WALKING CRUISE – M.V.SHANNON PRINCESS IRELAND – 2016 SEASON
Discovering the Treasures of a Fabled Waterway
Day 1 Sunday
QUIGLEYS MARINA, GLASSON & LOUGH REE
Guests shall be met by the Barge Guide at 3.00pm at The Brooks Hotel, and transferred by Luxury coach to the Shannon Princess in Glasson, Athlone.
“Cead Mile Failte,” ( a hundred thousand welcomes!) -Your Captain and his crew welcome you onboard the elegant Shannon Princess with a Champagne Reception. Time enough to meet new friends; relax on deck or explore this charming lakeside mooring & local sites of interest.
Watch the world float by, as you enjoy your first Gourmet dinner onboard.
Day 2 Monday
LOUGH REE & THE SHANNON
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 en-route to Athlone Town.
AFTERNOON WALK, THE TÁIN TRAIL
TÁIN BÓ CULAINE – 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.
Day 3 Tuesday
MORNING WALK, THE PILGRAM’S PATH
After a short Cruise through the “Callows” an area rich in bird life, we moor at Clonmacnoise ruins – an atmospheric & spiritual 6th Century monastic settlement soaked in history & myth. Clonmacnoise was the ancient burial grounds of the High Kings of Tara & Connaught and quickly became a popular place of pilgrimage. After a guided tour of the site, we start our walking cruise trail on THE PILGRIM’S 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 & natural terrain.
Return to Shannon Princess and Cruise onward to the Village of Shannonbridge.
Day 4 Wednesday
MORNING WALK, THE SLIEVE BLOOM WAY & LEAP CASTLE
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 three to 4 hour walk along riverside paths & bog tracks and through woodland trails Followed by a visit to Leap Castle.
Leap Castle is reputed to be Ireland’s most haunted house. You will be greeted by Sean Ryan and his family who will invite you in to their unusual home and Sean, a renowned musician, will tell you the fascinating history of the castle and the part it played in founding the American Constitution. Sean will gladly play a few tunes with possibly the added bonus of being joined by his talented young daughter who will demonstrate her amazing dancing skills.
Beautiful evening cruise to Terrryglass
Day 5 Thursday
MORNING WALKING CRUISE ON LOUGH DERG & THE EAST CLARE HILLS
This morning the Shannon Princess sets sail through the especially beautiful Lough Derg passing Forrest Park and ancient mountains as we set our course for Mountshannon – a lovely lakeside village perched above the Lough.
The East Clare Way walk starts in Mountshannon. This is a 127km route of marked Highways and Byways. You will be guided through what is considered the most beautiful section. A gentle climb up through riverside villages & 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.
Day 6 Friday
MORNING CRUISE & THE GRAVES OF THE LEINSTERMEN & KILLALOE
This Morning we literately go with the flow, down through Lough Derg with its many Islands & Medieval strongholds. Here The Shannon Princess follows a dramatic route carved through the hills & valleys of Munster’s North Riding. The River sweeps past banks charmingly dotted with Wild Horses & Crumbling Castles. We moor in Killaloe, once home to the court of the last High King of Ireland – Brian Boru.
We take a hike into the Arra Mountains from our mooring in Killaloe. At The summit of Tountinna is the “GRAVES OF THE LEINSTERMEN”, today one stone is standing, the rest are covered in undergrowth. The site may have originally been a stone circle or a Neolithic Tomb. Keep a look out for evidence of the area’s great slate quarrying tradition. Magnificent views can be had from these parts, and blanket bog and several varieties of heather add to the allure of the landscape. This is an excellent walk and can take between 3 to 5 hours to walk. We are walking on natural terrain with moderate gradients.
Farewell “Slainte” Gourmet Dinner.
Day 7 Saturday
Killaloe / Depart
After breakfast you will be transferred by luxury coach to Dublin (where your tour ends), arriving approximately between 11: 30 a.m. and 12:00 noon.
Note: Our Luxury bus is in attendance on all walks- allowing Walkers the freedom to extend Walks or return to Barge at their wish.
This Walking Cruise Itinerary can be adapted and changed to suit our Guests individual preferences. Some may wish to do more sightseeing and less walking. There is quite a variety of shore excursion choices, such as visiting a Cheese Maker or Hand Weavers or a Trip to Galway City on the Atlantic Shore. These options can be chosen in advance or Guests can simply just arrive and get a feel for the Landscape and then decide on their options. If it’s logistically possible, we will do it!