History and Heritage

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History and Heritage

History and Heritage Discover Ireland's rich cultural history on a cruising holiday on the Shannon and Erne Waterways.

Ireland is famed the world over for its heritage and history, and on a cruising holiday with Carrickcraft, you will find numerous fascinating sites of historic interest, castles, gardens and heritage centres right on the river or just a short walk from the many moorings. To provide protection from invaders, many of the fortifications were built on islands or close to rivers, so with a Carrickcraft cruiser, you have access to many sites only accessible by boat - just moor up alongside and view at your leisure. Be transported back in time at the fascinating 6th century monastic site at Clonmacnois or spend some time exploring the many monuments on the islands of Lough Erne. You will be amazed at how the country's traditional culture has been preserved in modern day Ireland. As well as the many attractions described here, there are many towers and ruins alongside the river or on islands which you will cruise past, such as the round tower at Banagher or the medieval ruins on Trinity Island in Lough Key. Particular attention should also be paid to the many locks and bridges which have historic interest such as Meelick Lock and the magnificent 16 arch bridge at Shannonbridge. Even the harbours themselves tell us much about bygone days, for example the historic Richmond Harbour at the entrance to the Royal Canal.

Lough Erne

Belleek Pottery
Home of the world famous Belleek Fine Parian China. The visitor centre is now one of the top 5 visitor attractions in Ireland and features a showroom, museum, video theatre and tearoom. Tours are available on weekdays. Tel: +44 28 6865 8501.  More...
In the Beleek area, you will also find Fermanagh Crystal (+44 2868 658631) and Celtic Weave China.
Castle Caldwell
Ruins of a 16th century castle, surrounded by forest with beautiful nature walks and picnic areas. Tel: +44 28 6632 3110.  More...
Boa Island
From Lusty Beg, you can take the chain ferry to Boa Island with it's famous carved stone statues, situated in the Cladragh Burial grounds.  More...
 Boa Island Figures
White Island
This important monastic site is only accessible by boat and features the ruins of a 12th century Castle with fantastic Romanesque doorway. There are also intriguing archaic stone figures set into a wall that predates the Church.  More...


 White Island Figures
Tully Castle
Remains of a 17th century fortified house and gardens with visitor centre and exhibition.
Open from Easter to end of September every day 10am - 6pm. Admission free.  More...
 Tully Castle
Castle Archdale Country Park
Important conservation area with nature trail, butterfly garden and wildflower meadows. Archdale Centre features various exhibitions such as "Castle Archdale at War" which demonstrates the importance of the area as an aircraft base during the Second World War.
Free access and admission to exhibitions. Visitor Centre open 10am to 6pm daily.  More...
Tel: +44 28 6862 1588
Devenish Island
Famous for its perfect 12th-century round tower and ruined Augustinian abbey, this is one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. Intricately carved 15th-century high cross in graveyard. Small museum.
Easter to mid-September open every day 10am to 6pm. Tel: +44 28 6632 2882  More...
Enniskillen Castle and Museums
Built almost 600 years ago by Gaelic Maguires. Guarding one of the few passes into Ulster, it was strategically important throughout its history. In the 17th century it served as part of a military barracks. This historic site houses two museums, Fermanagh County Museum and the Inniskillings Museum
Tel: +44 28 6632 5000. Check out our blog post on the best things to do in Enniskillen.  More...
Forthill Park and Cole's Monument
Pleasant town park in central Enniskillen. Cole's Monument has 180 spiral steps leading to a viewing platform with magnificent views of the surrounding area.
Open Mid April-Sept daily 1.30pm-3.00pm.
Tel: +44 28 6632 3110
 Forthill Park
Castle Coole
Majestic 18th century stately home with landscape park ideal for long walks. Moor at Ardhowen Theatre, just south of Enniskillen for a short walk across the road to the Estate.
Tel: +44 28 6632 2690.  More...
Marble Arch Caves
One of Europe's finest show caves with access to a fascinating underworld of waterfalls, rivers and chambers.
Tel: +44 28 6634 8855   More...
The caves are about 10 miles from Enniskillen, so you should moor in Enniskillen town and take a taxi (available from Tourist Office)
 Marble Arch Caves
Historic 18th century house set in a large area of parkland and gardens.
Tel: +44 28 6634 8249   More...
The estate is about 8 miles from Enniskillen, so you should moor in Enniskillen town and go to the Tourist Office to book a taxi. Could be combined with a visit to Marble Arch Caves as this is in the same area.
Sheelin Irish Lace Museum
Moor at Bellanaleck. 700 exhibits of all types of Irish lace dating from 1850 to 1900. Restaurant also on site in the 200 year old thatched building.
Open Mon - Sat 10am - 6pm. Admission £3.00
Tel: +44 28 6634 8052   More...
Crom Estate
An important nature conservation area set on 2000 acres of natural woodland. Two castles on the estate. The old Crom Castle is open for visitors and the new 19th century castle (not open to the public) is still inhabitated. Tea room and visitor centre beside jetty.
Tel: +44 28 6773 8118. Admission £5.50 per boat.   More...
Belturbet Station Visitor Centre
An interesting collection of railway memorabilia.
Open Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm
Tel: +353 49 9522074   More...

