Locally known as “Carrick”…
The northern part of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is shaped by the town of Carrick-on-Shannon and it is also the fastest growing inland place. Located only a 2-hour drive from either Dublin or Belfast it makes a great spot for a quick getaway. Situated on both counties, Roscommon and Leitrim – divided by the Shannon river – it is also the country town of Leitrim. Compared to other Irish county towns, though, it’s the smallest. As mentioned before, Carrick is a quickly growing place and a lot of new businesses have settled down here. You will get a feel of that when you visit. On your list of places to see you should definitely set The Dock. Overlooking the river Shannon and Carrick’s town, the art house is located in the former courthouse. Supporting artists and musicians it hosts many events and acts as art venues. In the Dock you also find Leitrim Design House, a beautiful art gallery where I’m sure you will find wonderful souvenirs from local artists. With the money raised they support designers and artists with their work. Such a great concept! But also the surrounding area of Carrick has loads to offer… Find out about it below.
Boyle | Lough Key | Glencar Waterfalls | Shannon Blueway
Only a 10-minute drive from Carrick-on-Shannon, you will find the picturesque town of Boyle in Co. Roscommon. Visit King House, the stunning restored Georgian mansion, that played an important role in Irish history. Saved from demolition only a couple of decades ago it is now iconic to Boyle and adds to the charm of this town. you can wander through period rooms and delve into the place’s history. In the courtyard of the mansion you can also find a lovely traditional craft shop that offers arts from local designers. Each Saturday from 10am to 2pm you can enjoy the taste of Boyle and visit the award-winning Farmer’s Market, also taking place in the courtyard. You will find only locally sourced products sold by the actual producers. A relaxed place for a little break are of course the Tea Rooms on the grounds. Treat yourself to a delicious sandwich or soups or simply watch the world go by with a comforting cup of tea. After that you could always spin up to see Boyle Abbey, dating back to the 12th century. The old Cistercian monastery is one of the best preserved and oldest ones in Ireland. Another one for your appetite is Drumanilra Farm Kitchen: A fantastic authentic family-run farm shop, burger bar and cafe that produces organic vegetables and meat just outside Boyle. Not to missed!
To add a bit of action to your trip, head up north-west to Lough Key and its Forest and Activity Park. There you can wander along the stunning tree-canopy walk or paddle across to Castle Island, where you can find the McDermitt family’s residence who used to rule the area until the late 17th century. Under the Cromwell, the area was then granted to the King family (who also built the above mentioned King House). Once you’re in the park, I can highly recommend the Zipit Forest Adventure. Zip-line your way across the forest and swing yourself from tree to tree. Definitely something for adrenaline junkies and you should really not be afraid of heights, so, ideal for children! Another fun thing to spice up a simple walk through the woodlands, is orienteering. Use maps to select a route, navigate through the forest and see who makes it first. For a little break and refreshments, visit the Lakeside Cafe set within the park. With stunning views across Lough Key and Castle Island you can enjoy great food and really nice coffee
floating boardwalk Acres Lake
The birth place of the Blueways actually is the Shannon river. The Shannon Blueways can be explored by bike or foot or you simply kayak your way along the beautiful waters surrounded by the stunning scenery. Pick whatever stretch you like, the route is as such: Drumshanbo > Carrick-on-Shannon > Roosky > Lanesborough. So, if you are interested in Boyle you could even make the journey itself a highlight