A popular town for stag and hen weekends, Carrick-on-Shannon is the largest town in Leitrim. Located on the River Shannon, where the border of Roscommon and Leitrim meet, Carrick-on-Shannon has plenty to offer visitors to the area, whether you’re travelling alone, with friends and family, or as part of a large group. With over 40 lakes within a 10 km radius of the town, Carrick-on-Shannon is a popular destination for those seeking a holiday on water, but there’s so much more than just water to explore in the area. Here are some activities to consider if you’re visiting Carrick-on-Shannon for 48 hours.
A 48-Hour Guide to Carrick-on-Shannon
Day 1 – Begin by Touring Arigna Mines
Kick start your trip to Carrick-on-Shannon by checking out the Arigna Mining Experience, a unique underground tour of the last working coal mine in Ireland. This tour gives you great insight into life as a coal miner in Ireland, while the exhibition area takes you on a journey of 400 years of Irish coal mining history. The tour also takes you on a voyage through the geology of the area, although the highlight is undoubtedly the underground tour of the mine.
Activities in Carrick-on-Shannon
Once you’ve finished a tour of Arigna, head back into town and try out one of the many activities on offer at Carrick-on-Shannon. From 18 holes at Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club to hopping on four wheels with Carrick Quads, there is an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy in Carrick-on-Shannon. Carrick-on-Shannon is also home to a popular tennis club and rowing club, while River Mania outdoor centre is great for those of you visiting the area with kids.
Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon lies less than 20 minutes from Carrick-on-Shannon and is another place to consider visiting if you’re looking for some outdoor activities to enjoy. With walking and cycling trails to explore, along with a kids’ adventure playground, the fantastic Boda Borg and unique tree canopy walk, Lough Key is the perfect place to spend a few hours with the family.
Touring Leitrims Lakes
With a day of activities behind you, the best way to relax in the afternoon while visiting Carrick-on-Shannon is to hop onboard a boat, with boat tours of the Shannon and surrounding lakes available across the year. Some of the more popular boat tours include the Moon River Cruise and Carrickcraft, while Leitrim Surf Company and Lough Allen Watersports provide a range of water-based activities including kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and stand-up surfing.
Call it a Night
Whether on land or water, Carrick-on-Shannon has activities aplenty, and after a day of exploration, take the time to relax and enjoy the town’s famous nightlife. The many pubs and clubs in Carrick-on-Shannon have made it a popular destination for many stag and hen parties, but don’t worry about bumping into noisy groups (unless that’s what you’re after), as Carrick-on-Shannon has an abundance of pubs to suit all needs. One bar to be sure to check out is Gings Bar, one of our recommended top Irish bars with beer gardens, located on the banks of the River Shannon. Gene Anderson’s Thatch Pub is another must see when visiting Carrick-on-Shannon.
Day 2 – Discover the Beauty of Leitrim
On your second day in Carrick-on-Shannon, take the time to explore some of the beauty of County Leitrim, as well as enjoying more of what Carrick-on-Shannon has to offer. Before setting off to explore Leitrim, begin your day by visiting the Leitrim Design House and take in some of the wonderful works of art on display. From here make your way to Bridge Street and Leitrim Crystal, where you can admire the design skills of Ken and Sandra Cunningham. The Gasworks at O’Dowd’s and the Market Yard Centre, home to the weekly Farmers Market (every Thursday from 10.00 AM) are also worth checking out.
Lough Gill and Glencar Waterfall
After your spell of shopping in Carrick-on-Shannon, head out of town and north towards the Sligo border and Lough Gill. Enjoy a walk or drive around this scenic area (most of which sits in Sligo), taking the time to visit Parkes Castle, a restored 17th-Century plantation castle. From here make your way towards Glencar Park and one of Leitrim’s most iconic tourist attractions, the stunning Glencar Waterfall.
As you leave Glencar make your way towards Kiltyclogher on the Northern Ireland border and the Kiltyclogher Heritage Centre, where you can join a tour of the home of the 1916 Easter Rising Leader, Seán MacDiarmada. Continue north towards the Kinlough Folk Museum before heading south again towards Carrick-on-Shannon.
Hill-Walking in Sliabh an Iarainn
Leitrim is a great place to enjoy an outdoors holiday and the Sliabh an Iarainn mountain range has a number of looped walks to be enjoyed. With great panoramic views over the impressive Lough Allen, and indeed over the west and midlands of Ireland, a trip to Sliabh an Iarainn needs to be high on your list of things to do when visiting Leitrim. Be sure to visit the Sliabh an Iarainn visitor centre where you can discover the history of this area, with a particular emphasis on the railway, canal, lakes, iron and coal mining.
Sliabh an Iarainn is about 25 minutes from Carrick-on-Shannon and worth stopping by on your way south from Glencar and Kinlough. From here, make your way back to Carrick-on-Shannon for another night of the famous Leitrim hospitality.
Have you Recommendations for Things to Do in Leitrim?
Share your favourite things to see and do in Carrick-on-Shannon and County Leitrim by commenting below. Plan your next trip to Carrick-on-Shannon by checking out these Carrick-on-Shannon hotel deals.
Main images via Fáilte Ireland