Victorian authors Anthony Trollope and Charlotte Bronte both stayed in Banagher for a time and Bronte's husband, Rev. Arthur Bell Nichols is buried in the Church of Ireland graveyard here.
Banagher is now a very important location for visitors to the River Shannon. Nature lovers will enjoy the variety of bird and plant life and the sound of the corncrake around the meadows and peatlands on both sides of the river in this area, known as the Shannon Callows. This region of the Shannon is also very popular for fishing. A map board is located at the entrance to the marina, which will give more information on the town's facilities and a Tourist Information Centre is in Crank House on Main Street.
The town of Banagher is centred on the main street, which could easily be walked in 10 minutes. All amenities including grocery shops, banks, post office and pharmacy are located in the town centre. Most of the town's supermarkets will deliver your groceries to your boat. Banagher also has its very own brewery and the famous Bo Bristle beer is available in many of the pubs in town.
Cloughan Castle, 3 miles from Banagher
Tel +353 (0)57 91 51650
Medieval castle in Lusmagh, just south of Banagher which offers tours to pre-booked groups and also offers B&B
Birr Castle Demesne, 8 miles from Banagher Tel +353 (0)57 91 20336
A magnificent demesne and castle with picturesque gardens, Ireland's historic science centre and the famous Great Telescope.
Clonfert Cathedral, 6 miles from Banagher on the western side of the Shannon.
12th century Cathedral with a magnificent Romanesque style doorway. There are also traces of a 6th century monastic settlement founded by St. Brendan the Navigator.
The area around the Shannon Callows is well known for the excellent coarse fishing.
For all your fishing equipment and tackle,
The Old Forge Fishing Tackle
Tel: +353 (0)57 9151504
Michael Boylan Tel +353 (0) 87 6607096
Pat Healy Tel +353 (0) 87 76 02809
Brosna Lodge Hotel
Tel +353 (0)57 91 51350
Dun Cromain B&B
Tel +353 (0)57 91 53966 www.duncromain.com
Banagher Pitch and Putt
Tel +353 (0)57 91 51421
18 hole course located over the bridge.
Birr Golf Club
Tel (+353) 57 912 0082 www.birrgolfclub.com
A 15 minute taxi journey from Banagher will take you to Birr Golf Club, one of the finest parkland courses in the country. Carved out of natural woodlands, it is reminiscent of many of Ireland's famous links courses.
Birr Equestrian Centre
Tel: +353 (0) 87 244 5545
Situated on 140 acres of farmland, which provides a perfect arena for trekking. The Centre also runs treks on the nearby Slieve Bloom Mountains.
For those interested in something other than horse riding, they also offer laser shooting, archery, air rifle and clay pigeon shooting.
Brosna Lodge Hotel
Tel +353 (0)57 9151350
Good food and live music at weekends
Flynn's Bar and Restaurant
Tel +353 (0)57 9151312
Family friendly pub on the main street, with delicious home cooked food served all day.
Angelo’s Take Away
Tel +353 (0) 5791 51477
Authentic Italian chip shop
Corrigans Bar - The Corner House
Tel +353 (0)57 9151384
Traditional family run pub located in the town centre. Also has a post office attached.
J. Hough's Singing Pub
Tel +353 (0)57 9151893
Traditional Irish pub, an evening in Hough's is an experience not to be missed!
The first stop to make south of Banagher is at Meelick Quay and lock (Victoria Lock). This remote location is steeped in history, with ruins of ancient fortications, including a Martello Tower dating from the 1800s and Keelogue Battery on the East Shore. Meelick Church, a Franciscan settlement established around 1414 is thought to be the oldest Roman Catholic church in continuous use. It is still in use today and is within walking distance of the Quay. It is also worth taking a look at the old canal and the disused Hamilton Lock, which is where the very first lock on the Shannon was constructed in the 1750's. This area is teeming with wildflowers and numerous bird species and it is one of the few places where you can still hear the cry of the corncrake. Once you pass through the lock, the great expanse of Lough Derg opens up before you.
