Listen to the river flow as you stroll through sun speckled woodlands and enjoy views of the lush green countryside. Here are five amazing walking routes by the River Shannon in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
The 40km Old Rail Trail links Athlone and Mullingar along a disused section of the Midlands Great Western Railway line under arched bridges and through idyllic countryside. The trail is flat throughout as it weaves its way from Athlone through the quiet village of Moate, past Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park to Mullingar. Whether you’re looking for a short stroll or a big day out, the Old Rail Trail is an amazing choice.
Get your walk off to the perfect start with breakfast in one of Athlone’s amazing restaurants or cafés. This riverside town has a reputation as a foodie hotspot so there are plenty of places to choose from including Beans and Leaves and Craft Bistro.
Enjoy a leisurely morning in the market town of Nenagh in Tipperary. Check out the 12th century Nenagh Castle and stock up on some tasty snacks from one of the local cafés, before setting off on the Slí Eala route just north of the town. The 10km walk meanders along the edge of the Nenagh River and leads you through lakeside country abuzz with singing birds, majestic swans and river wildlife to the village of Dromineer.
Watch the Shannon flow into Lough Derg and see boats sail by as you reach the end of Slí Eala. Reward yourself with a delicious meal in a local pub and bask in the relaxing calm of Lough Derg.
Portumna Forest Park on the water’s edge is a beautiful place for a walk at any time of year. Explore the stunning woodland, watch as fallow deer dance around spruce trees and listen to the rippling River Shannon as it flows into Lough Derg.
Bring your furry friend and choose from the 10km dog-friendly Bonaveen and Rinmaher trails, or the shorter Forest Friendly and Woodland walks. Treat yourself to some artisan produce at CaToCa in the grounds of Portumna Castle, or a delicious dinner at Modena Restaurant back in Portumna.
Extend your stay in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and take off on a multi-day walk along the 90km Hymany Way or tackle the challenging 83km Ormond Way, both starting just outside Portumna.
Set off on an epic walk through east Clare or start in Killaloe and walk a section of the East Clare Way. This enormous 180km long trail has some challenging steep pitches, but otherwise the trail is very manageable.
Hike through quiet country lanes, ramble through boglands and discover magical forest trails. See historic churches once frequented by High Kings of Ireland, look up to catch colourful birds flying past overhead and once back in Killaloe, visit Bless Café for a well-deserved break.
If you still have energy left, book a kayak tour with UL Sport Adventure Centre and discover another side of Killaloe.
Linking Dublin with Shannon Harbour in Offaly, the Grand Canal Way passes through Tullamore, Edenderry and Sallins. Spend a great day out walking the Grand Canal from Shannon Harbour on the edge of the River Shannon deep into the countryside to see the best of The Faithful County. Admire panoramic views of striking boglands and unwind in the tranquillity of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
These five wonderful walks by the River Shannon are truly spectacular for a quick stroll or walking break. Head over to our Walking and Hiking page to get more inspiration for your next weekend walk or hiking holiday. Help keep these trails in great condition and follow the Leave No Trace principles so that others can enjoy their visit too.
Subscribe now to receive destination inspiration, travel tips, upcoming events and all the best things to do around Ireland!