Boat hire on the Blackwater – 17th century vs. 21st century

Known as the Irish Rhine, the Blackwater was well advertised to tourists and day trippers alike throughout the nineteenth century. As we draw to an end of another successful season of trying to keep life on the Blackwater a float we look back on what we added to our dock this year and how it resembles historic uses along the Blackwater.


Before the age of steam people usually hired out one of the trading lighters to enjoy the delights of the river. This type of boat hire dates back to 1638 with a trip from Lismore to Ballinatray and continues into the early 1800s. The nineteenth century saw great success for the passenger services along the Blackwater right up until the war in 1914.


Roadways and railways dominated transport after the war offering views of the river. With the reopening of Greenways across the country that follow the lines of the abandoned railways we have towed the line this season with availability of our self drive boats. Available for hire as once was the case of the river back in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Believe us the views from the river are twice as good on the river as they are of the river.

Wouldn’t it be great to use the Blackwater like they did in the past? To have it used more frequently & easily. Why not take out our self drive boats… Our self drives can fit 5 adults (but 4 adults, 2 children would also work) including the driver on each boat – we have 2. Why not bring a picnic, stop somewhere along the river to enjoy the views. You will be guided along by the ‘lead’ boat but you are in control of where you would like to go and where you might want to stop. The price – it costs €50 per hour per boat.



‘Blackwater and Bride. Navigation and Trade, 7000BC to 2007.’ By Niall O’Brien