A part of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way that’s regarded as one of the most stunning places on earth, County Leitrim is already rich in natural beauty on its own.
Home to at least ten lakes, waterfalls, most of the River Shannon, and lush forests in between – any nature lover wouldn’t run out of things to do in Leitrim. Here’s a list to guide you on how to see the best of Leitrim.
Things you'll find in this article
- 12 Best Things To Do In Leitrim, Ireland
- 1.Glencar Waterfall
- 2.Costello Chapel
- 3.Stunning Lakelands
- 4.The Shannon Blueway
- 5.Spend a Day in Carrick-on-Shannon
- 6.Parkes Castle
- 7.Have Some Boxty
- 8.Cavan and Leitrim Railway
- 9.The North Leitrim Glens
- 10.The Organic Centre
- 11.Lough Allen
- 12.Glenfarne Demesne
12 Best Things To Do In Leitrim, Ireland
Not a lot of places can claim to have inspired a poet, let alone be immortalized in a poem, but Glencar Waterfall must’ve been especially magnificent after the rain that W. B. Yeats just have to write about it in “The Stolen Child.”
Tucked in secluded woodland, the Glencar waterfall connects to the Glencar Lough and one of the best places to see in Leitrim. It’s a literally hidden sanctuary as you need to walk down a woodland path to reach Glencar Waterfall, but definitely worth it.
Address: Formoyle, Glencar, Co. Leitrim, Ireland
Phone:+353 71 9161201
It’s not as grand as the Taj Mahal, but as romantic and cute nonetheless. Located in the scenic town of Carrick-on-Shannon is the tiny Costello Chapel. It was built in 1877 by a local merchant Edward Costello on the passing of his wife Mary and when he died, he was laid by her side.
The Costello Chapel is the second smallest chapel in the world, as the only chapel smaller is said to be somewhere in the Holy Land. At just sixteen feet long and twelve feet wide, the chapel is one of the more interesting places to visit in Leitrim.
Address: Townparks, Carrick-On-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, Ireland
Phone: 353 (0)71 962 1757
A good way to get to know any place you visit is to experience what it offers, and in the case of Leitrim, it’s the lakes. Home to no fewer than ten breathtaking lakes, one of the best activities to do in Leitrim is to either hike, or bike around any, or all of these magnificent bodies of water.
Be sure to walk around Glencar Lough when you visit the waterfall, see Lough Gill when you’re in Parkes Castle and a good way to end a day of exploring, rent a boat to cruise around Lough Allen, more stunning in the late afternoon as the sun sets over the lake.
4.The Shannon Blueway
The Shannon Blueway is the first of its kind in Ireland and provides an easy-to-navigate system of trails on water or land that will help you see the best of the Lough Allen Canal and River Shannon from Drumshanbo to Leitrim Village. It is certainly the ideal way to see Ireland’s longest river, and getting out into the water or strolling along its banks is one of the best things to do in Leitrim.
Follow the trail whether on a kayak, paddleboard, a bike or walk along the banks and see the best of the river in the earlier stages of its journey to the ocean.
Address: Waterways Ireland 2 Sligo Road Enniskillen Co. Fermanagh BT747JY
Phone: +353 71 965 0787
5.Spend a Day in Carrick-on-Shannon
Stepping into the picturesque county town of Carrick-on-Shannon may seem uneventful at first, but a walk up the busy main street will tell you why its one of the more interesting places to visit in Leitrim. For one, you’ll find here the curious Costello Chapel, and a variety of quaint, old-fashioned shops. From here, you can also cruise the Shannon and stock up on supplies as many major supermarkets are located here.
The impressive 17th Century Parkes Castle is a fortified manor house and former stronghold of the O’Rourke Clan, rulers of the kingdom of Breffni. Situated on the shores of Lough Gill, this Irish castle has been beautifully restored using Irish oak and traditional craftsmanship.
Despite the alterations, parts of the castle still have the foundations and features of an earlier defensive structure, like in the courtyard and the traditional blacksmith forge.
