Lough Derg Blueway (South) – Killaloe / Ballina
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.
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.
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.