Thursday, 2 August 2012 12:42 PM
If you're thinking of booking an active holiday where you can try out a range of water sports, Ireland is one location you should consider. Travelling by boat is an ideal way of exploring the Emerald Isle, as you'll be close to the water at all times and can make the most of the opportunities for fishing, canoeing and much more.
Follow the Shannon and the Erne waterways through the nation and you'll be able to take in beautiful natural scenery while getting active. From swimming and fishing to waterskiing, there are all manner of pastimes to try out. Read on to find out which locations along the rivers are worth visiting.
A must-visit during your boating holiday in Ireland is Mountshannon, a village in County Clare home to a popular recreation centre. The Shannonside Activity Centre offers the opportunity to have a go at various water-based pastimes, including sailing, windsurfing and canoeing.
The spot also has a harbour, and close by is a shallow water swimming area ideal for visiting with children. Make the most of a sunny day by letting little ones have a splash about here and pack a picnic to enjoy afterwards on the riverside. During the summer, the swimming area is manned by lifeguards, so there's no need to be overly worried about the safety of your youngsters.
Fishing aficionados should make for Roosky, which is renowned for its angling centre. Lakeland Fishery is a tranquil and picturesque place where you can cast a line for bream, tench and carp, among other species of fish.
Not far from Roosky is Shannon-River Adventure, a recreation centre close to Bofin Lake where you can try your hand at kayaking and raft-building.
If you enjoy sea fishing, make Belleek a port of call on your boat holiday. The small village is just four miles from the Atlantic Ocean, where you can haul in the catch of the day if you're lucky.
The Atlantic coastline is also a great spot for activities like surfing and waterskiing, as well as diving. There are numerous sub-aqua schools you could choose to visit that will take you on an undersea adventure. You can also have a go at cave diving or night diving if you have some previous experience.
Carrick on Shannon
Known for its beautiful lakes, called loughs in Ireland, Carrick on Shannon is a great destination for water sports fans. Call in at Lough Allen Watersports to explore the body of water in a sailing boat, canoe or kayak, or make your way to North West Adventure where you can have a go at all these activities in addition to a thrilling ride down Boyle River on a white water raft.
Renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, Lanesborough Town is particularly popular among coarse anglers, who can have a go at catching roach, pike, eels and perch. Alternatively, you could head to the nearby long-established fishing centre of Shannonbridge and see what you reel in.
The town of Ennisskillen in County Fermanagh is home to the Lakeland Forum in Broadmeadow, where you can go swimming or take part in a range of sports. Around ten miles north of the settlement is Ultimate Water Sports, a waterskiing school worth visiting if you want to have a go at the pastime.
Additionally, you can climb aboard a wakeboard or hire some kneeboards here and take a lesson. Children as young as four can be taught how to use the equipment, so you might want to make it a real family excursion for an afternoon.
If you're after something really fun the whole family can enjoy that involves no tuition, hire an inflatable banana boat or rubber ring and a few of you can enjoy clinging on as you're pulled around the water and treated to wonderful views of nearby White Island.
Swimming fans should head to Drumshambo, which is home to a lovely heated outdoor swimming pool at Acres Lake. Alternatively, if you want to take a dip while enjoying a riverside setting, make your way to the market town of Banagher, where you can call in at the riverside park and take advantage of the open-air pool here.