There are 2 marinas in Portumna at opposite ends of the town, both with full facilities. Castle Harbour is on Lough Derg and the Emerald Star harbour is north of the lifting bridge. You will find all amenities in this attractive town including a good range of shops, ATMs, Post Office and pharmacy. Gala Supermarket will have everything you need and will deliver groceries to your boat (090 9747135). There is an excellent children's play area located just behind the Castle.
Tel +353 (0)909741 658
Located near Castle Harbour. The original castle was constructed around 1616, but completely destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1864. The present castle is actually the third castle to be built on the site and it has recently been restored and is now open to the public. The Forest Park contains 1500 acres of parkland with an abundance of flora and fauna including a herd of rare Irish red deer. There are many lovely walks and nature trails and it is a great site for a picnic. The ruins of the Dominican Priory are also within the boundaries of the Forest Park, close to Castle Harbour.
Irish Workhouse Centre
Tel+353(0)9097 59200 www.irishworkhousecentre.ie
Learn what life was like in a typical 19th century Irish workhouse. There is also a tourist information office on site.
Tel +353 (0) 90 97 45147 www.pallaskarting.com
Europe’s largest Karting Centre with karting, paintball and splatball
Portumna Golf Club Tel +353 (0)90 97 41059 www.portumnagolfclub.ie
You are likely to see deer grazing on the grass here as Portumna Golf Course is surrounded by a National Park. Located just a few miles from Portumna's Castle Harbour.
There is a wide range of restaurants and pubs to suit all tastes. There are also a good few take aways, including Italian and Chinese.
The Ferry Inn Bar and Restaurant
Tel +353 (0)90 9747139
Located beside Portumna Bridge
Charming, family run bar and restaurant serving food all day. You will often find live music in the evenings.
Le Bouchon Tel +353 (0) 90 97 41780
One of the best restaurants in the town for fine dining. They offer lunch, afternoon tea and evening meals.
Café Rose Tel +353 (0) 87 7089647
Lovely little cafe, serving good, homemade food in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
O’Meara’s Bar and Restaurant
Tel +353 (0) 90 97 14076
Traditional, family run restaurant in the town centre, serving food all day.
An Caislean pub Tel +353 (0) 90 97 41559
A popular pub on the main street, with live music most nights, ranging from traditional Irish to more contemporary.
For all your fishing needs, see Garry Kenny at Palmerstown Stores, near Portumna Bridge
Tel +353 (0) 87 620 5069
Slieve Aghty Riding Centre.
Tel +353 (0)90 97 45 246 www.riding-centre.com
The riding centre offers activites for all abilities, with over 2,000 acres of forest to explore
Portumna Taxis (Brian) Tel +353 (0)8765 33213
P J Gaynor Tel +353 (0)8712 710
A charming little village on the eastern shores of Lough Derg.
The marina alone is worth a visit with its picnic area, children's play area and breathtaking views of Lough Derg. The village is around 10 minutes walk from the moorings and is on the site of 6th century monastery, of which little remains. The village is quite small with 2 pubs, a shop and post office located beside the Derg Inn and a craft shop housed in Oldcourt Church.
There are 2 historic spring wells, the Eye Well located at the harbour and the Headache Well, located in the village, both of which are said to have curative properties. The 13th century Oldcourt Castle is nearby.
There are 2 very good pubs in Terryglass. Both are renowned for good food and drink and great “craic”
The Derg Inn Tel +353 (0)67 22037
A well known bar and restaurant with beer garden, renowned for its excellent food. There is also a small shop and post office attached to it.
Paddy's Bar Tel +353 (0)67 22147
Serves very good bar food, with music most nights.
Watermark Wakeboard and Waterski Club
Tel +353 87 2573 661
If you fancy having a go at waterskiing or wakeboarding, or even the all new Flyboarding call in to the large white boat “Tubal” at the harbour.
