Heading South from Carrick the next town is Jamestown, about two hours cruising. Jamestown was once a fortified town and you can still see the remains of the fortification walls. There are two pubs here although one only opens sometimes, and a very good restaurant, the Cottage, about 10 minutes walk from the mooring.
Dromod is about an hour from Jamestown through one manned lock (all of the locks on the Shannon navigation are manned). Dromod always does well in the national tidy towns competition and has a picturesque harbour on Lough Bofin. There's a restaurant right at the harbour and two pub/restaurants in the village.
If you like a bit of isolation and cruising then visit Kilglass and Grange lakes on the way down. There a nice pub at the end of Grange Lake called the Silver Eel. Kilglass Lake is home to Shannon River Adventure, and adventure centre with kayaking, canoeing, archery and other land and water based activities. There's a pub close to the adventure centre called the Kon Tiki but food isn't served.
Less than an hour from Dromod is Roosky with four pubs, one of which does Chinese food. There's a good supermarket here and nice mooring along the river as far as Roosky lock.
Once you've gone through the lock in Roosky the next town along the way is Tarmonbarry, with two good restaurants and one pub just after the lock. When you pass through Tarmonbarry Lock you can turn off for Clondra, at the end of the Royal Canal navigation.
An hour from Tarmonbarry 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.
Past Lanesborough is Lough Ree and you can moor at the villages of Portrunny and Lecarrow while traversing the lake. Glasson is about two hours from Lanesborough, 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.
Athlone is an hour from Glasson and 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.
Less than an hour from Athlone is the ancient monastic site at Clonmacnoise. You can moor your boat here and there's a visitors centre.
Next is Shannonbridge, about two hours from Athlone 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.
At Shannonbridge you can turn west and cruise the suck river to Ballinasloe and moor your boat and the new marina here. Ballinasloe is a large town and hosts one of the oldest horse fairs in Europe every October.
Continuing south to Banagher, about two hours from Athlone. A medium size town with pubs and restaurants, Carrick Craft and Silverline both have marinas here.
Three hours south of Banagher is Portumna. 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.
If you have time you can cruise on to Lough Derg and discover some of the towns and villages here.
Cruising Time: 32 Hours, 5 locks
Onto Lough Derg and there are some nice towns and villages where you can moor your boat. Kilgarvan, Dromineer, Mountshannon, Scarriff and Garrykennedy are all charming places to stop and eat, walk or have a drink.
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.