Last updated on November 25, 2023
The Irish island is absolutely worth seeing – for any kind of holiday. You can also explore it particularly beautifully by cruiserboat or houseboat.
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Over 1000 kilometres of waterways are waiting to be explored. And the best thing is: you don’t even need a boat licence. You get a briefing from the landlord and then you can go on a great trip!
Besides the famous River Shannon and its lakes, there is also the River Erne with its lakes and hundreds of small islands.
The Shannon-Erne Waterway connects these two and even forms a district in itself.
In the heart of Northern Ireland you will find the great Lough Neagh, which is connected to the north coast via the Lower Bann (River).
Dublin is connected to the Shannen by two picturesque and historic canals, the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal. You can travel across the country on them.
The Grand Canal even has a branch to the south – via the River Barrow you can travel towards the south coast.
I have already written an article about the individual areas. I’ll link it to you below, at the end of this text.
Where can you rent a cuiserboat or houseboat? That’s what this article is about.
My family and I live in Ireland (second home). In summer we run our motorbike rental business here, south of Dublin (www.easycruiser.tours) and also offer nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie).
But now let’s look at some rental places where you can rent a houseboat for your holiday on Ireland’s waterways:
Le Boat / Emeraldstar
Le Boat is a chain with many houseboat rental stations in Europe and Canada. Emeraldstar is part of Le Boat and is the local company in Ireland.
There are two rental stations on the Shannon, one in Carrick-on-Shannon further north and one in Portumna further south. The Shannon-Erne Waterway and the Erne are also part of the rental area. From Carrick you can continue there.
The price range is wide and depends heavily on the period booked, the route and the type of boat. You can therefore check prices and dates directly on the website and also book there. There are sometimes also considerable discounts and special offers. See: https://www.emeraldstar.ie/.
Interestingly, this provider also has a German website (https://www.hausbootirland.de/). The English website can be found here: https://www.carrickcraft.com/. The brand also includes Waveline Cruisers.
There are three rental stations: Banagher on the southern Shannon, Carrick-on-Shannon on the northern Shannon and Bellanaleck on the Erne.
In addition to the Shannon and Erne, you can also take smaller boats along the idyllic Grand Canal from Shannon Harbour to Tullamore.
Here too, there is a wide choice of boats in various price categories, and it is best to enquire online for your preferred date.
Locaboat is a French operator with locations in several European countries. The Penichette boats have a refreshingly “retro” and cosy feel. In Ireland, it is represented in Banagher and Carrick-on-Shannon. I am not quite sure, but I think there is a cooperation (participation) with Carrickcraft. You can find offers at: https://locaboat.com.
Silver Line Cruisers
This company has a rental station in Banagher. The fleet is modern and there is a good selection of boats of all sizes.
Selection and booking is done via the website: https://silverlinecruisers.com/.
Manor House Marine
Manor House is situated on Lower Lough Erne, not far from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. In addition to houseboat hire, there is also a holiday park with cottages, a golf course and other facilities. The Erne System and the Shannon System are available. For information and booking see: https://www.manormarine.com/.
Located on the River Barrow in Vikarstown, north of Athy, this small family-run business offers charming narrowboats and barges, houseboat versions of the old cargo ships that plied the canals and rivers. The area includes the River Barrow and the Grand Canal. You can find the website at: https://www.barrowline.ie/. There is also a German site: https://www.barrowline.ie/german-page/.
Bann River Cruises
The River Bann in Northern Ireland flows from Lough Neagh to the north coast. It is not connected to the other areas, but there is also a houseboat rental here. See: https://bannrivercruises.co.uk.
As you can see, the Shannon system and the Erne system are the most important houseboat areas in Ireland.
They are connected by the Shannon-Erne Waterway and offer an enormous number of possibilities for an extended holiday on a boat.
This is also where you will find the most rental companies and the largest selection of boats.
But the River Barrow, the Grand Canal and the Lower Bann also offer charming options for a chilled-out boating holiday – away from the mainstream.
Whatever you decide, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful boating holiday in Ireland – so let’s go to Ireland!
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Photo credits cover image: Photo by BRADLEY on Unsplash