Heading North the next town on the way is Shannonbridge, about two hours cruising and named after the imposing bridge that crosses the Shannon here. Shannonbridge has two major attractions – angling and ecology. The peat bogs which surround the village are home to an abundance of flora and fauna, and is preserved as a natural habitat to the now rare corncrake. Also along the river are eskers, which are winding ridges of raised ground caused by melting ice during the Ice Age and were used by early settlers to cross the river.
Athlone is a large town roughly in the middle of the Shannon Navigation about two hours north of Shannonbridge. Athlone is one of the largest towns on the river with shopping centres, plenty of pubs and restaurants and a golf course. Athlone Castle is now a visitors centre and was refurbished in 2013 and is open to the public. Athlone is the only place on the river where you have to pay for mooring as the mooring is supervised.
Past Athlone is Lough Ree and Glasson is about an hours cruise, a beautiful village known as 'the village of the roses'. There are a couple of good restaurants and pubs here. Glasson is also home to one of the best golf courses on the Shannon. You can moor your boat at Hodson Bay where you can have lunch or dinner in the Hodson Bay Hotel. You can moor your boat at the villages of Portrunny and Lecarrow while traversing the lake.
Two Hours from Glasson is Lanesborough/Ballyleague on the northern tip of Lough Ree. This town straddles the Shannon and the western side is Ballyleague in Roscommon and the eastern side is Lanesboro in Longford. There's a power station in Lanesborough and the hot water stretch just before Lough Ree is famous for fishing but note that stands are in great demand. This is the end of navigation for barges as they can't traverse the Lake.
It's about 7 hours cruising to Lanesborough from Banagher and it's time to turn around if you're on a 3-night break. If you have a couple of extra days you could continue on to Tarmonbarry, Roosky, Dromod, Jamestown and perhaps Carrick-on-Shannon, about 13 hours cruising from Banagher.
Heading South you pass through Portumna, about 3 hours cruising from Banagher, and then Terryglass onto Lough Derg. You could spend three or four nights visiting all of the villages on the lake. Portumna Forest Park and Portumna Castle are both worth a visit here, and there's a good selection of pubs and restaurants to choose from. There's a swing bridge at the river that opens at certain times during the day, view our FAQ for more information. Emerald Star have a marina here.
Terryglass is a lovely village on the northern tip of Lough Derg about an hours cruising from Portumna with mooring in a small harbour off the lake. There are two good pubs here that do food.
Onto Lough Derg and there are some nice towns and villages where you can moor your boat. Kilgarvan is a popular stopping point for pleasure craft on Lough Derg, a small unspoilt village of great beauty. A strange place to find one of Irelands’ top restaurants, but it’s here and well worth visiting.
About 20 minutes walk from the Kilgarvan Quay is the village of Ballinderry, which has some good pubs and a shop.
Dromineer is a popular village with anglers and sailing enthusiasts alike, and there’s always a good cross section of water sports enthusiasts here in the Summer months. Dromineer is also home to Lough Derg Yacht Club, one of the oldest yacht clubs in the world. This village is a very popular spot for tourist, and the quay is well equipped with developed piers and a children’s playground.
Mountshannon is situated where the mountains of Sleive Aughty meet the waters of Lough Derg. The mountains provide some breathtaking views of this picturesque village and river from which its name is derived. The village has in the past been overall winner of the national tidy towns competition, and inspires a sense of peace when walking the tree lined main street.
Scarriff is a small village on the river Scarriff, just off Scarriff bay on Lough Derg. The village was once an important market town, and today the market survives, and Scarriff and the surrounding areas are renowned for the quality of the angling. Just a short trip downriver is the village of Tuamgraney, which can be reached by road or river. New moorings were installed in 2012.
Killaloe is the limit of navigation for the hire cruisers and is about 4 hours from Portumna across Lough Derg. Killaloe is the seat of the ancient High King of Ireland, Brian Boru and there are some good historic sites here.
It's about 7 hours cruising from Banagher to Killaloe, ideal for a short break before you turn around and head back to Banagher.