A paddling paradise


See a different side of life and sample slow travel, Shannon-Erne-style, with a laid-back adventure on the water.

Inky water curls and ripples, birds dart swiftly from the bank, reeds gently sway and rustle. Up ahead, the canal stretches out, glass-like, with reflections so perfect you can almost touch them. This is the Shannon-Erne Blueway, and visiting this serene waterway gives a profound sense of escape – a feeling of being softly enveloped in nature.

With a series of water trails totaling 70km, the Shannon-Erne Blueway is the very definition of an outstanding canoeing adventure as it brings you along pristine waters and abundant lakes – the beating hearts of the waterway. Paddling here, you'll be treated to breathtaking views as you pass pretty riverbanks, mysterious islands and curious swans whose necks curl in your direction.

Gently guiding the way:

A perfect way to experience these waters is with a guide, who can bring you out for short hops or even a whole day's exploration. Travel the Blueway in the company of a local and you can unlock secrets that hide around every bend, from rolling mountains steeped in myth to beautiful old ruins.

Stephen Wrynn of Way To Go Adventures is one such local guide who can unveil aspects of this landscape you might not otherwise see. Running tours and excursions in a Canadian canoe, Stephen will be by your side as you travel through this stunning watery landscape.

Thrills and spills:

While the Shannon-Erne Blueway feels gloriously tranquil and serene most times, that's not to say it doesn't have an adrenaline-filled wild side. Thrills and spills come thick and fast along the Ballyconnell White Water Trail, which is perfect for testing the skills of proficient paddlers. Beginning at Lock 2 in Ballyconnell, this section of the Blueway suits experienced adventurists who are happy to tackle the rapids, standing waves, eddies and rock piles along the course.

Enjoy the adrenaline rush with the Leitrim Surf Company, which specialises in SUP and surf, with guided stand-up paddle-boarding along sections of the Blueway.

So, have we tempted you yet? Then take to the water for an experience you'll never forget…

For beginners:

​The Blueways are perfect for beginners, and if you're after an afternoon or morning's paddling, then the quiet waters and grade 1 trails will fit the bill. Try one of the local companies such as Adventure Gently,Way To Go, and Cavan Canoeing – they'll all guide you through these waters, safely and enjoyably.

For experienced:

​There are 70km of paddling trails, presented in three sections, each of which is broken up into five individual sections of trail, stretching from between 5 and 10km. Downloadable maps are available here so you can take to the water on your own steam.

For adventurists:

The Grade 2 White Water Course at Ballyconnell is an exhilarating section of water that is suitable only for experienced paddlers. Access is at the canoe steps just above the lock; paddle along the canal, get out at the step upstream of the weir and back in below the weir.

Safety first:

​We always advise people to practise safety on the water, so if you're venturing out on your own, be sure to tell others when you intend to return from your outing.


Adventure on the water​​
​​Download your free 'Life Aquatic on the Shannon-Erne Blueway' guide here.
A paddling paradise