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Back to Battlebridge in a heartbeat

Back to Battlebridge in a heartbeat

Battlebridge Camping is a superb family run site, relaxed but with a diligent attention to upkeep and standards, ideally perched on the banks of the River Shannon Blueway, just outside Leitrim village.

It was Battlebridge for Easter and what a joy that turned out to be.

Our curiosity about this Leitrim/Roscommon outpost was well rewarded and Vanhalla has only happy memories of Battlebridge and we’ll be back in a heartbeat.

All that despite an incessant deluge on Easter Sunday, which made it inevitably a day for the high stool, but a welcome retreat that turned out to be.

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Beirne’s of Battlebridge is an intriguing station really, sited as its name suggests on the bridge spanning the River Shannon between Leitrim and Roscommon. It was an unusual haunt for us as I normally prefer to hug the coastline at every opportunity, putting the inland ports to a distinct disadvantage in my head.

Battlebridge put paid to all that. Just a 1km stroll out from the picturesque riverside Leitrim village and hardly 8km into Carrick-on-Shannon, a young man in Beirne’s Bar proudly sported his Roscommon colours as this pub and campsite are on the Rossie side of the river.

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It also sits astride the Shannon Blueway from Carrick to Drumshanbo (16.5km in total) with 8km of it running along the Lough Allen Canal and River Shannon from Battlebridge to Drumshanbo village. This Blueway route is ideal in distance with services for walking or cycling, nothing too arduous and suitable for all the family.

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The route along the Shannon Blueway to Acres Lake is a revelation

Along the route the beautiful boardwalk at Acres Lake is a revelation, while onwards towards Drumshanbo there’s a playground, tennis courts and an outdoor public swimming pool, with plenty of parking places. We must thank our fellow motorhome enthusiasts, Dermot and Jill Lacey from Dublin, for the tip-off about the Blueway cycle route, another example of how you can’t beat a bit of research and local knowledge.

Drumshanbo is a delightful village

Drumshanbo itself is a delightful little village and we encountered some pony trekking enthusiasts and dozens of walkers on our exploratory excursion. Jinny’s Tearooms at Acres, Sweet Geranium Cafe and Alen’s Bistro Dobra Bia were all closed when we arrived but looked promising.  Our ramblings led us around to The Shed Distillery of the much-vaunted Gunpowder Irish Gin and adjacent Jackalope Café at The Shed. Couldn’t sing its praises enough for quality, choice and service, simply top class. As we had to drive home later that day on the Easter holiday Monday, we couldn’t part-take and sample the produce in the exquisite in-house lounge, we’ll certainly make provision to do so on the next occasion.

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It also turns out that Battlebridge is reasonably convenient to Enniscrone (85km) and so we managed to fit in a surf trip as part of the weekend activities, which is always a bonus. Next time round I’ll also make sure to pack the fishing rod and the kayak to make the most of the fabulous location on the waterways.

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Keadue the home of O’Carolan and multiple tidy towns winner

On the way to Enniscrone we passed through the village of Keadue, a multiple times Tidy Towns winner and home to the great Irish harper, O’Carolan whose life is marked with a summer school in his honour. Kilronan Castle along the shores of Lough Meelagh also looked interesting and they all go on a list for further attention.

The signposts off to our right as we moved into Sligo flagged the Beach Bar at Aughris Head not too far away, and what a summer we had there in 2020. A return trip is certainly on the cards.

On our way to Battlebridge we swung off the road to survey the options in Newcastle nearby Central Parks (where there’s refreshments available along the river bank at The Nest coffee hut and we encountered a busy woodpecker; and great to see some welcoming park-up opportunities too along the river at both Roosky and Dromod. All good options to keep in mind.

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Battlebridge Caravan and Camping Park  is a family run operation where the attention to detail and endeavour is obvious in the well-maintained site and services. It’s easy to see why this award-winning campsite is so popular and busy with a combination of facilities for tents, (although the ground was soggy in parts in the heavy rain) caravans, campervans, motorhomes, and glamping. The glamping pods were busy over the Easter weekend with two hen parties, who were all the picture of decorum and good behaviour. There’s also a marina which serves the Shannon waterway at this location, and it was great to see the combination of boats and barges moored up.

Battlebridge tariffs are €24 for a unit plus two adults, costing us €87 for 3 nights: (€32 for 2 adults and 2 children) with €5 for electricity and it’s €1.50 (in coins) for showers.  Dogs are allowed. +353 79650824.

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About The Author

John Whelan

John Whelan is a vastly experienced midlands based journalist and editor who has contributed extensively to the country's leading national and regional titles, as well as broadcast outlets. He runs the media services company, Communicate Ireland John is a keen camping and campervan enthusiast with an interest in music, culture, heritage and outdoor pursuits. He has written for the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and the Woman's Way on these topics. He is also an author, and his latest book, The Last Beekeeper, reflects his love of nature, the landscape and our shared responsibility to protect the environment. The Last Beekeeper is available to preview and purchase at Safe travels...

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