10 BEST river cruises in Ireland, RANKED

What better way to explore the beautiful Emerald Isle than from its inland waterways that partition the country’s land? Here are the 10 best river cruises in Ireland, ranked.

The 10 best river cruises in Ireland, RANKED

Ireland’s longest river is the River Shannon, which begins in County Cavan and flows through seventeen counties in total, before finally pouring into the deep Atlantic Ocean. Apart from the Shannon, Ireland has many more rivers, which are not only beautiful to the eye, but they hold a lot of mystical presence.

Many of Irelands tales and myths revolve around its waters, as the pagans considered them sacred and used them for bare necessities, such as a food source and a way to transport goods around the island.

Many say that they feel the enchantment of our country when close to our waters, and that is why we are big fans of exploring Ireland from the rivers.; it’s a whole other experience! We are here to list the 10 best river cruises in Ireland, so you, too, can experience the magical mystery of the Emerald Isle.

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for going on the best river cruises in Ireland

  • Try and time it as such that you are heading on your river cruise in Ireland around Spring/Summer time. Not only is the scenery better, but it’s your best chance of nice better.
  • Research the river and route and choose which interests you most. Is it scenery you are after, or a historical tour? Our list caters for all.
  • Speak with locals if they are joining you on the tour! They may be able to give you added insight into the river and area.
  • Once you have researched the weather, pack accordingly. Prepare for the rain if necessary, or shorts and suncream if the sun is out.
  • Lastly, relax and unwind. Sit back, take in what’s being said, enjoy the tranquillity of the waters and bask in the greenery or city that surrounds you.

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10. Viking Tours Ireland – ideal for history buffs

The River Shannon at Athlone Town, where the Viking Tour takes place;
Credit: geograph.ie

Ideal for families and history buffs, this Viking-themed cruise sets off from Athlone, and gives children the opportunity to dress up as Vikings for the day, whilst sailing in a Viking replica boat.

Adults can be intrigued by the history of the Vikings, as well as visiting the monastic settlement and round tower of Clonmacnoise. A great day out for all ages.

Related: Delve deep into Viking history in Ireland, with our articles on 10 facts about the Vikings in Ireland you probably didn’t know and 5 places that were raided by Vikings in Ireland

9. Royal Canal Day Cruise – discovering Dublin by water

Royal Canal Day Cruise – discovering Dublin by water.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

An amazing way to discover the country’s capital is by both a walking tour and canal cruise combined, and this very tour does just that, meaning it is undoubtedly one of the best river cruises in Ireland.

Explore the inner city by foot before boarding your river cruise from the 12th lock of the canal to the ‘Deeping Sink’ and back. You’ll have plenty of entertainment, drinks, nibbles and unique views of this region of Dublin.

8. Killaloe River Cruises  – discover the iconic River Shannon

Killaloe River Cruises  - discover the iconic River Shannon

This cruise will allow you to discover the iconic River Shannon as well as the vast waters of Lough Derg. You will explore the insatiable views of County Clare and County Tipperary, as you sail onboard one of their modern riverboats.

7. Dublin Discovered Boat Tours – cruise along the River Liffey

The Dublin Discovered Boat Tours is one of the best river cruises in Ireland.

This River Liffey cruise is an ideal way to see Dublin from a different perspective. Begin at Bachelors Walk, and continue on to see The Custom House, Ha’Penny Bridge and 3 Arena, among other city sights, while taking in the impressive history of the city.

6. Moon River Cruises – a cruise full of entertainment

Carrick on Shannon, where the cruise begins.

This cruise starts in Carrick on Shannon and has a quirky side to it. Featuring a luxury saloon with a small dance floor and onboard entertainment, this cruise provides a great atmosphere, while allowing you to soak up the scenery, as you sail along the shores of the Shannon.

5. Suir River Cruise – discovering Ireland’s Ancient East

Suir River Cruise – discovering Ireland’s Ancient East
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

This cruise begins in Waterford city and is an ideal way to discover Ireland’s Ancient East. You’ll learn about the city’s triumphs, tragedies, myths and legends while travelling along what was once known as one of Ireland’s natural highways.

Across the rest of Europe, there are also some incredible river cruises in Germany that go through the likes of the Rhine and Danube.

4. Kinsale River Cruise – one of the best river cruises in Ireland

The Kinsale River cruise is one of the best river cruises in Ireland.
Kinsale Port.

Beginning in Kinsale Harbour in Co. Cork, one of the most beautiful towns in the region, this cruise takes you past many historical places and you may spot some wild sea life if you’re lucky.

Read: If you are staying in Kinsale, spruce it up with our selection of the 10 best things to do in Kinsale

3. Silverline River Cruises – a family-run excursion

The River Shannon. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

This cruise, along the Shannon, is owned by the longest-established and family-run company. Silverline offers a modern and luxurious cruise, through the rolling green countryside and historic gems that surround the Shannon, whilst making sure you are being well taken care of onboard.

2. Corrib Princess Cruise – the very best of Galway

The Corrib Princess Cruise in Galway is the second best river cruise in Ireland.
Credit: geograph.ie

This delightful cruise takes you from the heart of Galway City, down the River Corrib and into Lake Corrib which Is Ireland’s largest lake. You will be surrounded by beautiful views, and historical monuments while being in the hands of great Irish hospitality.

1. Shannon Princess Cruise – an intimate cruise journey through Ireland

Shannon Princess Cruise – an intimate cruise journey through Ireland.

This ultra-luxurious cruise hosts just 10 passengers, making it very tranquil and intimate. Not only does this cruise take you past beautiful and lush countryside, but there is also a wealth of activities to choose from, which will give you a great experience at each stop-off. This of the most popular in the country!

Read more: Check out Ireland Before You Die’s article on the top 10 things to experience along Ireland’s River Shannon

So, whether it’s a romantic cruise, a family cruise, a quick cruise or a few days onboard you’re looking for, there are options for everyone in Ireland. The duration ranges from 45 minutes to multiple days, so the choice is yours.

However, one thing is for sure; seeing Ireland from the waterways will be an unforgettable experience, no matter which part of the country you are in. Make sure to take part in any of the best river cruises in Ireland.

Your questions answered about the best river cruises in Ireland

Below, we have outlined some of the most frequently asked questions about the best river cruises in Ireland, both to us and online.

Where is the best place to cruise in Ireland?

Ireland’s cruise ports include Belfast, Dublin, Donegal, Galway and the Aran Islands, providing you with an excellent base to see the Emerald Isle.

Do they have river cruises in Ireland?

Yes! There are plenty of great river cruises in Ireland. Take any one of the top ten above for a fantastic experience.

Is cruising a good way to see Ireland?

Yes, most definitely. It is a relaxing and tranquil way to see and learn about Ireland, and you may get a pint of Guinness offered to you onboard.

How do I get the best deal on a river cruise?

The best way to get deals for river cruises would be to book early, either go yourself or book with a group, and get help from a travel agent.

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