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Things to do & visit in Killaloe/Ballina

Things to do in Clare & visit in Killaloe / Ballina

Take a cruise on “The Spirit of Killaloe”…. (seasonal)
On board there is a choice of two decks, the upper deck is ideally suited for taking the sun and enjoying the spectacular scenery.  The lower deck has spacious seating for up to 50 people, full bar facilities, tea, coffee and snacks refreshments on board, making it one of the best Clare events.  When on board a detailed commentary will be provided on all interesting sites as you cruise by for further information view 

Brian Boru Heritage Centre & Tourist Information Office

What better way to get an insight in to the celtic and nautical significance of Lough Derg and the River Shannon, than by visiting the Brian Boru Heritage Centre.  The Centre incorporates a tourist information office, a crafts centre, a community library and an exhibition tracing the history of Killaloe and Ballina from the 10th Century to the present day, including its strong nautical links with Lough Derg.  The largest lake on the River Shannon.  A large part of the story of the last High King of Ireland, Brian Boru (940-1014), who was born in Killaloe.  The Heritage centre is located on the bridge, on what was once the site of the lock keepers residence.  Its tourist office offers an information service on booking accommodations, places to eat, routes to take, maps, guides and books, places to visit, things to do and information on national and local events.  Open May – September.                                              

St. Flannans Cathedral

The early monastery on this site at the southern end of Lough Derg was founded by St. Fachnan, and he was followed as Abbot by St. Flannan who died around 639.  The Cathedral was founded about 1185 by Donal Mor O’Brien.  The Cathedral incorporates some of the finest examples of Hiberno-Romanesque architecture.

St. Flannans Oratory

In the grounds of the Cathedral is St. Flannans Oratory, a 12th Century Romanesque church.

St Moluas Church

In the grounds of St Flannans Catholic Church, further up the hill, is St. Moluas oratory.  It originally stood on Friars Island in the Shannon, but was removed stone by stone, and re-erected there when the island was flooded and submerged in the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme in 1929.


An ancient church and the family burial ground of the O’Hickey Clan – physicians to some of the great clans of Ireland like the O’Brien’s of Thomond and the O’Kennedys of Ormond.

Aillebaun Walkway

Picturesque walkway between the houses of Main Street and Canal Bank.

Canal Bank

The Canal was opened in 1799 to bypass the rapids on the river.  It was a vital link in the navigation route between Limerick and other ports on the Shannon.  The canal became redundant in 1929 when the water level was raised over the rapids due to the opening of the hydroelectric station down river

13 Arch Bridge connecting Killaloe, Co. Clare and Ballina, Co. Tipperary

Originally a 17 arch bridge, built over 300 years ago, this historic, but now 13 arch bridge still retains 5 small arches from the original.  As well as connecting the two villages, the bridge also connects the two counties of Clare and Tipperary.  In the centre of the bridge is a plaque commemorating four young men that were shot here by the Auxiliaries in November 1920.

Old Railway Line Path

The path that can be seen along the river bank marks the route of the permanent way of the railway that serviced Killaloe and Ballina from 1862 until 1944.  Visible also is an old pedestrian bridge that used to go over the tracks.  From there it is clear to see the arch that the train used to pass underneath the road bridge.  The railway tracks were removed in the 1950’s the station and goods shed have been converted for private use.

Tobermurragh (Murroughs Well)

Ancient lore tells us that it was here the son of Brian Boru was christened.  The well is remarkable for the abundant supply of crystal water it provides – even in the driest of summers.

Beal Boru (Brian Borus Fort)

A great earthen fort of the end of a spur, giving a commanding vantage at the point where the Lough narrows to form the River Shannon once more.

The Old Mill

Across the River Shannon you can see an historic building that was once a marble mill(1837) and then Major Lefroy’s  flour mill (1860).  The building is now owned by the ESB.

Graves of the Leinster Men

To the East of Ballina lie the Arra Mountains whose highest peak Tountinna (Hill above the Wave) is 465m.  It is from these mountains, which skirt the shores of Lough Derg between Ballina and Portroe, that the true majesty of the Shannon’s greatest Lake can be appreciated.  The mountains contain one of the most celebrated sites of ancient Ireland – The Graves of the Leinstermen.  The pre-historic bronze age chamber tomb dates from about 1000BC and is believed to have been one of the first inhabited places in Ireland.   Tradition tells us that the Kings of Leinster and his men were ambushed here on the orders of Brian Borus wife Gormliath, because she feared the Leinster King was to marry her daughter.  As the King lay dying he asked to be brought to a spot from where he could see his cherished Kingdom of Leinster.

Farmers Market

On the land bank between the River and Canal (known locally as “Between the Waters”) a farmers market of locally produced goods and crafts operates on Sundays between 11am and 3pm. This is seen as one of the best things to do during your stay in Clare.

The Lough Derg Way

The Lough Derg Way stretches from Limerick City to Killaloe, a distance of 26kms (16 miles) and from Killaloe/Ballina to Dromineer  32Kms (20 miles) along the banks of the River Shannon, the old Shannon Navigational Canal and the eastern shores of Lough Derg.  The canal bank dominates a major part of the southern section of the walk from Limerick to Killaloe and the extended route to Dromineer is an uphill climb overlooking the majestic Lough Derg.

University of Limerick Adventure Centre

Situated at the two mile gate, this Water Activity Centre offers a host of water activities and team building exercises.  Alternatively , why not de-stress and enjoy a  walk through Ballycuggeran Wood, adjacent to the activity centre.
Trip Advisor Choice Award 2020