Suggested cruising options Bellanaleck*
From Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland

10 days
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Around 240 KM
from 2460 EUROS**
* Cruise suggestions: non contractual information
** All prices are calculated on the basis of a two day weekend in low season.
  • Lough-Erne
  • Campagne-irlandaise
  • Campagne-irlandaise-2
  • Bellanaleck-2
  • Crom-Castle
  • Cuilcagh-Mountain
  • pub-ambiance

Description of
the boating holiday

Between the Shannon and the Erne rivers

A route with something for the whole family - nature, culture, history and architectural and industrial heritage. A 10-day boating holiday to navigate the River Erne and the Shannon-Erne canal.

Departure base

Welcome to Northern Ireland! Here, as you are in Great Britain, pounds sterling is the currency used. Bellanaleck is a peaceful little village on the banks of the River Erne with a central location between the large Upper Lough Erne and Lower Lough lakes.
Before picking up your Nicols canal boat, go (by car) to the Marble Arch cave, classified as a “Global Geopark” by UNESCO for its geological interest. With more than 11km of tunnels formed by three underground rivers over the centuries the site is well worth the detour whether you choose a visit led by a specialist caving guide or simply take a self-guided tour. Right next to it is the Cuilcagh hiking trail (12km round trip) which is a wooden pontoon that winds through the middle of an unspoiled bog, until you reach the highest point of Cuilcagh Mountain from where the view is breathtaking. After all these adventures, head to the marina for the start of your boating holiday on the River Erne.

Places to see and things to do

Upper Lough Erne: become great lakes explorers

South of Bellanaleck is Upper Lough Erne, a large lake dotted with dozens of islands, sometimes deserted, sometimes inhabited. Set sail and explore some of them aboard your canal boat and spot the few castles that sit enthroned on the shores of the lake including Belle Isle Estate, Crom Castle and Crichton Tower.
For airsoft enthusiasts 11 years old and over, the Battle Camp Activity Centre is for you! Simply wear sensible shoes and clothing – everything else is provided by the centre.

Crom Castle: Irish architectural heritage

During your navigation on Upper Lough Erne you will come across this little architectural gem. Crom Castle has two parts to it: the first dates from the 17th century and was built by a wealthy Scottish owner. Destroyed in 1764 by fire, the original building is now in ruins. The second building is a result of the reconstruction of the castle, carried out in the 19th century. Although this reconstructed part is today the private property of the Count of Erne, the ruins of the old Crom Castle are open to visitors, so do not hesitate to stop there!

At just 2km from the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, a stopover in Ballyconnell is the ideal place to realise that you’re on your holidays! Visit places such as the Woodford River Walk footpath, Cavan Adventure Centre for watersports, and golf, a spa and restaurants at the Slieve Russell Resort.

Ballinamore: fishing and Irish folklore

A small village crossed by the Shannon-Erne canal, Ballinamore is a perfect example of rural Irish life. Its Glenview Folk Museum takes you back to the 1930s, with an astonishing collection of everyday objects. Check out the Travelling Shop, a van-shop that roamed the roads of the county offering locals a huge selection of items - from sacks of flour to adjustable wrenches! Enjoy a tasty meal at the adjoining restaurant, which is also managed by the Kennedy family who founded the museum. Ballinamore is also a favourite spot for angling and with 40 lakes all within 10km fisherman will be spoilt for choice!

Keshcarrigan: in the footsteps of the Celtic people

A short stopover along the Shannon-Erne canal, Keshcarrigan is a village where you can enjoy the surrounding nature. From the marina you can walk to the Lough Scur dolmen to discover a multi-centenary burial site. For hiking enthusiasts, reach the top of Sheebeg Hill (about 5km round trip). The more adventurous can then continue the walk to the hill of Sheemore, the "hill of the fairies", from where the panoramic views are spectacular (about 12km round trip).

Leitrim: discovering old coal mines

Just 5km north of Carrick, the small village of Leitrim is the gateway between the Shannon-Erne Canal and the River Shannon. See the ruins of the castle, built in 1540 by the O'Rourke family in the heart of the city. A quick taxi ride will take you to the former coal mine of Arigna, now transformed into a tourist attraction. Put on your hard hat and experience these underground tunnels where it never exceeds 10°C and where you can't see daylight! An interactive and educational visit for the whole family… following in the footsteps of miners.
This is the end of your license-free boating holiday! Take the Shannon-Erne canal in the opposite direction to reach Bellanaleck, where you can return your canal boat.

Canal boats available

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Holiday reviews from Bellanaleck

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This is the way to see Ireland in all its splendour! Lush green landscapes of plains and hills, castles and historic structures of the Celtic peoples… what more do you need?

Gerald, Rennes (35)