Waterways Ireland | Hubs | Themes

Hidden Gems at Athlone

Hidden Gems

Strange and fantastical creatures, plundering Vikings and a literary icon – look beyond the surface of Lough Ree and you never know what you might find…

Derryglad Folk Museum

Pull up a stool at the mid-19th century grocery-pub in the Derryglad Folk Museum, and you'll feel like you could settle in for the afternoon. This museum is a work of pure devotion by its owners, the Finneran family, who have created a treasure-trove of curiosities that will keep you engaged, entertained and enlightened. There are over 6,000 items on display detailing farm and folk life from the 18th century to the present day, including phonographs, school materials, tradesman's tools and horse-drawn machinery.

Knockcroghery Claypipe Centre

When the village of Knockcroghery was burned to the ground by the Black and Tans in 1921, a thriving clay pipe tradition died with it. Engulfed with flames, the factory – which had stood on the site for 250 years – was reduced to smouldering ash. But today, the tradition has been revived thanks to the interest and devotion of local woman Ethel Kelly. Step into the Knockcroghery Claypipe Centre and uncover the incredible history behind the soft curves of these beautifully crafted pipes, created using the original moulds and tools. Smoked by both men and women, and frequently used at funeral wakes when they would be broken after being smoked, claypipes have been described as the "pipe of the common man".

Ireland's Nessie…

It started off as a day like any others back in May, 1960 when three Catholic priests went for a lesiurely fishing trip on Lough Ree. But it would end with tales of a strange, black, eel-like monster that rose and fell as it travelled through the water. And the legend of the Lough Ree monster spread… Of course, there had been murmurings of a fantastical creature in the lake prior to the Sixties, but this was the best documented claim of an actual sighting. So keep your eyes out and your camera close when you're cruising the waters here – you never know what you might see! 

Goldsmith and Lough Ree

Leaving Glasson village on the road to Ballymahon, you'll pass a spot called The Three Jolly Pigeons. It's worth a stop-off: this 1920's spot is overflowing with rural charm and is named after a pub that was the setting for Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, written in 1771. It's the first sign that you are now in Goldsmith country – a part of Ireland with deep links to the 18th century literary genius. Goldsmith was born in Pallas, just outside the village of Ballymahon, where he is now remembered both with a statue on the main street and, more notably, with an annual festival. For the literary-minded, this is a gem of an event held every June, which celebrates both Goldsmith's works and the beautifully surroundings that inspired them.  

The islands of Lough Ree

Look out across Lough Ree and the islands seem to rise from the rippling waters like apparitions. Thousands of years of folklore and legend, history and myth swirl together around these grassy enclaves, and, at times, it feels like all of the area's past is contained within them. Take Inchcleraun for starters – this quiet wilderness was a retreat for Queen Maeve, a haven for St Diarmuid who founded a monastic site here in 540AD, and was attacked and plundered repeatedly from the 9th to the 14th centuries. It's not the only island that harbours a turbulent history. Walk down to the shores at Coosan Point, look out and you'll see Hare Island in the distance. Back in the 19th century, a massive hoard of Viking gold was found here, while the island was also a lure for St Ciaran, who later founded a monastic site at Clonmacnoise. It's easy to see why saints and scholars, adventurers and attackers were drawn to these islands over the years, and they add a unique beauty to cruising the vast waters of Lough Ree.

Show More

Start planning your experience

Filter by

NavigationFilter = [Shannon Navigation]
ActivityTypeFilter = [All]
BusinessTypeFilter = [All]

Active Life Boat Hire

County Clare

7;#Shannon Navigation


21;#Boat Hire

Adventure Gently

Shannon & Shannon-Erne

6;#Shannon Erne Waterway;#7;#Shannon Navigation


1;#Activity Provider;#17;#Tours & Trips

Allen Centre

Co Leitrim

7;#Shannon Navigation


1;#Activity Provider;#3;#Clubs & Training Centres;#4;#Equipment Hire/Rental;#17;#Tours & Trips

Athlone Boat Club

3 Retreat Mews
Retreat Rd
Co Westmeath

7;#Shannon Navigation


1;#Activity Provider;#3;#Clubs & Training Centres

Barracuda Boat Trips

Co Westmeath

7;#Shannon Navigation

21;#Boat Trips

17;#Tours & Trips


Hodson Bay
Co Roscommon
N37 KH72

7;#Shannon Navigation

6;#Power Sports;#8;#Sailing

1;#Activity Provider

Birr Outdoor Education Centre

Roscrea Road
Co Offaly

7;#Shannon Navigation

6;#Power Sports

1;#Activity Provider;#4;#Equipment Hire/Rental

Carrick Rowing Club

Quay Road
Co Lietrim

7;#Shannon Navigation


1;#Activity Provider;#3;#Clubs & Training Centres


Bellanaleck, Co Fermanagh
Co Leitrim
Banagher, Co Offaly

7;#Shannon Navigation;#2;#Erne System


21;#Boat Hire

Castleconnell Boat Club

Co Limerick

7;#Shannon Navigation


1;#Activity Provider;#3;#Clubs & Training Centres

Coca Cola Zero Bikes

Limerick City

7;#Shannon Navigation


4;#Equipment Hire/Rental;#1;#Activity Provider

Cruise on the Ku-ee-tu

7;#Shannon Navigation

21;#Boat Trips

17;#Tours & Trips
Back to top