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Boat Hire and Cruiser Rental on the Shannon River - Travel Guide to the Shannon River in Ireland - Map for Cruising the Shannon River in IrelandThings to do on the Shannon RiverTips for Tourists Cruising the Shannon RiverInformation for Boat Hire Cruising on the Shannon River in IrelandHow to Get to your hire boat on the Shannon River

Cruising The Lower Shannon

The southern limit for hire boats on the Shannon River is at Killaloe at the southern tip of Lough Derg. There are boat hire bases at Portumna on the northen tip of Lough Derg and at Banagher, a couple of hours cruising north of the lake. There are charming small villages and towns all around the coast of the lake featuring some great restaurants and pubs. Probably the most picturesque area of the river (although Lough Erne would give it a run for it's money), the river leads north through Portumna, Banagher, Shannonbridge up to Athlone and beyond.

Lower Shannon Cruising Guide Map

See the full interactive map


There are some great golf clubs on the Lower Shannon - East Clare golf club near Scarriff, Portumna Golf Club, Athlone Golf Club and Glasson Golf. For the more adventurous there's Lough Derg Watersports at Kilgarvan and Ireland's largest inflatable water park at Hodson Bay on Lough Ree.

Golf and Cruising the Shannon


The lower Shannon is full of history and culture, the highlights of the historical sights are the ancient monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise along with Holy Island on lough Derg, Portumna Castle and Athlone Castle.

Holy Island on Lough Derg


Angling on Lough Derg requires local club membership, available at the local tackle shop in Portumna. The Shannon and Lough Derg offer some great fishing. Killaloe is a good centre for trout and coarse fishing on Lough Derg, with trout particularly good in May and in Autumn. The river Nenagh flows into Lough Derg at Dromineer, and is a major trout fishery with trout of up to 2lb in the wider stretches.

Fishing on the Shannon River

There's no wrong choice when choosing a route on the Shannon, Ireland is a small country and the landscape is pretty much the same all through the midlands.

The lower Shannon and Lough Derg have some of the best historical sites and pubs/restaurants on the Shannon. Lough Derg is probably the most pictuesque on the Shannon with hills surrounding the lake and some very interesting islands, the most famous of which is Holy Island, the site of a monsatery founded by St. Colum around 520 AD.

There are boats available for hire from Portumna on the northern tip of Lough Derg and from Banagher, about half way between Portumna and Athlone. The river on the southern Shannon is mostly wide and slow with just two locks between Killaloe and Athlone - locks cost €2.50 to pass through at the time of writing. There's also the swing bridge at Portumna, this bridge needs to be open for cruisers to pass through and opens at fixed times through the day. The locks on the lower Shannon are manned and the lock-keepers will be happy to help you through the locks, and offer any advice you need on your destination.

Navigation on the lakes and rivers is easy, there are green and red markers that outline the cruising channels, they're painted white on the side that you need to be on. The markers are accurately marked on the navigation maps that will be on board your boat when you take over and full tuition is provided.

There's free mooring at every town and village along the Shannon and most mooring is within 5 minutes walk of the village or town. Mooring is paid at Athlone as it's supervised, the last time we were there it was €12 for the night including power if required.

Due to the rural location of the boat hire marinas on the river they can be hard to reach with the exception of Carrick-on-Shannon which is served by both bus and train from Dublin. All of the cruiser companies offer a shared transfer service from Dublin airport on Saturdays with services to the lower Shannon also available from Shannon airport. Some cruiser companies offer transfers on weekdays and prices vary depending on the company and the day of the week. Sometimes it's good value and less hassle to hire a car, particularly for short breaks.

Theres's more detailed information on how to get to your boat on our web page - aptly titled Getting to your Boat. There are limited bus services and trains that will get you close to your destination, within a 20-30 minute taxi journey.

Shannon River are have been boat hire agents for the Shannon River in Ireland since 2002. We're passionate about boat hire holidays on the Shannon and our mission is to share the Shannon experience with as many people as we can. It's the same price to book through us as it is to book directly with the cruiser companies and we offer impartial advice on the best boat for your cruising holiday.

A Shannon cruise is all about relaxation. The boats go very slowly, you'll be overtaken by cyclists (and some joggers if they're fast enough) and you don't have much choice but to relax and watch the beautiful scenery go by. But it's not all about cruising, a Shannon cruise offers many great restaurants and, of course, an abundance of pubs to have a nice creamy Guinness.

To help you plan your cruise we have an interactive map, Approximate cruising times and a Travel Guide. There are also some suggested cruises to help you on your way. Our motto is make a plan - if you stick to it, that's good. If you don't stick to it, that's good too.

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