Discover Killaloe and Lough Derg with top tips from those in the know…
“Lough Derg has so much to offer and caters for every type of tourist. You can have activity-based holidays (perfect for energetic kids) as well as foodie experiences, yoga retreats and meditation centres. You can visit a chocolate factory, learn the art of herbalism in a one-day workshop, try out fly fishing along the shores during May fly season but also – and here's what makes Lough Derg special –there is such an eclectic night life scene. We have comedy gigs, festivals, music venues, gin cruises, bustling pub scenes and so much more – make sure to check out Thursday nights in Thursday nights in The Washer Woman in Ballina where talented locals and visitors alike all take to the stage for the open Mic sessions.
“My favourite activity in Lough Derg is watching the sun set – find yourself a good perch and watch the sky turn to blood orange or maybe purple with pink hues. Lough Derg sunsets rival those all over the world. I recommend Tountinna, the look out on the road to Portroe, or if you don't have a car, Main Street Ballina has a purpose-built balcony for your viewing pleasure.
“In terms of food and drink, there’s so much going on. If you have a car then 100% you need to take the short five-minute drive from Killaloe to the little village of Birdhill to check out The Old Barracks. It’s an adult-only cafe, but trust me on this, you are going to want to see it and taste the coffee here! Keep an eye out for their Sunday food stall pop-ups, too. There is nothing I like more on a sunny day in Ballina/Killaloe than going to Flanagan’s on the Lake and eating lunch al fresco; watching the boats, jet skis and kayaks pass by makes you feel like you're on holidays. If you're lucky enough, there might be some ambient guitar playing going on in the background. And if you're looking for a great dining experience in a cute country setting with a chic interior, head for The Pipers Inn, just a few miles outside of Killaloe.” Blogger Brenners McGoo
“There’s so much to do around this area, and here are some of our favourites… Why not take a cruise along the River Shannon and Lough Derg with Killaloe River Cruises, or follow in the footsteps of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland from 1002-1014 along the Killaloe Heritage Trail. If you’re adventurous, a great thing to do is to drive to the Graves of the Leinstermen and take the 30-minute walk to the Millennium Cross, or try the Ballycuggaran Loop – there are spectacular views of Lough Derg along this route also. And for something a little different, drive to O’Brien’s Bridge and take the 20-minute walk along the riverbank to the weir, which was built in 1929 as part of the Shannon Hydro Electric Scheme.” James and Aoife Whelan, Killaloe River Cruises.
“It’s hard to find a place where you are guaranteed amazing views, delicious food & friendly people – but Lough Derg has it all. The area has so much to offer, from grabbing a coffee and going on a hike, to having a dinner followed by a gin cruise and making some time for the adventure centre in between. Lough Derg is your one-stop-shop for a fun family weekend away, a couples getaway or even a corporate event. In terms of places to visit, Two-Mile-Gate is a must – there are private jetties on the island and if you get there early enough you can grab one just for yourself. On a sunny day a picnic, a pizza and that jetty are just heaven.” Maxine Amodeo, Tuscany Bistro