Athlone Viking Boat Tours
Ever ride on an animal-headed viking ship?
It’s one of those things most tourists miss. I don’t mean the vikings – their blonde hair and nordic features blended into the indiginous Irish population centuries ago – I mean spending some time on the river Shannon.
If you’re spending any time at all in Athlone during the warmer months and do not otherwise have access to a boat (or maybe even if you do), you really should spend part of your afternoon on the viking boat.
On a nice day, there’s hardly a better thing than floating on the Shannon watching the green banks of the Irish midlands float by. Pack a lunch or a few drinks and enjoy seeing Ireland in a way that most folks miss.
In fairness, it’s not all that well advertised, but is well worth seeking out. Athlone’s viking boat is owned by a local man (Mick) who provides amusing commentary in his thick Kerry accent during the voyages (no translations available).
The boat runs daily during the summer months. Your ticket, purchased at the local fishing shop/cafe will take you one of two destinations – an exploratory 30/40 minute voyage north onto Lough Ree and the surrounding lakes or 40min south down to the ancient monastic settlement of Clanmacnois. Approaching from the river, the way the monks and vikings arrived, is really the best way to visit Clanmacnois and its famous round towers. When seen from the river, one can really see why Saint Ciaran picked such a place to build his settlement.
Extremely popular with kids and school groups (due in part to the collection of child-size viking hats and plastic viking swords available on board), it’s surprising how many regular tourists miss the viking boat experience.
Call Mick on (090) 64 73383 or (086) 262 1136 to book a ticket or just inquire below the east footprint of Athlone’s town bridge at the fishing shop/cafe where the boat is usually moored.
Don’t forget to learn about how to book the best Ireland tours, too!