Carrick-on-Shannon is the largest town in County Leitrim and is located on the River Shannon, where the border of counties Roscommon and Leitrim meet. One of Ireland’s most popular inland resorts, with 750km of cruising to enjoy, the town is perfectly nestled as the gateway to the Shannon to the South and the Shannon-Erne waterway to the north.
Whether you want to rent a cruiser in Carrick-on-Shannon, go for a spot of fishing in one of the 41 lakes within a 10km radius of the town, savour the unspoilt scenery, wine and dine to your heart’s content, or partake in some adrenaline-pumping activities, there’s a diverse range of things to do in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Whatever you’re looking for, Carrick-on-Shannon has something for everyone. Check out our local guide to the best indoor and outdoor things to do and see in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Things to Do in Carrick-on-Shannon in the Morning
Explore the town on foot
Relatively compact, the town is ideal for navigating on foot. Take a stroll around the charming streets and admire the colourful shop fronts and vibrant flowers that decorate the doors and windows.
You’ll stumble across many unique and quirky shopping options like the Leitrim Design House located inside The Dock where you can pick up some beautiful Irish craft. The Dock is County Leitrim’s centre for the arts and is also worth a visit for its regular art exhibitions, performances and workshops.
Step through the doors of Lena’s Tea Room and step back in time to the 1920s. This vintage tea room is adorned with antique furniture and upcycled vintage tea sets. A comfortable and cosy setting to try some freshly baked treats and seasonal dishes made with the freshest local ingredients.
Take in a spot of history
Be sure to check out the Costello Memorial Chapel. It may be one of the smallest chapels in the world, but this is one of the biggest draws to Carrick-on-Shannon.
Edward Costello started building the chapel when his wife Mary Josephine died in 1877 at the age of 46. The Chapel was built to mark his devotion to her and to be the final resting place for them both. Their coffins are in a sunken space to the right of the entrance and when you visit you can read the inscriptions on both coffins.
Head on a cruise from Carrick-on-Shannon
Cruising and Carrick-on-Shannon go hand in hand, so make your way to the marina for some cruising with Carrickcraft. A riverboat cruise is a tranquil way to discover the rural beauty of this region as well as its many historical sites.
Take a trip on one of 15 different types of boats from Carrickraft’s fleet along the 63km long Shannon-Erne Waterway. Europe’s longest non-commercial inland navigable waterway, it links the River Shannon to the River Erne and Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.
Keep cruising up the River Shannon and you can dock at pretty villages and towns such as Glasson and Drumshanbo (where you can pick up a bottle of locally distilled Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin) and head off on a hike or a cycle. Take to the water on water skis or wakeboards, go for a swim or catch your supper with a spot of coarse fishing.
Alternatively, you could relax onboard with a good book, or laze on the grass enjoying a picnic in the sun. If you forget to pack some reading material, don’t stress! The wonderful staff at The Reading Room in Carrick-on-Shannon will be delighted to help you choose the perfect book to lose yourself in.
Things to Do in Carrick-on-Shannon in the Afternoon
Explore Carrick-on-Shannon on an electric bike
If you want to explore more, rent an electric bike from Electric Bike Trails and go twice the distance with half the effort. A self-guided bike tour is a marvellous way to see the stunning surrounding areas of Carrick-on-Shannon. You can rent a bike for a one-day tour or go further afield and enjoy a three-day tour of the area and its lakes.
Electric bikes are ideal if you want to tow a child in a trailer behind as it reduces the effort needed and makes the journey much more pleasant.
Activities for all ages
Getting the kids out on the water is not only a great family fun option but also a strategic way to ensure they’ll have no problem falling asleep later on! Head to Rivermania Adventures and burn up some energy with a water sports session. Take to the water in a kayak or canoe, or get the adrenaline going with a banana boat ride. Rivermania Adventures is a safe way to experience Carrick-on-Shannon’s water features and a fun way to learn about water safety too.
Indulge your Formula One fantasies and take to the track at Carrick Indoor Karting. See if you can beat your fellow racers around the 750-metre track to clinch pole position and get your name on the top of the leaderboard.
