Commence your Shannon cruise at Banagher, explore the shops and restaurants which are less than a 5 minute walk from the marina, stock up with your provisions before boarding your cruiser by shopping at the local big supermarket or if you want to rent some fishing equipment call to Ray at the Old Forge. Take the heritage trail around the town with plenty of interesting buildings and facts. If you are spending the night you have the lovely choice of Flynn’s Restaurant and the Brosna Lodge which are very children friendly or check out the Van House for tasty and affordable meals, have a pint of the local beer, Bo Bristle, in some of the pubs and enjoy the Irish session and craic in Hough’s pub which is definitely worth a visit. There is a playground close to the harbour to keep the children entertained.
Continue south towards Portumna and stopping off at the idyllic and peaceful Meelick quay for some fishing or just a walk in the countryside. A little further south is the largest lock on the Shannon, Victoria Lock, this is operated by the friendly lock keeper Stephen and he will guide you through the lock.
Continue your Shannon cruise to Portumna and once you pass through the lifting bridge, it will be the wonderful Lough Derg ahead of you. Stop off at the small harbour in Portumna called Castle Harbour, this is in close proximity to the town and is just south of the bridge, it is located in the grounds of Portumna Castle and Gardens and the Forest park is close by. The park and gardens are great places to explore before heading to the town. Spend some time in the spacious playground located in the town and there is an array of shops, pubs and restaurants and plenty of arts and crafts. For a taste of Irish history visit the Irish workhouse which is located in the town. If its activity for the family try out some paint balling and Go karting from Pallas Karting which is located a short distance outside the town
On the other side of the lake is the small and quaint village of Terryglass, a wonderful playground close to the harbour and the village is just a short stroll from the marina. Both The Derg Inn and Paddy’s have great cuisine , hospitality and evening entertainment. If you fancy getting wet and trying some water skiing and wakeboarding contact Mark from the watermark ski club and he will have you up on the water in no time. Or if you wish to walk off the dinner from the evening before there are some walking trails around the area.
Kilgarvan is a very small harbour but has a great restaurant called Brocka-on-the-water
Staying on the Tipperary side of the lake, it will be Dromineer that is your next port of call, whether you decide to stay for lunch or have dinner at the Whiskey still, all are within easy reach from the harbour. Make sure and call to Declan at Lough Derg House and the Lake Cafe and he will spoil you with his fresh baking and exceptional food and will give you some great tips. For the children there is a playground beside the harbour and if you fancy some sailing call to Shannon Sailing for some advice.
Hop back on board and cruise to Garrykennedy, this small village offers food and entertainment in Larkin’s pub, famous for its Traditional Irish music session. The lovely harbour offers plenty of picnic benches , a perfect place for a picnic or BBQ and a playground is in close proximity of the harbour to keep the children busy.,
The next port of call is Killaloe, a picturesque town on the south end of Lough Derg has plenty of activities for all the family. Whether it is water sports, check out the activity centre of UL sport adventure centre , Fishing for Kids or pony trekking you have a wonderful choice. Great pubs and cuisine are on offer in Killaloe and a visit to the Brian Boru Heritage close to the marina traces the life story of Ireland’s greatest High King.
Now making your way back up the lake on your Shannon cruise, it will be Scarriff harbour which is on the Clare side of Lough Derg is the next port of call. Scarriff is a very pretty harbour with pubs and restaurants and the idyllic cruise up the Scarriff river and passing Tuamgraney is definitely worth the adventure. The river is so calm and tranquil that you can nearly touch the fields on each side. Scarriff hosts a festival here every year during the summer months.
Staying on the same side of the lake, continue to Mountshannon and it is here that you can take tours to Holy Island, the Island is located about 2km from Mountshannon and it is 6th century monastic site and guided tours are arranged by Ger Madden. After your tour, explore the town of Mounthshannon by taking a walk in the park which has a playground and a maze that will keep the children entertained for hours.
Continue your Shannon cruise back towards Portumna and Banagher taking in the wonderful scenery of Lough Derg on the way home.