our destinations

Boating Holidays in Ireland

Ireland’s Welcoming Waterways

Ireland’s Welcoming Waterways

Ireland, located on the outermost fringes of Western Europe, is renowned for being one of Europe’s premier destinations for inland cruising holidays.

With lush green countryside, silvery rivers, rich heritage and a warm welcome, Ireland offers a unique experience, which is second to none.

Running through the heartlands of Ireland is the mighty River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland.

Providing some 700 km of Loughs, Canals and River and lots of opportunities for cruising, fishing and watersports, along with over 5000 years of history and a rich and diverse range of flora and fauna.

Navigation Map of Ireland
HOW DO I
select a cruise ?

Come and explore the Irish waterways and discover its secrets in a brand new way. These locations are remarkable regions for boating holidays in Ireland, now could be the time!

UPPER
SHANNON

The Upper Shannon is the busiest of the entire navigation system and you will find many activities for young and old alike, world class restaurants and lots of pubs, where you will find the music and craic that the Irish are famous for.

LOWER SHANNON
& LOUGH DERG

The Lower Shannon lazes through undulating lush countryside that is steeped in history as well as real Irish character. Life slows down along this stretch of the Shannon and boats pass less frequently – the noise of nature takes over once more.

ERNE RIVER
& LOUGH ERNE

The jewel in the crown of Co. Fermanagh. In the North west of the island of Ireland lies an interconnecting network of loughs, rivers and backwaters that would take a lifetime to explore.

 

READY TO EXPLORE ?
BOOK YOUR BOATING HOLIDAY NOW!

DISCOVER IRELAND

Shannon & Erne Waterways

Discover the Hidden Heartlands of Ireland on a self-drive cruiser with Carrickcraft. Captain your own cruiser as you slowly meander along the many rivers, lakes and canals, enjoying the spectacular scenery, the history and heritage and meeting the friendly locals.

Boating Holidays in Ireland

Boating Holidays in Ireland

Couple navigates on Lough Ree

The River Shannon is the longest river in the British Isles and runs down the middle of Ireland through flat farmland towards the sea at Limerick. And as the land is so flat, the river only falls 65 feet on the navigable section, so it is a wide, slow river.

The Shannon was once a semi-commercial waterway with Guinness barges heading up from Dublin on the Grand Canal and then along the Shannon. But there is no commercial traffic now; only pleasure boaters enjoying the wide open spaces. And even the land is quiet – County Leitrim at the north end of the Shannon has a population density of less than 20 people per square kilometre.

The River Erne flows north from Belturbet to Belleek, so the Upper Lough is the Lower Lough and the Lower Lough is the Upper Lough (on a map!). It is very quiet and remote, so if you are on a boat you could be all alone on an island jetty in the middle of nowhere.

Couple navigates on Lough Ree

Irish Culture

Irish Culture

What is it that makes a Boating Holiday in Ireland such a great holiday choice? Is it that legendary Irish hospitality and the “craic” in the pubs and bars. Or the stunning scenery, great food, easy access, friendly locals and everything else that you want when you are relaxing on holiday? Of course, it is all of this and so much more.

Ireland’s landscape causes jaws to drop. But what picks them up again, and gets them gabbing till all hours, are Ireland’s people. The people of Ireland love to travel, to learn about the world. Our diaspora, whether they left by choice or necessity, number some 70 million. But we love coming home, too – to our native cities, countryside and kitchens.

We love spending time with our families, enjoy a gossip around the kitchen table and chat to anyone who’ll listen to us. It’s no secret that there’s a creative side to the Irish personality. Think the Book of Kells and the Expressionist painter Jack B Yeats (brother of the poet, WB). Think ancient sagas and legends like An Táin and the Children of Lir to writers such as James Joyce, CS Lewis and Seamus Heaney. Think actors like Maureen O’Hara to Liam Neeson and Saoirse Ronan.

Irish Arts

Irish Arts

Music in Ireland

Yes, art has always coursed through our veins. The beauty of this creative spark, however, is that it doesn’t solely belong to Bono, Enya and Snow Patrol. You’ll find arts festivals and craftspeople in the smallest of towns, breathing new life into old mills and milk parlours in every corner of the countryside.

And music? Well, there’s always music, be it U2, Enya, Van Morrison or Snow Patrol, or trad sessions in cosy country pubs.

Most of all, though, we love to laugh. We love a bit of mischief, of devilment, from the witty riposte in the pub to the wise-cracking Patrick Kielty or Dara O’Briain.  You’ll find that in Ireland, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. 

Music in Ireland

History and Heritage

History and Heritage

Clonmacnoise History of Ireland

As you cruise along the Waterways of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, 5,000 years of history unfold before you.  You will find numerous fascinating sites of historic interest right on the river or just a short walk from the moorings. To provide protection from invaders, many of the fortifications were built on islands or close to rivers, so with a cruiser, you have access to many sites only accessible by boat. 

From the 6th century carved figures on White Island in Lough Erne to the many round towers and medieval ruins all along the Shannon, you will be amazed at how the country’s traditional culture has been preserved in modern day Ireland. 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 that give you such unrivalled access to Ireland’s unique history and heritage.

Ireland’s Weather

Ireland's Weather

ireland-weather-rainbow

Not too hot and not too cold – you’ll find Ireland’s climate just right.

In Ireland, we all talk about the weather. Whether it’s discussing the direction of the rain from a shop doorway, or musing that it’s 24 degrees in March with a Lock Keeper. Irish weather can be unpredictable, so we like to discuss it. A lot.

Ireland’s climate is influenced mostly by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitude would have. The average temperature is a mild 10°C.

Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because it is so green, but of course that’s because it rains quite a lot!  If you plan for some rain on your holiday, you will be well prepared (it has been said that there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing).

ireland-weather-rainbow
READY TO EXPLORE ?
BOOK YOUR BOATING HOLIDAY NOW!
OUR CURRENT
Special Offers
We have many permanent discounts available throughout the year and these are already included in the prices quoted. We also have Last Minute Discounts and Flash Sales available throughout the year. Check out our latest offers below

Summer Special

10% off Carlow class
20% off all other boats

Travel before 28th September

Up to 20% off

Valid for all bookings made in June

carrick-on-shannon

Midweek Special

Take a short break starting on a Monday
and get 4 nights for the price of 3

Available All Season

Extra Night Free

Available on selected boats

10 nights for the price of 7

Travel before 11th May or after 7th September and get 10 nights for the price of 7

Available in April, May, Sept and Oct

10 for 7

Clare, Kilkenny, Wave Princess, Carlow

Summer Special

10% off Carlow class
20% off all other boats

Travel before 28th September

Up to 20% off

Valid for all bookings made in June

carrick-on-shannon

Midweek Special

Take a short break starting on a Monday
and get 4 nights for the price of 3

Available All Season

Extra Night Free

Available on selected boats

10 nights for the price of 7

Travel before 11th May or after 7th September and get 10 nights for the price of 7

Available in April, May, Sept and Oct

10 for 7

Clare, Kilkenny, Wave Princess, Carlow

Why choose
?
Carrickcraft has been the specialist in river cruising holidays for over 50 years.
When you hire a boat from Carrickcraft, you will benefit from the advice of experts who are passionate about boating and who will do their utmost to ensure you have a great holiday.

NO LICENCE
REQUIRED

ACROSS
3 MARINAS

YEARS
EXPERIENCE