Meet in Dublin and transfer to ‘Shannon Princess,’ moored at Quigley Marina in Glasson. After a welcome reception, take some time to relax on deck before sitting down to a gourmet dinner.
Time for an early stroll along the scenic, twisted lanes before a morning cruise on the River Shannon's "inner lakes" to Athlone. After lunch, visit Kilbeggan Distillery for a tasting. Dating from 1757, it is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. Return to the barge by way of the village of Ballinahown with its artisan crafts.
‘Shannon Princess’ cruises through the Callows, a protected area of lush meadows and grasslands. Moor below the ruins of Clonmacnoise, a famous sixth-century university and early Christian settlement. Have lunch as the barge continues cruising to Shannonbridge. Visit family-owned Meadowsweet Farm to sample wild Irish honey and other fresh organic produce. After dinner this evening, call at Killeen's Pub for traditional music and a chat with the locals.
Today’s idyllic cruise passes changing landscapes dotted with ivy-covered ruins, medieval garrisons and sleepy market villages. After Meelick Lock, pause as Portumna Swing Bridge is opened to allow access to Lough Derg; moor at the foot of Terryglass. After lunch, visit Mossfield Organic Farm to sample the award-winning cheeses. Continue to Leap Castle, Ireland’s most haunted house. Learn the castle’s history from Sean Ryan and his family who, as they demonstrate, are also talented traditional musicians.
Visit Portumna Castle and its walled kitchen gardens this morning. Continue to the university city of Galway, a stronghold of the Irish language, for lunch at an authentic Guinness and oyster bar. Return to ‘Shannon Princess’ for a leisurely cruise to Mountshannon, perhaps to enjoy a moonlit ramble in the old estate village or dancing at the local hotel.
Cruise through charming stretches of Lough Derg to the twin towns of Killaloe & Ballina. Enjoy a private tour of the belfry of St. Flannan's Anglican Church, hosted by the Choir Master. Then visit Adare Manor for a private falconry display with a variety of birds of prey, set on the Manor's lovely grounds. Continue to a traditional hand weavers workshop and studio to learn how small cottage industries still thrive. Return to the barge for a gala farewell dinner this evening.
After breakfast, transfer back to Dublin where your journey ends.
Route runs in reverse on alternate weeks and may differ on selected cruise dates.