Public Sailings - Lough Ree & Hodson Bay Cruise


Approximate return journey time: 75 minutes 

Lough Ree & Hodson Bay Cruise

“Where the Three Counties Meet”

Departing from Athlone Castle, this cruise travels upstream on the River Shannon to Lough Ree. During the sailing there is live commentary on local history, the religious settlements on the islands and tales of Viking treasure. This is a boat trip that can be enjoyed by all ages and is suitable for any family occasion. Don a Viking helmet and prepare for battle or simply sit back with an Irish Coffee. Either way, you will enjoy the beauty of the Inland Waterways and witness everything Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands has to offer.

boats on Lough Ree
historic image of viking ships

Viking history

The fiercest Viking to visit Lough Ree is Olaf Scabbyhead and his daring fleet of Viking longships. In 933 Scabbyhead and his crew plundered and looted the midlands for precious metals and valuable artifacts. This angered the Viking King Olaf Guthfrithsson who sent his men to defeat and imprison Scabbyhead in 937. Olaf succeeded but he unknowingly left treasure behind. Where do you think the treasure is buried?

Nature and wildlife

Lough Ree is famous for its meadows and nesting birds. Under an EU directive, the lake has been designated a special area of protection and conservation. This is particularly important due to the many wildlife species in the region. Recorded are, amongst others, the great crested grebe, cormorant, lapwing, and heron. Mammals recorded include mink, fox and otter.

wildlife on lough ree
sailboat on Lough Ree

Colourful Sails

The lake has the world’s second oldest yacht club. Every summer colourful sails can be seen dotted around the lough as numerous boats compete in racing events. The Shannon-One-Design being a fine example of local craftsmanship.

Information for our Hodson Bay Hotel guests

During the Lough Ree cruise, the Viking Ship makes a short stop at the Hodson Bay Hotel. Check our departure times here or at the hotel’s reception. All sailings are return, excluding the last sailing of the day. To embark on this cruise, you will need to wait at the outer quay wall of the harbour and there are signs in the area to direct you. Please beware that it is an active public harbour.

If you are a wheelchair user please contact us in advance

Restroom onboard

This cruise is Dog Friendly

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“A place where time stands still”