Heritage & Culture 4 nights North & South
Route Banagher to Athlone and Portumna
As we are centrally located at Banagher Co. Offaly which is in the centre of Ireland, a visit to the famous Tullamore Dew in Tullamore is a must on your way to our marina which is only about 30 minute drive and a great opportunity to sample the renowned whiskey.
After your experience in Tullamore, commence your cruise from Banagher , there is plenty to keep you busy while you wait to board your cruiser . 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 . Take the heritage trail around the town with plenty of interesting buildings and towers. Have a pint of the local beer, Bo Bristle and if you are spending the night sample the fine cuisine in Flynn’s Bar & Restaurant or The Brosna Lodge and enjoy the Irish session and craic in Hough’s pub which is definitely worth a visit.
Cruise northwards and stop off at Shannonbridge and have a bite to eat in the lovely setting of the Old Forte Restaurant which is a newly restored main building of the Shannonbridge fortifications or grab some pub food in Luker’s or Killeen’s while enjoying a few drinks and chatting to the locals and plenty of evening entertainment in these two traditional pubs. If you fancy some local crafts browse the display of Shannonbridge pottery which is on sale in Killeen’s. Take the free short self- guided walk around the old Napoleonic fort. Continue upstream and it will be the famous world heritage site of Clonmacnoise that is noticeable from the shore line, stop here for a few hours and take a guided tour of the monastic site , watch the audiovisual but before coming back on board take a look around the gift shop which is located in the local tourist information situated outside the visitor centre.
Hop back on board and cruise to Athlone, this is where you will have your first experience of a lock. But no need to worry as the all the locks on the Shannon are operated by lock keepers so always there to lend a hand. Athlone is a great town with plenty of choice of great pubs, restaurants, shops and shopping centres. Sean’s bar, the oldest pub in Ireland is conveniently located beside the lock so pop in for a pint of Guinness, chat to the locals and listen to the music. Athlone Castle and Heritage is very interesting and the experience consists of different galleries relating to the different times and make sure and visit the John Mcormack exhibition. Plenty of fine cuisine in Athlone you will be spoilt for choice.
It will be here that you begin your journey back downstream and in the direction of Portumna , there is another lock which is the largest of the River Shannon, Victoria Lock and is situated about 40 minutes from Banagher. On passing through the bridge at Portumna it will be the lovely Lough Derg the greets you, mooring at the small harbour of Portumna Castle harbour is conveniently located close to the Castle and Gardens and the forest park. This castle was gutted by a fire in 1826 but a great example of Irish architecture of the early 17th century, and the ground floor of the castle is open to the public and houses an exhibition on the history and restoration of the building. In the centre of the town a visit to the Portumna Workhouse is a must, it opened in 1852 and was built for 600 inmates on 8 acres, a very interesting but sad history on life in the workhouse.
It will be here that you meander back to Banagher on the tranquil River Shannon.