Inland cruising in Ireland

The Grand Canal, County Offaly

Inland cruising holidays in Ireland are relaxing, varied and saturated in beautiful scenery. Begin your cruising journey here with essential information, inspiring suggestions and stunning images.

Great For
  • Active
  • Families
  • Fishing
  • History
  • Value for money
  • Water Sports
  • Major Attractions

    White Island | Devenish Island | Clonmacnoise | Crom Castle | Lough Key Forest Park

  • Known For

    Scenery | History | Angling | Food and Drink | Christian Heritage | Islands

  • Nearest Airports

    Shannon Airport (Shannon River) | Belfast International (Lough Erne & River Bann) | Dublin Airport (Grand & Royal Canals; River Barrow)

Few modes of modern travel provide the kind of serene calm of cruising in Ireland. Be it lake, canal or river, the lack of commercial activity and the lush, water-fed landscapes are the stuff of water colour masterpieces.

Smile: you're cruising in Ireland!
Smile: you're cruising in Ireland!

Headed by the visually stunning Shannon Erne Waterway, the combined waterways of Ireland act as liquid access to monastic cities, isolated islands and countless quaint villages and towns. From a lake, from a river, or from a canal, these experiences are unique to cruise holidays alone.

Stop, explore, repeat.

That’s the wonderful thing about cruising in Ireland – you can stop and explore where and when you like. Gourmet meals, island picnics, activity parks, castles, gardens, bike trips, canoeing, angling: all and more are within easy reach of the water. Should a night on dry land be of interest, you can choose anything from a cosy B&B to a luxury castle hotel.

Recipe for relaxation

It’s not simply perfect, pastoral scenery, or the pleasing ripples of parting water that make cruising in Ireland so relaxing. It’s the fact that you don’t need a licence to man a craft, or that you don’t even need to have experience. If you want to man your own vessel, the provider will show you.

Bikes on board at Lough Key
Bikes on board at Lough Key

I find myself with the time to look deeper and I soon become a connoisseur of the various shades of green in the passing reed beds.

Owen Shears (The Guardian Newspaper) on travelling the River Shannon.

Your holiday, your way

Remember, too, that this is your holiday, your way. Feel like roaming a castle estate today? Go for it. Fancy stopping at that pub for a fish and chips lunch? Do it. That cycle path looks like fun, doesn’t it? Moor up, and get biking. Naturally, anglers will be spoilt for choice. Trout, bream, perch – they’re all on offer.

More to explore

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Take a moment

Lose yourself in some of Ireland's most inspiring countryside and vibrant cities.

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