Toome to Portna

River Bann Boat Trip

Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Toome

This scenic River Bann boat trip begins where the Lower Bann flows from Lough Neagh at the historic village of Toome, an area of Mesolithic importance. During this tour you will discover the historic significance of this river, its rich heritage and importance for the people who live and have lived alongside it.

Your Skipper will greet you at the Lock-Keeper’s Cottage on Toome Canal, a Waterways Heritage Centre, cafe and community hub.  Here your Skipper will conduct a safety briefing and fit you with your lifejacket.

Toome Bridges

You will cruise under two bridges at Toome; the old Toome bridge commissioned by Lord O’Neill in 1792, and the new iconic blue bridge constructed in 2004.  Between the two bridges sits the largest commercial Eel Fishery in Europe.  It remains a prominent feature on the River Bann and is a significant part of River Bann and Lough Neagh heritage.

Lough Beg

Going under the blue bridge at Toome and around the bend you will glide into the mostly unseen Lough Beg, a stunning wildlife reserve.  In the middle of this sanctuary rests Church Island, where there is a church without a spire and a spire without a church.  Immortalised in Seamus Heaney’s poem “The Strand at Lough Beg”:

“Where you weren’t known and far from what you knew:
The lowland clays and waters of Lough Beg,
Church Island’s spire, its soft treeline of yew”.

Listen and watch for the famed Whooping Swans of Lough Beg who grace us with their presence year after year.


Our River Bann boat trip takes you past the ancient forest of Portglenone, under the beautiful arched bridge and onwards along the scenic and peaceful Lower Bann. The tranquil atmosphere is enhanced by its remote location far from roads and civilisation.  This tour is truly off the beaten track.


Finally we reach Hutchinson’s Quay at Portna.  Here there is a listed double lock, the only one of its kind on the River Bann. We disembark here for a short walk on this man made island before the return journey to Toome with a comfort break at the Wild Duck Pub and Restaurant in Portglenone.

Our Skippers, Tim and Ben, are OCN Accredited Tour Guides who have a passion for our local land and water, its history, heritage and wildlife.  Born and still living beside Lough Beg and the River Bann, they have been conducting tours here for ten years and continue to enhance their knowledge of this historically rich area.

  • Tour min time: 4 hours
  • Private Charter Only
  • Great for: Sight-seeing, family day out, adventurers, photographers, historians, wild life enthusiasts, video producers, team building

Make a day of it – Click here for some itinerary ideas for other things to do in or near Toome

“Fantastic cruise down the Bann from Toome to Drumaheglis. Great craic from beginning to end. Excellent contact from initial enquiry through to the day of the cruise. Characters on and off the boat from Tim and Ben through to the singing lock keeper! 🎶😁”

Karen D.

“I highly recommend Abhainn Cruises, we did the Toome to Portna route. Even though we are locals to the area it was as if we were complete tourists. Tim was excellent with local knowledge and entertaining us. It was a lot of fun and beautiful scenery. We will be returning customers for sure!”

Niall N.

“Ben was an Excellent tour guide, informative and sociable. We’d a fun family day out. Great to see part of the country from a different perspective. Kids were thrilled when he went fast. Everyone in our group from 11-78yrs of age enjoyed the experience. Definitely recommend.”

Elaine D.

+44 (0) 7845 370231

call or text Lynn to book or make enquiries

Discover Abhainn Cruises Trips by Interest

Seeking a memorable day out? Would you like to explore World Heritage Sites without the crowds?  Our bespoke boat tours offer you a chance to have a unique experience, see hidden gems, take photographs at inaccessible locations, see our sea-life in its natural habitat and appreciate the beauty and history that is part of our Northern Irish Heritage.

We can help create the perfect itinerary for your trip.

Adventure with Abhainn Cruises - Northern Ireland


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Swans, otters, herons…