Approximate one-way journey time: 90 minutes
Departing from Athlone Castle, the cruise travels downstream on the River Shannon to the famous 6th Century monastery of Clonmacnoise. During this meandering voyage there is live commentary on local history, monastic life, and the surrounding flora & fauna. This cruise is for culture seekers, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. You may also join us at Clonmacnoise and travel the upstream journey to the town of Athlone and centre of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
Clonmacnoise sits on the banks of the River Shannon and we will approach the monastery by water, just like the Vikings did in 842. It was a renowned centre for Christianity, learning, trade and craftmanship. As a result, it became an idle target for the sea faring Vikings. Today only the ruins of the stone monastery remain: a cathedral, several churches, two round towers, three high crosses and many more.
The one-way journey sails 15km through the meandering Shannon and surrounding bogland.
Protection of the Callows is particularly important due to its many species of birds. Recorded are, amongst others, curlew, whooper swan and common buzzard. Grazing of cattle keeps alder and willow from spreading, where sections at higher elevation have a great diversity of plants, in particular meadowsweet, purple loosestrife and bog cotton.
We recommend the tour group travels one-way: Athlone Castle to Clonmacnoise or visa-versa, with your coach meeting you at the opposite location. In Clonmacnoise there are large parking facilities and in Athlone you can make use of the coach bays at SS Peter & Paul Church. Our fare does not include admission to the monastic settlement. For more information on Clonmacnoise opening hours and admission rates please visit OPW Clonmacnoise.
If there is a wheelchair user please contact us in advance
Boat Trip to Clonmacnoise
“I travelled on the Viking ship from Athlone to Clonmacnoise on Saturday 10th September 2016 with a group on pilgrimage to Clonmacnoise.The boat was very comfortable. Blankets were even supplied for the cooler days! Michael, the captain, had a wealth of information about the river and the locality: particularly historic and ecological. Tea and coffee were complimentary and were much appreciated. All in all, I found the boat trip to be very pleasant and added to my enjoyment of the day.”
“In July a group of 44 of us travelled from Clonmacnoise to Athlone with Viking tours. Michael was a pleasure to deal with from booking right through to our arrival in Athlone. The trip was great passing through lovely scenery while been given lots of information from the tour guide. The boat was very comfortable and was very accessible for even the more elderly members of our group. We would highly recommend this tour to others and look forward to returning again some time.”