A very remote location with an excellent restauraunt, Brocka-on-the-Water about 5 minutes from the marina. Tel +353 (0)67 22038. It is well known for good quality food and a cozy, intimate atmosphere. Reservations are essential. A 40 minute walk from Kilgarvan Quay will take you to the small village of Ballinderry with further pubs and restaurants.
This is a very small remote location on the western shore of Lough Derg. There are no facilites, but is very good for fishing.
Drumman Harbour is the public marina just south of the private marina at Williamstown. There are no amenities here, but you will find shops and restaurants in the small village of Whitegate, about 30 minutes walk away.
The pretty village of Dromineer is a very popular stop off point. It is home to Lough Derg Yacht Club, one of oldest yacht clubs in the world and the RNLI Lifeboat station. There are many water-based businesses here such as Nenagh Rowing Club and Shannon Sailing. There is a small shop but supplies are quite basic.
There is a very good children's play area beside the harbour and a little beach area .
The ruins of the 16th century Dromineer Castle are located on the quay, and nearby in the old graveyard, are the remains of a small Romanesque church dating from the 12th century.
Dromineer is the start of the long distance Lough Derg Way which goes as far as Killaloe and it is a pleasant walk for the first few kilometres along the shores of the Lough.
The Whiskey Still Tel +353 (0)67 24129
Excellent pub and restaurant where you will find great entertainment on Friday nights.
The Lake Café Tel +353 87 2264 138
Located in Lough Derg House, right at the harbour, this charming little café serves freshly baked bread, scones and pastries from 8.30am every morning til 5.30pm.
Nenagh Golf Club Tel +353 (0) 673 1476 www.nenaghgolfclub.com
A 20 minute taxi journey from Dromineer will take you to Nenagh Golf Club, a superb Championship course with scenic views across Lough Derg and the surrounding Arra Mountains.
Mike Roberts (16 seater) +353 (0)87 6737447
The views of Lough Derg are spectacular from this location. You can moor in the old harbour which was constructed in the early 19th century from the ruins of the medieval castle. There is also a newly constructed marina with floating jetties. It is worth a stop for the picturesque marina alone, with its beautiful park and picnic areas, children’s playground and barbeque facilities. It is a very popular stop for fans of traditional Irish music as both pubs in the village have regular music sessions. A 30 minute walk will take you to the nearby town of Portroe, where you can stock up at Gleeson’s shop. They can also deliver groceries to your boat.
Garrykennedy Lakeside Forest Walk .
Starts in Garrykennedy, with picnic areas
Larkins Bar and Restaurant Tel +353 (0)67 23232
Lovely traditional building with whitewashed walls and thatched roof. Great atmosphere, renowned for the good quality food and traditional music.
Ciss Ryan's Pub Tel +353 (0)67 23364
Traditional, family run pub with regular music nights.
Built as a model village on a green field site around 1740, Mountshannon sits on a hill with fantastic views of Lough Derg and the surrounding area. It has many amenities and lots of things to do. A map board is located at the harbour with up to date information on local attractions and amenities and there is a small beach area beside the marina. There are shops, a post office, pharmacy, and many pubs and restaurants. With the backdrop of the Slieve Aughty Mountains, there are many opportunities for walking and cycling in the area. A number of looped walks, which are part of the long distance East Clare Way, start and finish in Mountshannon. They vary in length from 3km to 16km. Many of the pubs in town have live music at weekends.
A community park in the centre of the village between the harbour and the main street. The main feature is a maze with a pathway through the history of spirituality. There is also a childrens play area and picnic area.
Mountshannon is home to a pair of white tailed sea eagles, which in 2013 successfully bred the first eagle chicks in Ireland in 110 years. They hatched another female in 2014 and another in 2015. There is a bird viewing and information point at the harbour, equipped with telescopes where you can view the eagles in their habitat on Bushy Island.
Keane's Bar in the centre of the village
Top Petrol Station (Galvin’s) on the Scariff Road
Bourke's Grocery Store and Food Emporium which has a very good hot and cold deli counter.