Upper Shannon

Sliabh an Iarainn Visitor Centre, Drumshanbo
Tells the history of the area in words, pictures and many displays.
Tel: +353 71 9641522   More...
Open Mon to Sat 10am to 6pm Sun 2pm to 6pm.
 Sliabh An Iarainn
King House, Boyle
A magnificent 18th century Georgian Mansion in Boyle Town Centre, complete with foreboding jail cells.
Open 10am to 6pm. Admission Adult €7 Child €4 Family €18
Tel: +353 71 966 3242  More...
 King House
Boyle Abbey
A 12th century Cistercian monastery in Boyle Town centre
Guided tours every day from 10am to 5pm
Tel: +353 71 9662604  More...
Islands of Lough Key
Castle Island has a 19th century folly and Church Island and Trinity Island have medieval ruins. The islands can be accessed by dinghy only.
Costello Chapel, Carrick-on-Shannon
Built in the 19th century, this chapel is the smallest in Ireland and reputedly the second smallest in the world
Tel: +353 71 962-0170  More...
 Costello Chapel
Cavan and Leitrim Railway, Dromod
Take a trip on the lovingly restored narrow gauge railway, once one of the busiest in Ireland.
+353 7196 38599  More...
 Cavan and Leitrim Railway
Strokestown Park House
Restored 18th century mansion which houses a Famine Museum and also 4 acres of beautiful gardens. Closest mooring is Carrick-on-Shannon
Tel: +353 71 9633013  More...
 Strokestown House
Lough Ree
There are many historical sites on the shoreland around Lough Ree and the many islands. The islands of particular interest are Hare Island, Inchmore, where you can see the remains of a ring fort, Saint's Island, Inishbofin and Quaker Island.

Lower Shannon


Athlone Castle and Visitor Centre          

Tel +353 (0)90 64 92912    www.athlonecastle.ie

This Norman Castle dominates the town centre and features exhibitions and audio visual presentations on the siege of Athlone, John Count McCormack, River Shannon wildlife and history with folk and military museums. Tearooms, gift shop and Tourist Information Office on location

Athlone Castle

Luan Gallery     

Tel +353 (0)90 644 2154   www.luangallery.ie

Athlone’s municipal art gallery is well worth a visit for the traditional and contemporary pieces of art on display.  The building itself is a work of art with exquisite views.  A real feast for the eyes, and free entry too!

Battle of Aughrim Interpretative Centre              

Tel +353 (0)90 96 73939

Commemorates the Battle of Aughrim of 1691, with story panels and audio visual displays.  About 3 miles from the town centre.

 Battle of Aughrim

Cloughan Castle, 3 miles from Banagher    

Tel +353 (0)57 91 51650

Medieval castle in Lusmagh, just south of Banagher which offers tours to pre-booked groups and also offers B&B


Birr Castle Demesne, 8 miles from Banagher Tel +353 (0)57 91 20336

A magnificent demesne and castle with picturesque gardens, Ireland's historic science centre and the famous Great Telescope.

 Birr Castle

Irish Workhouse Centre

Tel+353(0)9097 59200 www.irishworkhousecentre.ie

Learn what life was like in a typical 19th century Irish workhouse.  There is also a tourist information office on site. 

 Workhouse Centre