Hire a self-drive canal boat and begin your in Ireland from Bellanaleck. This small town with just a few hundred inhabitants is an ideal starting point to discover Lough Erne as it is located centrally between both the upper and lower parts…cleverly named Lower Lough Erne and Upper Lough Erne!
Bellanaleck is also only 8km from the historic town of Enniskillen, the largest town in County Fermanagh. Nestled on a small island and an essential stop on your boating holiday itinerary, Enniskillen mixes historic treasures such as the 15th century castle which is home to two museums with more modern interests such as shopping opportunities at the art and craft themed Buttermarket Courtyard with numerous galleries, shops and cafes.
Leaving Bellanaleck and heading south, you cruise along the River Erne heading towards the source of the river. You reach Upper Lough Erne which is a huge lake with more than 150 islands scattered over this vast expanse of water. Some of these islands are equipped with services and activities for both adults and children to enjoy while on others all you’ll find are historical remains, some of which that date back several thousand years, or wildlife and wonderful countryside settings.
On this route you head northwest, still sailing on the River Erne, to reach Lower Lough Erne. After stopping at Enniskillen (see above) you enter the lake dotted with small islands and peninsulas, where there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a picnic or even moor up for an overnight stay in an isolated corner in the heart of nature, far from the noise and from the hustle and bustle of the cities! If you prefer cultural stops, don't miss Devenish Island (also nicknamed the island of oxen): it’s home to a monastic site built in the 6th century, looted by the Vikings in the 12th century, before regaining a certain prosperity in the Middle Ages. Today, you can visit the ruins and vestiges of this historical past which spanned more than 1,500 years…