East Clare Golf Club
Tel (+353) 6192 1322 www.eastclare.com
Just 5 minutes from Mountshannon, East Clare Golf Club is an 18 hole parkland Championship course with majestic views of East Clare.
Patrick Minogue +353 (0)87 6433550
There are several pubs and restaurants in the Main Street, so you will not be stuck for a meal or a night's craic!
The Mountshannon Hotel
Tel +353 (0)61 927162
Good bar food in "The Village Inn" bar of the hotel with traditional music on Friday nights. Also has a large TV screen and shows the major sporting events.
The Snug Cafe Tel +353 (0)61 926826
Very popular Wine Bar and Pizzeria on the Main Street. Open Fri-Sun 6pm to 10pm
Bourke’s Galley Food Emporium and
Coffee House Tel +353 (0)61 92 7500
A wonderful little gem in the centre of the village, serving great lunches and coffee. There is also a small supermarket with newsagent and deli.
Cois Na Habhna Pub Tel +353 (0)61 927189
Known locally as Spud’s Place, it has traditional music most weekends and a large pool table. The bar doesn’t serve food, but you will get a good pint and great craic.
Traiditional Irish pub and grocery store with live music most Wednesdays and Fridays.
Not accessible on your cruiser, but if you have a dinghy and outboard, you should moor at Mountshannon and take the dinghy to Holy Island. If you don't have an outboard, there are ferry services from Mountshannon harbour to Holy Island. The Island was once a monastic settlement and is associated with many early Irish Saints. There are churches dating back to the 9th century, high crosses, a holy well and a round tower. It is also home to ancient burial grounds.
The limit of navigation on the Scariff River will take you to the most western point on Lough Derg and the small town of Scariff - a market town built on a hill, about a 10 minute walk from the harbour. You will find all the main amenities here, including ATM machine, post office, pharmacy and shops. The riverside park at Scariff is a lovely place to pass an hour or so and has a modern children’s play area. What looks like a tower house in the grounds of the Spanish owned timber factory is in fact a water tower erected in the 19th century for an infamous workhouse that was built nearby. A number of looped walks, which are part of the long distance East Clare Way, start and finish in Scarriff. They vary in length from 5km to 19km.
You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and bars in Scarriff, most of them are centred around the main square. Below is just a selection. There are also a number of takeaways including a Supermacs chippy and Spice of Life takeaway.
McNamara's, Market Square
Tel +353 (0)61 921020
A great reputation for friendly service and very good food.
The Bel Pepper Bistro,
Market Square Tel +353 (0)61 921999
For coffees and lunches
Ryans Bar and Restaurant
Tel +353 (0)61 921167
Treacy’s Fishing Tackle Tel: +353 (0)61 921014
Reddan's Quay, Tuamgraney
A short journey along the winding, tree-lined Scarriff River will take you to Reddan's Quay, in the small village of Tuamgraney. It is home to one of the oldest churches in Ireland still in use, St. Cronan's, used by the Church of Ireland community. Parts of the church are said to date back to the 10th century and it has links with Brian Boru, the legendary High King of Ireland. It now houses the East Clare heritage centre, Tel +353 (0)61 921351, with exhibitions and audio visual presentations on the history and heritage in the area. Nearby are the remains of a 16th century O'Grady Castle and a Famine Memorial Park. Raheen Oak Wood contains the remains of the primeval wood that once covered all of East Clare. It has some very interesting oak trees, reputedly the oldest in Ireland. It is about a 10 minute walk from here to Scariff.
Tuamgraney is home to some of the traditional Irish industries
McKernan's Handweavers Tel +353 (0)61 921527 www.mckernanscarves.com
Beautiful handmade scarves. Visitors are welcome in the shop and showroom where the scarves are made on 19th century looms.
Wildes Irish Handmade Chocolates. Tel +353 (0) 61 922080
Visit the factory shop in Tuamgraney to see the making of the Artisan chocolates and of course get a little taster of what is in production. They make over 80 types of chocolate.
