Some of the top spots are listed below but for more detail check out our sister site www.canoeni.com – your definitive guide to canoeing in Northern Ireland.
Grid Reference: J406513
The Annacloy river rises in the Dromara Hills and flows into Strangford Lough. Excellent paddling is had between Mason's bridge and Kilmore with regular and continuous rapids and weirs. Between Kilmore and Annacloy the river is quieter although there are still a couple of weirs. Below Annacloy the river calms down to Jane's Shore. Canoeing is not at present permitted below Jane's shore as entry to the Quoile Pondage Nature reserve is not permitted. There are at least 2 dangerous weirs between Raleagh and Rademon however they can be easily portaged.Grade: II (III)Start: Masons BridgeFinish: Raleagh Bridge
Grid Reference: C717362
Benone offers 10 miles of peaks - pure bliss! There are no hazards, but the site does get busy in summer. Benone is Suitable for all levels of paddler from beginner - intermediate - advanced. There is a car park and toilets at the beach and a hostel near by.
Grid Reference: C864405
The East strand site does hold a big wave. this can cause hazards as the heavy waves become big with strong rips. The site gets busy in summer and is suitable for intermediate - advanced paddlers. There is a car park and toilets close to the site and the town is just a short walk away.
Grid Reference: C435176
Stretching over 53km from the start of the River Foyle to the Atlantic Ocean, the Foyle Canoe Trail dips in and out of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. From Lifford, this unique trail runs through rural countryside, the historic city of Londonderry or Derry, along Lough Foyle’s varied coastline to the bustling seaside town of Moville. Paddlers will enjoy a mix of water conditions, from flat water to sea lough and - since the trail is tidal - the river section can even be paddled upstream!
Grid Reference: H239432
Fermanagh is an ideal destination for the canoeing enthusiast with its magnificent lakes of Upper and Lower Lough Erne providing a 50 kilometre expanse of water linking with the Shannon.
Grid Reference: H023393
Lough MacNean takes in some of the most spectacular scenery Ireland has to offer. The wetland and upland habitats attract an impressive variety of wildlife and ancient archaeological features are in abundance. The three friendly villages of Belcoo, Blacklion and Glenfarne have a strong sense of community coupled with a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can discover a charming rural lifestyle that is laid back and warm with a great sense of fun.
Grid Reference: H947855
Lough Neagh is the United Kingdom’s largest inland lake with a shoreline of over 90 miles/150km. Paddlers can follow the Lough Neagh Canoe Trail and explore the numerous bays and inlets around the lough or the vast expanse of open water whilst observing a diversity of wildlife and historical sites.
Grid Reference: H988905
Stretching from Lough Neagh to the Atlantic Ocean, this 58km Canoe Trail provides a unique way to experience the beautiful River Bann. Passing through constantly changing scenery, the trail offers canoeists both tranquil waters and some faster flowing sections.
Grid Reference: J458483
The River is generally known as the Quoile from Annacloy down through Downpatrick to the Barrage where it flows into Strangford Lough. This section of the river is completely flat.The main access point is in Downpatrick at Jane’s Shore and it is a beautiful paddle upstream to Greyabbey. The river is surrounded by woodland and arable land and has huge populations of waterfowl and swans.Just upstream of the Belfast – Downpatrick road bridge (which has some interesting canoe sized tunnels to go through) is the outfall for the sewage treatment works for Downpatrick.
Downstream from Jane’s Shore about 100m beyond the Killyleagh – Downpatrick road bridge is a barrage which marks the entrance to the Quoile Nature Reserve. At present the by-laws of the nature reserve forbid any boat traffic in this section of river. Very large congregations of waterfowl are found in this area – particularly in winter.
Grid Reference: H818519
The Blackwater has a very large catchment area and generally holds water levels longer than many other rivers. Above Benburb the river is very sinuous and there are a number of small weirs and rapids.
Below Benburb at Maydown Bridge marks the start of the Blackwater Canoe Trail. The Blackwater is an ideal venue providing a trail of 20km for canoeing enthusiasts of any ability. The river lazily meanders through the beautiful countryside of counties Armagh and Tyrone, flowing gently into Lough Neagh. From Lough Neagh the options are endless.
Grid Reference: C941408
The Bush rises on the Western side of the Antrim plateau and is fed by many tributaries as it flows to Bushmills. The paddling is pleasant relatively straightforward as far as Seneirl Bridge. However below this there are no easy access points before the big waterfall on the outskirts of Bushmills. There are also a number of weirs in Bushmills.Grade: II - III (V)Start: ArmoyFinish: Seneirl Bridge
Grid Reference: H404861
The Mourne is probably the best White water river in N. Ireland in terms of water volume and natural rapids. Upstream of Newtownstewart is fairly flat but can flow quite quickly. The Fisheries rapids begins about 1 mile downstream of Newtownstewart. From the Fisheries to Sion Mills there is excellent white water with waves, rapids and play holes.
Grid Reference: J309312
The Shimna is a serious undertaking and can only be paddled after heavy rain. Accessing by Trassey Bridge is straight on to a steep grade IV fall. Local knowledge is advisable as river is very continuous and technical and is often blocked with trees.Grade: IV (V, VI)Start: Trassey BridgeFinish: Priests Bridge
Grid Reference: J388249
Stretching more than 50 nautical miles along the south east coast of Northern Ireland and into County Louth, this coastal trail boasts remarkably varied scenery: mountains and sea loughs, rocky coves and long sandy beaches. The South East Coast Trail offers sea kayaking for all abilities.
Grid Reference: J589496
Home to the Strangford Lough Canoe Trail. This stunning sea lough offers no less than 80 square nautical miles of paddling playground! From the fast-running tidal channel in the south,to the more gentle waters around the islands there is something for canoeists of all abilities.the trail is also home to northern ireland’s first ‘bothy’which provides basic shelter and useful facilities for paddlers on Salt Island.
Grid Reference: J200850
Between Dunadry and Muckamore there are a significant number of weirs and rapids. Below Muckamore the weirs are less frequent.
Grid Reference: J217190
This river spans Counties Down and Armagh. There are many rapids and small weirs as well as a number of large weirs. The rapids all have clearly defined eddies and there are many play waves and jets of water. The best section is from Banbridge to Tullylish. Upstream of Corbett the river is flatter although there are still numerous simple rapids and is excellent for open canoe touring. Downstream of Tullylish there are further small rapids and weirs however the river begins to calm down towards Portadown.
Grid Reference: C855404
The waves at West strand are bigger than those on the East strand, there are no hazards, but the site does get busy in the summer. The West strand is suitable for all levels from beginner – intermediate - advanced. There is a car park and toilets near by with town facilities just a few minutes walk away.