Set your own pace on Ireland’s waterways

Cruising the Shannon/Erne waterways is officially the most relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a few days off. Depending on how long you want to spend on the water, and what part of the country you want to visit, you can go for a relaxing break, or something a bit more adventurous.

Emerald Star is one of the countries top boating holiday companies, and offers customers a wide range of boats and cruise locations depending on your needs. There’s a large selection of boats which can sleep two to eight plus and all are simple to drive and require no previous experience. Before setting off Emerald Star will give you plenty of instruction and practice on the boat, which are very easy to manoeuvre.

After spending an interesting long weekend travelling from Portumna to Killaloe and back last year we decided to head south this summer to see what Carrick-on-Shannon and the surrounding villages had to offer.

Carrick-on-Shannon is as well known for it’s hen and stag parties as it is for it’s beautiful waterways. There are plenty of routes you can take, using the town as your base. Speak to the staff at Emerald Star before setting off to make sure you have enough day light hours to make it to your chosen destination.

Arriving on the Saturday we decided to head south to Leitrim before cruising back to Carrick-on-Shannon for the night. You really haven’t lived until you’ve had a night out in Carrick! There are plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs, and takeaways that will happily deliver to your boat. Once you can give them an accurate enough idea of where you’re moored! Locals and fellow revellers alike are friendly and good fun, with a good night guaranteed for all.

The towns and villages along the waterways are a mixture of relaxed and quiet to the busy and entertaining. Using Carrick as a base is the ideal way to take in both sides to the waterways. You can return to the town each night to soak up what’s on offer, or head off north or south to the quieter towns. While you have the boat you should take full advantage of day light and travel as far as you can.

After a hectic night out in Carrick-on-Shannon we decided a peaceful day away was needed so travelled south as far as Dromod, a fishing village on Loughs Bofin and Boderg. It’s a sleepy village with a quant little harbour with plenty of river wildlife and room to take your rowing boat out!

After a much needed night off we travelled further south to Tarmonbarry the next day before heading back to Roosky and then on to Carrick-on-Shannon for our final night. There are locks and canals along the way which give everyone on board ample opportunity to get their hands dirty and do a little bit of, very stressfree, work. Locks are also great places to meet fellow boaters and get some tips on things to do and places to see. Lock keepers are sure to have interesting stories about the waterways.

Cruising on the Shannon/Erne waterways is something you have to do at least once in your life.

Emerald Star currently have a 30 per cent sale on their boating holidays. For more information on Emerald Star boating holidays log on to www.emeraldstar.ie

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