28th March-02nd October
Last admission 45 minutes before closing
Average Length of Visit: 1Hour
Address: Kilmore, Fivemilebourne, Co. Leitrim, F91 FP71
Phone:+353 (71) 916 4149
7.Have Some Boxty
Take a break from exploring Leitrim and sample its famed ‘boxty’, often described as a potato pancake. It is said that boxty comes from old Irish arán bocht tí, which means poor house bread.
Synonymous with the North and West parts of Ireland, the origin of boxty dates back to before the time of the potato famine. Leitrim has a thriving boxty industry so you won’t run out if you wish to try some of these. Check out any of the three brands – McNiffes, Dromod Boxty, and Shannonside Savouries. Boxty is one of the best traditional Irish food that you should really try.
8.Cavan and Leitrim Railway
Take a trip back in time, literally, when you visit this top attraction in Leitrim. Located in Dromod village, the Cavan and Leitrim Railway was one of the busiest of Ireland’s narrow gauge railways. A visit will take you back to the magic and charm of a late 19th Century, as they offer visitors a chance to experience the age of steam transport. Along with scheduled test rides, you’ll also see an extensive collection of steam, diesel trains, rolling stock and vintage buses, all tracing the history of the Irish narrow gauge railway system.
Closed for the Winter period. Will Re-open Easter Sunday
Tuesday & Friday – closed
Child / Student / OAP: €5
Address: The Cavan & Leitrim Railway Station Road Dromod Leitrim Ireland
9.The North Leitrim Glens
Relatively off the beaten track compared to the glens of other more popular touristy counties, the North Leitrim Glens is still worth a visit and one of the best things to do in Leitrim. The seven delightful green glens of this region will surely remind you that this county is part of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, and will encourage you to explore.
Stroll along Glencar, Glenfarne, Glenaniff, Glenboy, Glenkeel, Gleniff, and Glenade, and discover more of Leitrim through its rich natural wonders.
10.The Organic Centre
A novel idea intended to boost ecotourism, the Organic Centre was started in 1995. It is located in north County Leitrim’s unspoiled countryside, just 12 kilometers from Manorhamilton. The center advocates organic gardening and sustainable living through learning gardens, short courses, tours, and workshops, as well as community and school projects. It is one of the more clever and productive things to do in Leitrim on weekends. Spend time at its on-site demonstration gardens that are comprised of seven polytunnels, an orchard, outdoor gardens, ornamental beds, and a woodland. They also have a shop that stocks seeds for herbs, vegetables, flowers and even wildflower seeds that are produced according to organic standards.
For the gardens: €4,
Address: The Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co Leitrim, Ireland
The biggest of the three lakes that connect to River Shannon, most of Lough Allen is in County Leitrim, while a smaller part is in County Roscommon. It lake lies to the south of the River Shannon’s source, The Shannon Pot, and overlooked by Sliabh an Iarainn. One of the stunning sceneries you’ll ever see if you like being close to the waters, Lough Allen is one of Leitrim’s attractions that’s really worth a visit.
The lake is triangular in shape and is a storage reservoir for the power station in Limerick as part of the Shannon hydroelectric scheme. The rarely used Lough Allen Canal was restored back in the 90s and now used as a place for walking and cycling along the Shannon Blueway.
The estate is located about 1.5 km north of Glenfarne on Manorhamilton/Enniskillen road. Formerly a part of the Tottenham Estate’s 14,500 acres of land in the 1870s,
Glenfarne Demesne is one of the main points of interest in Leitrim because of its location and the stunning views it offers, particularly those of the lakes surrounding it. The place has a picnic area, looped trails of varying lengths that take you along the edge of Lough MacNean and through a forest.
The trails offer scenic views of Northern Ireland on the other side of the lake. Close to the trails is the Myles Big Stone where you get a magnificent perspective of Lough MacNean and the surrounding countryside.
This Stone is said to have been a place of worship thousands of years ago. The trails meanwhile are lined with lush forestry made up of beech, birch, holly, and alder.