Lough Derg Blueway (South) – Killaloe / Ballina

Killaloe / Ballina image

Day 1

Killaloe / Ballina

Lough Derg is at the centre of everything in the twin towns of Killaloe and Ballina, it bustles with sailing boats and cruisers. My Next Adventure has the perfect crew to take you on a Blueway paddling exploration of the historical town of Killaloe. Your journey will take you under the 13 arched bridge that links the two towns, down the majestic River Shannon and back up the peaceful canal. The experienced guides will let you know the stories of this once upon a time capital of Ireland and point out the kingfishers as you glide along, while also teaching you the skills of kayaking.

The towns have a wide selection of lunch options, galleries, craft shops and an historical trail; how you explore is up to you. Contact Una at Killaloe Heritage Walking Tours for a guided tour. Enjoy a coffee on Flannagan's lakefront garden or take a trip up to Birdhill for lunch at Matt the Tresher Inn or the Old Barracks Coffee Roastery and Coffeebar. Catch the Killaloe River Cruise and enjoy an Irish Coffee on board their wonderful passenger boat.

Just a short walk or cycle on a wide footpath along to the western shore of the lake you’ll find the Blue Flag lake beach at Ballycuggeran. You can go for a swim, rustle up some hot food on the BBQ stands, go for a walk in the forest just across the road or buy an ice cream in the shop and read a good book in the shade of the magnificent trees to the sound of the lapping water.  Or amp up the fun at the West Lake Aqua Park – jump, slide, climb and bounce your way around their inflatable obstacle course on water!  You might instead choose to have a family scream-fest on the adjacent ULAC activity centre’s high ropes course.  You decide but you will need to contact ULAC in advance and they require minimum group size, so bring a family (or two!)

On your way back to Killaloe/Ballina why not call into the Killaloe Hotel and Spa for a snack or a well deserved meal in their restaurant overlooking the marina. Alternatively the Lakeside Hotel and Leisure Centre is there for your aching limbs. There are plenty of great restaurants and venues for evening entertainment in these buzzy twin towns. 

Killaloe/Ballina image

Day 2


The next morning if you want to ease into the day or burn off energy, go for a walk, jog or even swim along the tree lined Ballina bank of the Shannon as it meanders downstream.  There is a linear park, an outdoor astro-turf pitch and an outdoor swimming pool (summer only). 

Call into Flanagans on the Lake, the Tuscany Bistro or Goosers and join the locals for some excellent food. 

The afternoon has options galore; head up Moylussa, starting from Ballycuggeran; it's a challenging 3.5-hour climb to Clare's highest point; time flies by, though, as you will be mesmerised by the views, and there is a reviving dip at the another blue flag beach in Twomilegate to look forward to.