If it’s solitude and spectacular scenery you’re after ,then you’ve come to the right place in Shannon. Shannon is well connected with the second biggest airport in the Republic of Ireland, which connects the area to a range of international destinations. There’s also a superb championship golf course right next door to Shannon Airport, but as you tee off, look out for the big metal birdies.
The Shannon River is 214 miles long, making it the longest river in the British Isles and the river gives this beautiful region in the mid west area of Ireland its name, as it weaves through County Clare and Limerick. The Lough Derg forms its eastern boundary and to the west is a rugged Atlantic coastline with magnificent cliffs and golden beaches.
Highlights on a tour of Shannon have to include Bunratty Castle and the Cliffs of Moher. Shannon’s towns and villages have real rural beauty and charm - some so small that you get the idea everyone knows each other, but that doesn’t stop them from giving visitors a warm Irish welcome.
SHANNON’S TOP 10
10. Shannon’s Farmers Market is a bustling smorgasbord of locally grown produce and Irish delicacies.
5. Go green at the Im Eco Farm, where there are working displays of alternative energy sources.
9. Atlantic Airventure is Shannon’s Flight Simulation Centre. Take control of a Jet to get a bird’s eye view of Ireland’s virtual skies.
4. Have fun whatever the weather at Clare Leisure World with 10-pin bowling and Quasar for light relief on dull days.
8. Ballyhannan Castle is a fab example of a traditional Irish keep, with postcard perfect views across the River Shannon thrown in.
3. Take precautions if you’re visiting Shannon’s Kilnaboy Medieval Church. It’s got a medieval fertility symbol above the door.
7. Visiting the Burren is like landing on another planet with its ultra-dramatic limestone landscape dotted with monuments older than the pyramids.
2. Whet your whistle at the Bunratty Winery and try and buy their famous honey wine mead and recently legalised potent potcheen.
6. The Belltable Arts Centre, Shannon, is a veritable melting pot of drama, dance, music and the arts
1. Shannon’s Ailwee Cave is a beautiful prehistoric tunnel of gold and yellow limestone with awesome light effects, so bring a camera.
Dance the winter blues away at the Shannonside Winter Music Weekend in January. A dose of traditional ceilidh will lift the spirits and keep you warm.
Lovers of literature gather in Ennis for the Book Club Festival in March. It’s a sociable Shannon event to be sure.
Honour the ancient god of arts and crafts with modern family fun at Shannon’s Lughnasa Festival , Craggaunowen in July.
For good old-fashioned country fun head to Shannon’s Bunratty Folk Park for the Traditional Harvest Day Festival in September and see them threshing grain just like they did 100 years ago.
The Pig ‘n’ Porter in Limerick, Shannon, is Ireland’s biggest and best Tag Rugby Festival where over 100 teams play over 3 days. Takes place in July with not a pig or porter in sight.
For a week-long celebration of music, song and dance head to Ennis for Shannon’s annual Fleadh Nua.
The Spancil Hill Horse Fair in June is where you can join Shannon’s travellers and traders do deals. You can relax with a pint of the black stuf and listen to traditional music.
Fill up on fresh air and fun at the Shannon County Show in Ennis, with competitive country sports and entertainment on offer in July.
The Ennis Trad Festival takes place in November and is trad by name and trad by nature. Shannon’s best music fest.
Ireland honours its patron saint on 17th March with plenty of craic to be had by all, but pace yourself since St Patrick’s Day goes on all weekend across Shannon.
WHEN TO GO
• Shannon, like the rest of Ireland, enjoys a temperate maritime climate, giving it weather which is mild, damp and changeable with a lack of temperature extremes. The most amount of sunshine occurs in the summer months when there will be a fair few sunny days.
• The average temperature overall in Shannon is just over 10°C with the average high during the summer months around 20°C and the coolest minimum average around 2°C in January and February.
• The driest days are in April – so April showers are out - with the most amount of rain falling in December. But Ireland is not the Emerald Isle for nothing – rain can be expected on 217 days a year, so arm yourself with a brolly.
• Shannon is easily accessible by air with Shannon International Airport at the heart of the region and 200 inbound flights per week, from the UK, Europe and North America. Cork airport is also less than 90 minutes away from the region.
• Shannnon is approximately 3 hours’ drive from Dublin, Rosslare and Dun Laoghaire ferry ports with fast crossings from a number of UK ports.
• The area also benefits from rail connections with Dublin and Cork, and is reachable from any railway station in Ireland. There is a network of good national roads as well as a large number of more scenic routes – Bus Eireann operates a regular bus service throughout the region.
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