Waterways, Inland & Coastal
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Further information contact, Mullingar Tourist Office, Mullingar, Westmeath,
Endowed with a wealth of water, the East Coast and Midlands Region is a mecca for boating enthusiasts of all kinds, for anglers, swimmers and divers.
Endowed with a wealth of water, the East Coast and Midlands Region is a mecca for boating enthusiasts of all kinds, for anglers, swimmers and divers and for plain people who just like to sit and gaze at distant horizons while their children play in safety in the sand. The sea forms the eastern boundary of the region, the River Shannon with its lakes marks the western extent. And in between are sparkling hill streams, lazy meandering rivers, dark lakes in the mountains and bright lakes in the lowlands and, for good measure, there are no fewer than three canals.
Sandy beaches abound from north to south. Popular bathing beaches include Laytown and Bettystown in Co. Meath, Bray, Greystones and Brittas Bay to the south. A special feature at Laytown is an annual horse racing event on the strand. Templetown in Carlingford, Clogher Head and Brittas Bay hold the Blue Flag award for outstanding beaches. Carlingford and Bray are major centres for yachting, canoeing and board sailing.
The Shannon is the longest river in Ireland and its tributaries extends over a large part of the region. Deep and slow flowing, it was developed for navigation in the 18th Century and now forms one of Europe’s finest waterways. It is the most popular centre in the country for cabin cruisers, providing variety in its lakes, locks and river channel and passing through innumerable towns and villages which offer good food and drink, tourist information and craft shops, everything a visitor could wish for.
The Shannon is flanked by reed beds and water meadows, called ‘callows’ and of the greatest interest to botanists. Famous for their wildfowl, they are one of the last resorts in the land for breeding corncrake, a bird which is now protected. The Shannon lakes are full of interest, from the great expanse of Lough Ree, with islands and distant horizons, to smaller and more intimate lakes, surrounded by woodland and pasture.
The Shannon is joined by two of the three canals, the Royal and the Grand, both of them extending all the way to Dublin and providing endless opportunities for those who prefer canalcruising to rivers. The Barrow Canal is an offshoot of the Grand and runs to the south coast, through beautiful countryside. All three are flanked by tow paths, carefully maintained to provide delightful trails for long distance walkers. The canals are popular place for fishing for pike, bream and roach.