For 2024 Nicols added the new boating holiday destination of Ireland allowing customers to hire a stylish and spacious canal boat (no boating licence is needed) to discover the River Shannon and the Shannon-Erne Canal in the Republic of Ireland. Various boating holiday itineraries are available from the following two Nicols bases at Carrick-on-Shannon and Banagher:
After collecting your Nicols boat, your home for the week, reach Leitrim and take the Shannon-Erne Canal which, with its 63km length and 18 locks, connects the two rivers that make up its name. Explore the canal to Ballinamore then retrace your steps. The winding River Shannon then takes you to Lough Key, in the middle of which sits an island that’s home to McDermott’s Castle. In the town of Boyle visit the 12th century Cistercian abbey or further south and at Athlone, one of the largest towns on the banks of the Shannon, you’ll find many traditional pubs and restaurants waiting for you.
Start your boating holiday by heading up the River Shannon towards Athlone, passing by the famous ruined monastery of Clonmacnoise. Also known as ‘the seven churches’ this is worth the slight detour – especially for history buffs. In the opposite direction heading south, take a visit to the Renaissance castle of Portumna before continuing on to Lough Derg which is a stunning lake around which you’ll find many pubs and restaurants typical of the region.