Tullyboy Farm is a family-run working farm just a 15-minute drive away from Carrick-on-Shannon. The farm is set around a beautiful Georgian farmhouse and buildings, and there are marvellous views across the lakes. On Tullyboy Farm you can get up close to the animals and even feed, pet and cuddle them. There are also miniature tractor barrel rides, straw dives for goodies, pony rides and a playground. Plenty to do for all the family!
Follow up on an early afternoon of fun-filled activity with tea in the Landmark Hotel. The relaxing conservatory setting of Aroma’s Café offers romantic views over the River Shannon. Take your time over the tiers of scrumptious sandwiches, pretty patisserie and decadent desserts and make your afternoon tea even more special by sipping a glass of bubbly or two!
Things to Do in Carrick-on-Shannon in the Evening
Start your evening in style with dinner at The Oarsman on Bridge Street, an award-winning gastropub featured in the Michelin guide. For a leisurely meal head to the upstairs restaurant for some crab, quail, lamb, beef, or a vegetarian dish. For something a bit more casual, but equally as tasty, get cosy in the bar. We’re particularly partial to the seafood chowder and the Artisan Irish cheese plate!
Another excellent option for foodies or, indeed, anyone who’s just worked up an enormous appetite from an activity-packed morning is St. George’s Terrace Restaurant. Set in an elegant Victorian red brick building with gorgeous views of the River Shannon, this gem features intimate dining rooms, a stylish bar area and even a dedicated cookery school. Exceptional food and the very best in good old Irish hospitality awaits.
If you’re partial to something with more of a Mediterranean vibe, we highly recommend checking out Vittos Restaurant and Wine Bar. Located in the heart of Carrick-on-Shannon in a wood-beamed stone building, this family-friendly restaurant offers the finest in casual Italian and European cuisine in super-relaxed surroundings. From mouth-watering pizzas and pastas to succulent chargrilled burgers and steaks, Vittos offers an extensive menu to suit all tastes.
Carrick-on-Shannon pubs and bars
Once you’re suitably stuffed, pack your dancing shoes and best moves and head on down to Dunnes Bar or Murtagh’s Bar. Expect a lively atmosphere, drink promotions and dance floor-filling DJ sets. Equally fitting the bill is Ging’s Bar. Established in 1880 on the banks of the River Shannon, this hugely popular watering hole offers a spacious and traditional upstairs bar, six large screens to catch the big game and a beautifully kept beer garden to enjoy as the sun splits the stones. Fancy something slightly more intimate? The Bush Hotel has a charming little bar worth checking out.
Longing for an authentic Irish experience? Attending a traditional Irish music session is a must for any visitor to Carrick-on-Shannon. Get ready to dance a jig, clap your hands and nod your head to the upbeat tempos at Cryans Bar. Your seisún fix (pronounced: seh-shoon) will be well and truly covered with their live music four nights a week – Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – all year round.
Just 5km from Carrick-on-Shannon, a warm Irish welcome awaits you at Andersons Thatched Pub, which has been serving drinks since 1734. The old-style bar, with its thatched roof, is the perfect place to experience some traditional Irish music and dancing. Pull up a seat around the musicians, singers and dancers, and you’re in for a very memorable night filled with songs, stories and stout. The liveliest nights are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, but no matter what day you pay a visit, you’re guaranteed to be won over by this pub’s charms.
Plan your next trip to Carrick-on-Shannon
As you can see, there is plenty to do in Carrick-on-Shannon and many reasons to come again. Start planning your next trip to Carrick-on-Shannon today and check out our guide to Carrick-on-Shannon boat rental holidays!
Melanie May spent five years backpacking solo around the world and turned her wanderlust into a career when she became a freelance writer and photographer. She won the ‘Best Newcomer’ award at the Travel Extra Travel Journalist of the Year Awards 2018 and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. She runs her own blog, Travel Eat Write Repeat (www.melaniemay.com) and you can follow her travels over on Instagram @_maymelanie
Carrick on Shannon, “Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, Ireland” by
Niall Flynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Afternoon Tea image, ” Afternoon tea ” by Robin Zebrowski is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Bridge image, ” Carrick on Shannon ” by ABrio is licensed under CC BY 2.0