What can I expect?


the thrill of steering your own barge, operating 200 year old locks, navigating under beautiful stone bridges, stopping off in a town for supplies and a friendly chat with the locals. 



the freedom to come and go as you please with no fixed schedule... Fishing, Cycling, Towpath walks, Swimming, Reading, Relaxing, Astronomy, Exploring Towns, Traditional Pubs and Music...Nature, Adventure, Golf, Eating Out, Local Museums and Historical Sites.


Anam Cara is a family owned barge for hire in Ireland. We aim to provide you with a unique holiday experience. We will do our best to cater for your individual needs.  We will show you the ropes!!

Visit     https://its1700somewhere.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/final-composite-4.jpg

to read one persons blog of his week aboard Anam cara.

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Navigating the canal


The Royal Canal runs west from Dublin until it reaches the River Shannon at Clondra Co. Longford. When you hire a barge you will usually board near Maynooth and travel west toward the Shannon and then return to Maynooth. 

You will skipper the barge yourself so make sure you have two able bodied individuals on board at all times. Some boating experience is desirable. You can navigate at your own pace, stopping in to explore local towns, villages and attractions as you please. 

Between towns and villages the canal will be very quiet and tranquil. These quiet areas are perfect to moor up and stop for a spot of reading or fishing. Local pubs and shops are easy to come by to keep supplies stocked.

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Locks add great excitement when you hire a barge. They may initially look complicated but they are very easy to use. If its your first time renting a barge we will take you through your first lock step-by-step to ensure you are comfortable with and confident in operating the locks. 

You will need two abled bodies individuals to navigate through a lock. One member will disembark the barge as you arrive to a lock. This individual will fill/empty the chamber and open/close the lock gates. As the gates are manual, a degree of strength is needed. The second individual will drive the barge into the lock. Most individuals feel confident to drive the barge into the lock once they are willing to give it a try with our instructor and after a small bit of practice.

The locks are very exciting. They will be some of your best memories of your time renting a barge! They also provide wonderful photo opportunities to build memories of your trip on the Anam Cara

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Exploring local towns & villages


The canals used to be a hive of activity when they were in the peak of their use. As a result a large number of services were set up to cater for the canal users. Some of these outlets still serve the local communities and those passing through.

Quaint little pub/restaurants (such as Furey's pictured opposite) are common. A guide book that accompanies the barge will inform you of the local amenities available along the way.

The majority of local towns have mooring spaces for the barge. Feel free to moor up and go exploring!!