Situated on the far eastern edge of County Clare, the village of Killaloe was once known as the ‘Capital of Ireland'. Of course, that was in the early 11th century when Brian Boru was High King of Ireland and he ruled from the town of his birth. Now the town, nestled in a bend of the River Shannon just south of Lough Derg, is a getaway for outdoors enthusiasts.
Kayaking on the Shannon
Our excursion, with My Next Adventure, was actually my first kayaking experience. A healthy respect for water coupled with seeing too many videos of kayaks turning upside-down had kept me from trying this sport. Mike Jones, owner and head guide, easily put my fears to rest as he led us through a quick ‘introduction to kayaking' on land before settling us in our kayaks; my 11 year old in her own kayak, my 9 year old and I shared a kayak for two.
A quick, if not pretty, turn around and we were paddling south along the Shannon.
The stillness of the river was broken only by the sound of our paddles splashing through the water. At times Mike would slow our progress to point out interesting or historic sites or draw our attention to wildlife hiding along the water's edge.
About half way through our Family Adventure tour, Mike led us to land our kayaks at a lovely picnic spot. As he pulled waterproof packs from his kayak, Mike sent the girls to find small bits of stick for a fire. After setting water to boil in a Kelly Kettle, Mike thrilled the girls when he pulled both hot cocoa mix and a tin of cookies from his pack. The addition of tea for me made the break complete.
As we enjoyed our treats Mike told us about other trips he offers- including night kayaking and multi-day excursions. He arranged one for a group of ladies that included a castle stay!
Tea time over, we loaded into our kayaks and took another route back toward Killaloe. The southern entrance of a long disused canal is nearly hidden by lush vegetation as the river bends around it. The narrow waterway was nearly silent as our kayaks glided atop the water, our paddling much smoother than when we began. Birds, including a pair of Kingfisher, moved from tree to tree, almost noiselessly as if they didn't wish to break the tranquility of the area.
Somehow time moved more swiftly in the canal and soon we had returned to our starting point, our adventure ended.
Booking a Kayak Excursion with My Next Adventure
Kayaking with My Next Adventure is an excursion the entire family can enjoy. The waters downstream of Lough Derg are smooth and the paddling not too challenging. Mike is a wonderful guide and does a terrific job of both guiding and documenting your trip (so you don't have to worry about dropping your phone or camera in the water).
Want a more ‘personal' introduction to Mike and My Next Adventure? Listen to this episode of the Traveling in Ireland podcast as Mike and I talk kayaking, adventure travel, and three of his favorite spots to visit in Ireland.