Ireland has some of the finest scenery in the world. This isn’t just us boasting! According to a number of the world’s leading travel sites, Ireland is a country of natural and unspoilt beauty. The Lonely Planet refer to Ireland’s “breath taking, ancient landscape” while Rough Guide describes how “an uncommon geological richness and the warming effect of the Atlantic produce an astonishing diversity of terrain on this small island“.
Hosted by our professional Walking Guide – our Walking Itinerary embraces the luxury and comfort of barging, along with the satisfaction and exhilaration of quality walking tours. For avid walkers, this is the perfect chartered river cruise. The lush countryside along the River Shannon provides a truly wonderful trail for an Irish walking tour cruise. The barge cruises a uniquely-beautiful route that has changed little through the centuries. We explore trails and ancient walkways that are steeped in Irish history and mythology.
Walk 1 – The Grand Canal
The first walk incorporates a pleasant stroll through middle Ireland, along the towpaths of the Grand Canal.
The canal commenced building in 1756 to connect Dublin with the West of Ireland. All goods manufactured in Dublin and required in the West of Ireland were taken via barge to the Shannon and further afield. It was the motorway or railroad of its day.
We will also see peat or as it is more commonly known in Ireland ‘turf’ being saved. It will be a quiet and peaceful introductory walk.
Walk 2 – Kinnitty Castle
The second walk brings us to Kinnitty Village in County Offaly.
This tranquil woodland loop on forestry tracks pass close to the grounds of Kinnitty Castle (now a hotel) and fords several tinkling little streams which passes the scant ruins of Glinsk Castle with many fine broadleaf trees evident. There are beautiful views over Co.Offaly and the surrounding mountain valleys.
This walk may be amended to accommodate a visit to Leap Castle 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.
Walk 3 – Lough (Lake) Derg
Today we travel along a very pretty stretch of the Shannon River onto the idyllic Lough (Lake) Derg where an ever-changing landscape slips by.
After lunch in the village, the walkers will depart with their walking guide 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 and bog tracks and through woodland trails.
Walk 4 – The East Clare Way
For the penultimate walk we depart after lunch for The East Clare Way walk which starts in Mountshannon and will be conducted by the walking guide. 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 takes us up through riverside villages & into the Slieve Bernagh hills until we overlook some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of Munster. Here, Lough Derg and its many islands are 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.
Walk 5 – Arra Mountains
Our final walk commences after lunch, where the walkers will depart with the walking guide for a hike into the Arra Mountains. 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, walking on natural terrain with moderate gradients.
How is a Walking Tour Booked?
Our walking tour is booked as a Full Boat Charter (Group Booking) and if you would like further information or to make a reservation, please contact us on our booking enquiry form.