Land of Great Experiences
Taste Salmon, lamb, and Guinness. See castles, picturesque villages, abbeys, and citadels. Ireland has all this and a lot more to offer.
In the west of Europe, easily reached by plane or ferry, lies Ireland also called Emerald Isle with a thin population density and hardly any industry. Traveling on the Shannon by boat means relaxing and experiencing diversity in intact natural surroundings. Explore mysterious castles or follow the green meadows along the banks of the river. All this can be done in a climate that is kept mild by the gulf stream. Of course, you also have to be prepared for some rain. Boat holidays are generally possible between April and October. The time between June and September is warm. There are good fishing areas in the region. But if you want to fish for salmon and trout, you need a licence.
The Shannon is Ireland's largest river. It encompasses roughly 140 miles of navigable water and has its origin in the county of Cavan in Derry-Iahan. There are no tributaries here. After having widened its banks into lakes the river finally flows into the Atlantic at Limerick. The river and the lakes are exclusively for holiday skippers. There is no commercial navigation on them. During high season there are roughly 400 house boats in the water. But even then the Shannon remains a quiet and rural waterway. There are but a few small towns and villages with stores and restaurants at its banks. On the good landing places you can provide yourself with fuel and in the many stores nearby you can buy from the fresh selections of fruits and vegetables offered by the local farmers.
There are three rivers united in the district of Lough Erne. In this area two big lakes are being connected through a lock. On the one side there is the southern Upper Lough Erne and on the other side there is the northern Lower Lough Erne.
You will find all shopping opportunities in the city of Enniskillen, the center of Fermanagh county which is located in a narrow stretch between the two lakes. The river Erne itself has its origin roughly 19 miles away from Upper Lough Erne. It leaves the Lower Lough Erne and flows some 10 miles away into Donegal Bay. From the north to the south the whole area covers a territory of roughly 53 miles. Within this area you can find 154 islands which are largely uninhabited.
There are roughly 100 registered boats that are easily lost from view on this area of about 500 square miles. You will thus encounter a peaceful and lonely region as well as fertile green meadows, freshly clear water, and calmness. These are qualities that you would rightly associate with Ireland. There are furthermore large quantities of fish in these lakes and waters. This is one of Europe’s richest areas when it comes to fish. Here you can find perch, pike, eel, and trout. In order to go fishing it is necessary to hold a fishing licence which you can procure for some 5 or 8 pounds.
The Connection: Shannon-Erne
The restored Shannon-Erne-Waterway connects this divided land. Here you may find about 530 miles of water only for leisure captains. In the middle of the 19th century the two big waterways of Shannon and Erne were connected by short canals that linked the rivers and lakes on a stretch of about 40 miles from Leitrim up to Belturbet in Country Cavan. Unfortunately, this beautiful waterway was neglected. Due to bad maintainance and the persistent absence of commercial navigation it was closed after hardly 10 years. It remained a victim to natural devastation for the next 130 years. But in 1991 works of reconstruction for all navigation was taken up again.
The original walls of the bridges and locks were kept once reconstruction began. Now this magnificent waterway has been open to cruises since the spring of 1994.
In this fashion the Shannon-Erne-Waterway connects two of the most popular European navigation districts and thus creates a way of some 225 miles of water for leisure captains on which there is no commercial navigation whatsoever. There is furthermore no border control by the military or the police between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. This is a historic milestone.
Le Boat: Carrick-on-Shannon, Portumna
Locaboat: Killinure Point
France Passion Plaisance: Bellanaleck, Carrick-on-Shannon, Banagher