I had a wonderful day today in lovely Leitrim. The Shannon Blueway Adventure Festival was running this weekend and today there was a chance to discover the Blueway by bike, stand up paddle or canoe.
The Blueway is a fantastic idea. It’s the first of its kind in Ireland gives people the chance to explore the area using a series of on-water and land based trails along the Lough Allen Canal and River Shannon from Drumshanbo to Leitrim Village.
I made my way to Leitrim Village and was welcomed by Zoe from Leitrim Surf and introduced to Damien McWeeney from Waterways Ireland. I’d previously been out stand up paddling with Zoe and Lee from Leitrim Surf and absolutely loved it. Today a group of us were going exploring along the Blueway.
I was trying canoeing with Adrienne and Graham from Adventure Gently. The canoes they use are Canadian Canoes and they are so comfortable to sit in! As the weather was quite windy two canoes went side by side and I was teamed up with the Martin family. Aengus is very knowledgeable about the area and it was great to hear some of the history of Leitrim village from him. I was a bit mortified that Aengus and Julie’s seven year old son was a better paddler than I was! I also thought at one point I’d spotted a Leitrim ‘ness’ monster but it was only part of a tree.
It was a lovely relaxing day and when the sun shone it was heavenly. We saw lambs and horses in the fields along the blueway. We also saw people out walking and cycling and Julie was telling me she’d seen a kingfisher the day before.
We did get stuck in three hailstone showers though but sure living in Ireland you do expect four seasons in a day! I’d love to explore more of Leitrim and the Blueway it really is a beautiful area. I was delighted I’d thought to bring a change of clothes with me – my top have was bone dry but the rest of me was drenched. It all adds to the fun!
After our canoeing I went to Beirne’s of Battlebridge for lunch – it was very nice and is part of the Taste Leitrim trail. They also have a campsite including glamping, so it would be the perfect base for exploring the Shannon Blueway.
Keep a look out for the Shannon Blueway Adventure Festival next year but don’t wait until then to check out the area. I can highly recommend both Adventure Gently and Leitrim Surf and I’m hoping to get back out with them both again during the summer.