Sunday, Day 1 Killaloe
We meet you at the designated meeting place and transfer you by coach to the Shannon Princess moored in historic Killaloe. We are moored on the Tipperary side of these picturesque little Ecclesiastical towns. Killaloe was once home to the court of the last High King of Ireland – Brian Boru. “Cead Mile Failte” – your Captain and his crew welcome you on board the elegant Shannon Princess with champagne, black velvet cocktails or perhaps an Irish coffee. Time enough to meet new friends. Relax on deck or explore this charming riverside town & local sites of interest. Watch the world float by, as you enjoy your first gourmet dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Walk the Graves of the Leinstermen
Today, we take a hike into the Arra Mountains from our mooring in Killaloe. At the summit of Tountinna is the Graves of the Leinstermen, where today – one stone still stands, with the rest lying beneath the undergrowth. The site may have originally been a stone circle or a Neolithic Tomb. Magnificent views can be had from these parts, where blanket bog and several varieties of heather add to the allure of the landscape. This is an excellent walk along natural terrain with moderate gradients, and can take between 3 to 5 hours to walk. Afterwards, we slip our moorings at Killaloe and start our journey up river.
This afternoon we literally go with the flow, up through Lough Derg with its many Islands & Medieval strongholds. Here, the Shannon Princess follows a dramatic route carved through the hills and valleys of Munster’s North Riding. The river sweeps past banks charmingly dotted with wild horses and crumbling castles. We moor at the lovely old estate village of Mountshannon, perched prettily above the lough. Gourmet dinner on-board and a moonlit ramble around Mountshannon.
Tuesday, Day 3 Walk the East Clare Hills
The East Clare Way walk starts from overnight mooring in Mountshannon. This is a 127km route of marked highways and byways. You will be guided through what is considered the most beautiful section of this walk. A gentle climb up through riverside villages and up into the Slieve Bernagh Hills until we overlook some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of Munster with Lough Derg and its many islands at our feet creating a landscape rich in beauty, colour and variety. This is a 3 to 4 hour walk on natural terrain and trails with moderate gradients.
This afternoon the Shannon Princess meanders effortlessly north through Lough Derg. We moor waterside at the foot of a hill that slopes gently up to Terryglass village. At Terryglass take time to explore this rural hamlet – walk, cycle, swim or make a wish in any of the villages’ ‘Holy (fairy) Wells’! Time to explore Portumna Castle walled kitchen gardens with your Chef. Gourmet dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 Walk the Slieve Bloom Way
We travel by luxury coach to the nearby Slieve Bloom Mountains. Steeped in history and folklore, the Slieve Blooms dominate the landscape as it straddles the border of counties Offaly and Laois. Its highest peak, 529m Arderin, translates from Irish as the ‘height of Ireland’. Connections with the past are everywhere as the area is dusted with monuments dating back as far as 4,500 years. This is a 3 to 4 hour walk along riverside paths, bog tracks and through woodland trails. Refreshment at Leap Castle hosted by owner & traditional musician Sean Ryan. Return to the Shannon Princess for gourmet dinner, and cruise an evocative stretch of the River Shannon. Onwards we head, floating by dappled woodlands and ancient highways. The ever-changing landscape slipping by, pausing as Portumna Swing Bridge is opened to allow the Shannon Princess pass on by, upwards through Meelick Lock to moor over night at the village of Banagher. Gourmet dinner on board
Thursday, Day 5 Walk the Pilgrim Path
En route to the bustling town of Athlone, we moor at Clonmacnoise ruins – an atmospheric and spiritual 6th Century monastic settlement soaked in history and myth. Clonmacnoise was the ancient burial grounds of the High Kings of Tara & Connaught and quickly became a popular place of pilgrimage. Here on the banks of the River Shannon, we start our walking trail on the Pilgrim Path. This ancient walking route crossed early historic Ireland from east to west and was known in Gaelic as An tSlí Mór – the ‘Great Road’. The modern Pilgrim Path covers an intact stretch of that ancient route which winds along the Esker Riada and provides the walker with an elevated view of the bog and River Shannon rich in wildlife and flowers.
We follow the trail for 3 to 4 hours, over gently undulating and natural terrain. The Shannon Princess continues towards Athlone, cruising through lush grazing meadows and floodplains. These meadows are considered Ireland’s premier wildfowl & flora reserves, and excellent examples of ‘Callows’ landscape. We moor in the heart of the bustling town of Athlone with time to visit some of the many charming craft, antiques shops or a visit to any of the town’s impromptu traditional music pubs. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Walk The Tain Trail
This morning the Barge slips through countryside little changed through the centuries. Relax & unwind as we float along the Shannon’s beautiful “Lough Ree & its Inner Lakes”, passing stately riverside homes & some of its reputed 365 wooded islands. We moor at Quigleys Marina,in Glasson – part of is the legendary route taken across Ireland taken by Queen Maedbh of Connacht in her attempts at the theft of her husband’s riches and his prized Brown Bull of Cooley. The Tain Trail is steeped in mythology & history as it retraces the journey & battles between Maeve & her armies & the Warrior hero Cúchulainn. We join the Tain Trail along the Shores of Lough Ree where Maeve met a bloody end. We follow the trail for 3 to 4 hours. This is a charming lakeshore byway on natural surfaces with only slight gradients. Farewell “Slainte” Gourmet Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
Saturday, Day 7 Glasson
After breakfast, disembark Shannon Princess and transfer to the **designated drop off point.
Walking themed cruises are charter only. The barge’s luxury bus will transfer you to all drop off locations, and will be in attendance throughout your walk, offering the freedom to extend your walk or return to the barge as you see fit. Please note, this is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction. **Various pick up and drop off points are available for charter groups.