Lough Derg, is a freshwater lake in the Shannon River Basin. It is the third-biggest on the island of Ireland. It is a long, narrow lake, with shores in counties Clare, Galway, and Tipperary
From Balally House, it is only a 35 min drive. This is a great day trip to do. It is a loop drive so you can enjoy beautiful scenery the whole way from cute villages, quays, trails, cottages, farms and historic monuments and buildings.
We love taking the day to enjoy this drive. There are so many places to pull in and enjoy the view that it does not feel like you are stuck in a car all day. Make your back through Bodyke to Balally House. If it’s the end of the day and you’re ready for home, head to the R469, it’s the fastest way home on a bigger road so less meandering. I know my 2 kids want home at this stage of the day. You could always grab dinner in Clarecastle. Our favourite fish and chip shop called Versuvios. They do a lovely fresh cod or scampi and proper chipi chips. Get your take away and then drive the minute to the quay and sit on a bench and enjoy the view. We are then only 5 -10 mins from here.
I’ll be honest with you and suggest you take a look on the Discover Lough Derg website as they have done a great job at providing all the information you need.
You can take any direction from here to start your journey. I suggest you start in the village of Killaloe which is 40 mins from here on the Limerick road. You’ll fly there on the motorway directly from our door. Ballina is just over the bridge. Both nice villages to walk around.
So as you drive you will notice signs showing you the side roads to take for the quays. Any of these are good stops to get out, stretch the legs and be by the waters edge. I like seeing people’s houses whos gardens lead down to their private rowing boat and quay. So cute. My kids love to feed the ducks.
Here you can enjoy the market down by the water. Lots of homemade food here to treat yourself to. Plenty of walks and play areas down by the lake. If you are brave you can take a dip. There are lots of water sports to book here also including an hour boat trip ride. I recommend calling them first to book your spot.
Ballycuggaran – This renowned beauty spot provides one of Lough Derg’s two Blue Flag beaches, indicating that it reaches a high level of environmental quality.
Tuamgraney – The village of Tuamgraney is one of the most notable ecclesiastical and historical places in Ireland. St. Cronan’s Church built in the first millennium is still used for worship.
Scariff – Overlooking Lough Derg, Scariff is and important market town which offers excellent facilities for the visitor interested in either active pursuits or leisurely sightseeing.
Mountshannon – This is an attractive village which offers many amenities to visitors. It is an ideal point to set out for Inis Cealtra the Holy Island and boat trips can be arranged.
Tountinna is the highest point on the Arra Mountains and forms part of the Lough Derg Way. A trip to the summit by foot offers panoramic views of Lough Derg and it’s also possible to drive to the summit taking a righthand turn just outside the historic town of Baliina on the Portroe road. There’s a picnic area at the top to take a seat and see how many counties you can see. Galway, Clare, Tipperary and Limerick where you’re standing are guaranteed on a fine day.
Whitegate – This is a very popular village for boating, angling and other watersports.
Portumna – has a lovely forest park and a remarkable castle that has recently been restored. The ruins of the abbey here are totally worth checking out. They are a maze of rooms with fantastic history. It is free to walk outside and as above a great place to take photos. Just a min walk from where this photo is taken is the port area.
Terryglass – The pretty village has a long and distinguished history with a monastery being founded there by St. Columba in 549 A.D.. The fairy trail here my kids enjoy. It is a good sopt to have a picnic. My kids like to feed the ducks and wonder through the fairy
Ballinderry/Kilgarvan – This is a quiet and attractive village located in the north eastern part of the lake. There is an impressive, large all-metal mill wheel and derelict mill adjacent to the village.
Coolbawn – The tiny village of Coolbawn is tucked away on the eastern shores of Lough Derg in an idylic and tranquil setting.
Puckane – is a pleasant village just a short distance from Lough Derg that is home to a number of thatched traditional style cottages. WOrth stopping for a photo
Dromineer – is one of the odlest villages located on Lough Derg. Once known as the ‘Port of Ormond’, Dromineer offers a range of visitor facilities and services including, a pub, sailing club and places to eat.
Nenagh – Nenagh was originally a market town and its name in Irish (an tAonach) means “The Fair of Ormond” – a reference to the Ormond (East Munster) Fair. Nenagh is a large commercial town with many places to eat, shop and visitor attractions like Nenagh Castle, Heritage Centre and Courthouse. Plenty of little shops and boutiques here to spend an hour.
Portroe – For a commanding and spectacular view of Lough Derg and the surrounding countryside, the village of Portroe offers a marvellous setting.
Garrykennedy – Oneof the best ways to experience the magic of Lough Derg is to visit the beautiful hamlet of Garrykennedy.