Nuala’s Bar and Restaurant Tel +353 (0) 61 921249
Recently undergone a complete refurbishment with the help of the TV makeover show, At Your Service. The same warm welcome and excellent food awaits you. They serve food all day up until 9.30pm
The most southern navigable point on Lough Derg takes you to the twin towns of Killaloe, on the western side of the lough and Ballina to the east, separated by the 13 arch stone bridge. Killaloe is famous as the home of Brian Boru, the legendary High King of Ireland. It is the largest town on Lough Derg and has all the facilities you would expect including ATM machines, post office, pharmacy and grocery shops. It also has a number of quaint shops and boutiques and a surprising number of hair and beauty salons! Killaloe is characterised by its narrow, winding streets which lead uphill to the RC church while Ballina is mostly concentrated on the road that runs parallel to the river. Although Killaloe is a modern town with all the amenities you would expect, it is steeped in history and all around, there is evidence of its past as the capital of 11th Century Ireland. There is a 4km heritage walking trail, which will take you around all the important heritage sites in the area, just ask at the Tourist Information Centre.
History and Heritage
Killaloe is an important town in the history of Ireland and had a role to play in most of the major conflicts throughout the years. As a result, there is much here to interest the historians among us. The tourist office is situated in the heritage centre, so make this your first stop and you will find a lot of information on places to visit in the area. Below are a few examples. There are also many church ruins and holy wells with links to the Great High King Brian Boru whose birthplace was Killaloe.
Brian Boru Heritage Centre Tel +353 (0)61 376866
An exhibition on the life of Ireland's Great High King whose armies defeated the invading Vikings in the Battle of Clontarf. The exhibition also traces the development of the River Shannon as a transport system. It is located in what was the lock keepers residence and you will also find a Tourist Information Centre and gift shop here.
St. Flannan's Cathedral
13th century Gothic style cathedral, unique for its interesting stone carvings.
St. Flannan's Oratory
12th century oratory. The building may have been intended to house the remains of St. Flannan himself and it is currently used to store some early inscribed stones and slabs.
For grocery shopping, go to Queally's Supervalu in the Convent Hill Shopping Centre (Tel +353 61 620230) and they will deliver to your boat free of charge.
Lakeside Hotel and Leisure Centre
Tel +353 (0)61 376122 www.lakesidehotel.ie
Fully equipped leisure centre with indoor pool featuring a figure of 8 waterslide.
The restaurant in the hotel serves excellent food, with beautiful views across the lake.
You will be spoilt for choice with the many coffee shops, cafes and restaurants on both sides of the bridge, whether you want to call in for coffee, lunch or dinner. Many of the bars have entertainment in the evenings, just ask around for details! Below is just a selection.
Goosers Bar & Eating House Tel +353 (0)61 376791
Situated on the Ballina side of the bridge, good food with daily specials.
Flanagans Prime Steakhouse Tel +353 (0)61 622790
Excellent restaurant just beside the water, with great food and great atmosphere.
Tuscany Bistro Tel +353 (0) 61376888
Fine Italian cuisine in the heart of Ballina. They also offer a wide range of gluten free pasta and pizza.
The Cherry Tree Tel +353 (0)61 375688
Contemporary restaurant just beside the water in Ballina.
Molly's Bar & Restaurant Tel +353 (0)61 376632
Good food served during the day and lively traditional and modern music sessions in the evenings.
The Anchor Inn Tel +353 (0)61 376108
The heart of Killaloe's Night Life! Join in the Set Dancing on Wednesday nights, traditional Irish session on Fridays or enjoy the live entertainment on a Saturday night.
Lough Derg Equestrian Centre Tel +353 (0)61 375847
The centre has a large floodlit arena and excellent facilities in the town of Killaloe.
Clonlara Equestrian Centre
Tel +353 (0) 61 354172 www.clonlaraequestrian.com
Situated 8km from Killaloe, on 130 acres of farmland, making it ideal for trekking.
Brendan Tel +353 (0)8731 47071
Exit 27 (Enda) Tel +353 (0)8761 11103
TJ’s Angling Centre Tel: 00353 61 376009