Charming towns and pretty villages

Intro: Kick-back, relax and feel the warmth of the welcomes in the towns and villages around the Shannon-Erne Blueway. They're the very definition of a charming getaway.

Lively, friendly and filled with great places to eat, the towns and villages of the Shannon-Erne Blueway are the very lifeblood of the Blueway. With beautiful locations along or on the water, scenic marinas and pubs that hold fast to their traditional past, these places offer a bustling counterpoint to the serene waters and quiet countryside that surround them. And, of course, they make the ideal base for holidaying at your leisure…

Where you can stay and play:

Leitrim Village sits at one end of the route and is a wonderful place to stay, with its pretty marina and delicious eateries, including The Barge Restaurant and Steakhouse. Drop in during the cooler months and dishes will be served beside the open fire, while in summer the beer garden opens up for relaxed dining alfresco. A great afternoon can be spent hopping on a bike (Electric Bike Trails in the village will rent you one out) and cycling up to the nearby village of Drumshanbo, where pretty tiled shop-fronts sit cheek-by-jowl with cafés, pubs, restaurants and no fewer than three churches! After a well-deserved cake in the Sweet Geranium Café you can go back at your own pace to Leitrim Village.

With a lovely off-road walking trail into the surrounding forest, and vibrant pubs, Ballyconnell finds itself popular with visitors from across the world. Overlooked by the Slieve Rushen mountain – or the Mountain of the Little Wood – it boasts a history that stretches all the way back to around 3500BC, when it was first settled by hunter gatherers. Today, it has acquired something of a reputation for its food, with Pol O'D's restaurant being the go-to spot for discerning diners looking to feast on its fine menu, which includes fillet of venison with sweet potato and port jus, or a superfood salad with roast butternut squash and mixed seeds.

Surrounded by a delightfully pastoral hinterland is the village of Belturbet in Cavan. An attractive village with a lovely old stone post office, friendly local shops and pubs, and a scenic marina, Belturbet is a place of hidden stories and a fascinating history. This includes tales from the Great Railway Age, which are on display at Belturbet Station, and Turbet Island, which boasts an archaeologist's dream find: the first ever remnants of a woolly mammoth to be found in Europe were discovered right here on Turbet Island (they're currently on display in the National Museum in Dublin). Satisfy any rumbling stomachs in the delightful old-stone interior of the Seven Horseshoes Pub, before taking in more of the area with a walking trail along the River Erne, past the remains of an Anglo-Norman motte-and-bailey castle, and up to the Railway Bridge.

If you're looking for the perfect combination of relaxation, rejuvenation and activities fast and slow, stick around a while. Cycle the undulating countryside, embrace lazy lunches or just sit back watch the swaying reeds coloured by the ever-changing sky…

Download your free 'Life Aquatic on the Shannon-Erne Blueway' guide here.
Charming towns and pretty villages