The stunning region of Shannon is made up of four counties each with its own unique character and sites of interest. County Clare contains the majority of the region’s coastline which offers fantastic walking opportunities along its towering cliffs. The many Blue Flag award-winning sandy beaches will satisfy water sports enthusiasts and those who simply want to recline and snorkel. The area is very popular with zoologists and botanists with regular events and meetings (more details here).

One of the many early Viking settlements along the river Shannon is Limerick. This bustling city lends its name to the second of Shannon’s counties and is the region’s capital. Revered as Ireland’s centre for sport, Limerick has a wealth of modern facilities which juxtapose the city’s ancient buildings and the expanses of calm, rural surroundings.

North Tipperary is Ireland’s largest inland county made up of vast expanses of lulling hills and agriculturally rich valleys. The western border is marked by the 40km bank of Lough Derg, the lake produced by the river Shannon. Once an important trade route, the waters are now utilised for leisure boating with many companies offering all-inclusive or self-drive boating holidays.

Shannon’s northernmost county is South Offalay which is served by the river Shannon and the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The highest peak is a lowly 529m high and the real attractions lie in the waterfalls and bogs amidst the expanses of forest.


Dolphin Watching – These intriguing creatures inhabit the sea and esturine waters of Shannon and provide an exciting highlight in any coastal walk. The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation is active in the animals’ conservation and organise events specifically to help the public catch a glimpse of various marine mammals including dolphins and whales.

Lough Derg – The lake is famous for both aesthetic and spiritual regions. St Patrick is said to have stayed in a cave on a lake island and been subjected to various temptations earning the island the name “St Patrick’s Purgatory”. Pilgrims make their way in droves to the island in order to strengthen their faith. Many other visitors come here to fish, sail or simply take in the scenery.

Hunt Museum – The Hunt collection is one of the most sacred assemblages of Celtic artefacts in the world. Also featured are works by the likes of Renoir and da Vinci, with items regularly moved between this site and the British and V&A museums in London. The restaurant serves excellent food and overlooks the Shannon River and Curragour Falls.

Holycross Abbey – Of the many sites of spiritual interest, Holycross Abbey possesses the most aesthetic, architectural and secular value. The Cistercian Monastery was built in 1180 and renovated during the 15th century; it’s Benedictine origins evident amongst the subsequent additions that have been made. Regular devotions and services take place throughout the year.

Ailwee Cave – Discovered in 1944, the series of caves, bridged caverns and waterfalls was once a hibernation spot for brown bears. With the bears extinct, there are now regular tours, a restaurant and craft shop.


Local products such as hand-cut crystal and tweed are available throughout the region from "traditional" shops. Limerick city is hailed as the retail epicentre of Western Ireland with shopping centres; Arthur's Quay in the centre, Crescent Shopping Centre on the Cork Road and Parkway Shopping Centre and Retail Park on the Dublin road. Ennis is the other main hub for the region with an array of department stores. A more personal and interesting shopping trip can be found in the outlets which the line the cobbled street leading out of the market square.

Nightlife and Eating Out

The options for dining are obviously limited by your location. The larger cities such as Limerick have plenty of options from which to choose, whereas smaller settlements which have become developed as a direct result of tourism may be more limited. Italian is popular (as is Fish and Chips), and whether you choose a restaurant or bistro will dictate the price and quality. The Bunratty Banquet is one of Ireland's most famous culinary events and is held twice daily. The evening begins with a short tour, several glasses of mead in the mock 16th Great Hall follow and then on to eat in the Banquet for a lavish four course meal of Irish meats accompanied with wine and entertainment.

The smoking ban seems to have had an effect on Shannon's nightlife. Some pubs have become more popular whereas others have been forced to offer outdoor areas with cover and heating. Either way the atmosphere in venues such as Nancy Blake's and Molly's is vibrant and welcoming. The nightclubs are of varied appeal with somewhat unpredictable music; the majority of people head to Costelloes as many of the other clubs have a reputation for attracting under-age drinkers. You can be treated to live music whether in the city or not, with at least one pub in each village offering folk music nights.

Tourist Information

The main offices are listed below with further seasonal offices at Liscannor, Ballina and Tipperary.

Limerick City Tourist OfficeArthurs Quay. LimerickTel +353 61 317522Email:

Ennis Tourist OfficeArthur's Row, Ennis Co. ClareTel +353 65 6828366Email:

Shannon Airport Tourist OfficeArrivals Hall, Co. Clare Tel: +353 61 471664Email:

Official website for Shannon Tourist Information.


Shannon Airport links the region to more than 40 international and internal destinations. There are several transatlantic routes but the majority are European, the majority of which being operated by the budget airline Ryanair where passengers may only have to pay taxes fuel charges. Facilities include a good array of shops, restaurants, bars and a prayer room with weekly mass.

Buses run between the airport and most major cities (Shannon aiport buses).