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On the Water at Ballyconnell

On the Water

Glide along the tranquil waters of the Shannon-Erne Waterway on a slow-travel adventure you’ll never forget

The slow sway of pale-coloured reeds, the elegant curl of a swan’s neck, the drift through a landscape blanketed in green. Cruising down the Shannon-Erne Waterway is a special experience, with 16 locks from Ballinamore to Leitrim Village and lots of friendly villages to stop off for lunch along the way. You can opt for a cruiser, a self-drive barge or even a traditional English or Dutch-style barge with many boat hire companies offering vessels. For kakayers and canoeists, the appeal is just as great with a vast array of paddling trails that bring you along gently flowing waters and into abundant lakes – the beating hearts of the waterway. Paddling here, you’ll pass through old, chunky stone locks, along quiet canals and scenic rivers on a series of 15 distinct paddling journeys. It’s what memories are made of.

Shannon-Erne Blueway paddling trails
Take to the waters on the Shannon-Erne Blueway and you’ll have a remarkable selection of paddling trails at your fingertips. The Blueway stretches for 70km along the length of the waterway from Leitrim Village in County Leitrim to Belturbet in County Cavan. If you haven’t been kayaking or canoeing before, it’s best to go with a guide who can pick one of the most suitable of the 15 paddling trails to explore. For more information or for a detailed map of the trails, visit bluewaysireland.org.

Ballyconnell White Water Course
While the Shannon-Erne Waterway feels gloriously tranquil and serene most times, that’s not to say it doesn’t have an adrenaline-filled wild side. Thrills and spills come thick and fast along the Ballyconnell White Water Trail, which is perfect for testing the skills of proficient paddlers. Beginning at Lock 2 in Ballyconnell, this section suits experienced adventurists who are happy to tackle the rapids, standing waves, eddies and rock piles along the course. 

Adventure Gently
Step into a beautiful Canadian canoe, grab your paddle and glide along the serene waterways in the company of an Adventure Gently guide. Perfect for novice paddlers, the guided tours here can bring you on a full day tour of the Shannon-Erne Waterway, although shorter half-day options are available. 

Cavan Adventure Centre
As well as offering canoes to rent for self-guided adventures and fishing or camping expeditions, the Cavan Adventure Centre offers guided boat tours out to the historic Clough Oughter Castle. It’s the perfect way to learn more about the story of this intriguing castle, which is set amongst some of the most idyllic scenery on the island of Ireland. And from Easter 2020, keep your eye out for the brand new Erne Island Waterpark, a fabulous inflatable waterpark where bouncing into the water is all part of the fun.

Way to Go Adventures
The great thing about going kayaking with Way to Go Adventures? You discover things along the waterways you never would have noticed, from birdlife to quiet islands. What’s more, they can arrange for your tour to start at a location that’s convenient to you. This is slow adventure at its best.  

For a very memorable day out on the water, why not try a spot of angling. Both Lough Scur and Lough Garadice are top angling hotspots where all of Ireland’s best coarse angling species including roach, bream and tench can be found. Looking for a bit of inside info? Check out Fishtracker – who offer guiding services including boats, advice on the best places to fish and even tuition for novices. 

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