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Shannon Estuary

Dolphins and Celtic Ruins

The Shannon Estuary stretches between the Loop Head Peninsula and the northern coastal region of County Kerry, to the city of Limerick.

Discover Shannon Estuary

Explore the Shannon Estuary, an idyllic riverside destination alongside Ireland’s longest river. Located on the west coast, the Shannon Estuary is conveniently close to the Wild Atlantic Way routes and boasts a selection of nature reserves, quaint towns, and Celtic ruins.  

Delve into the region’s rich history as you visit ancient castles, such as Bunratty Castle. The site on which Bunratty castle stands was originally a Norse Viking settlement that was destroyed by iconic Irish king, Brian Boru. In the thirteenth century, another Norse battlement was developed, followed by the current castle structure in 1470, built by a wealthy Irish clan who ruled over the region. The nearby Bunratty Folk Village is a gem, boasting everything from fairy trails and animal farms complete with traditional farmhouses to regency-era walled gardens, a manor house, a 19th village featuring sweet shops and pubs, and even a Viking playground.  

To experience more of Ireland’s quaint towns and historic castles, venture through Adare. See the thatched cottages dotted along the main street, housing local craft shops and cute cafes where you can stop and enjoy Ireland’s famous brown soda bread, or a bowl of warming soup. Take a shuttle bus from the Heritage Centre to Adare Desmond Castle to explore a 13th-century Norman castle and ring fort. Enjoy stunning views from the castle overlooking the River Maigue, and learn of the connection between ringforts and fairies in Irish folklore for a mystical experience.  

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Shannon Estuary is a haven for water sports, fishing, and golfing. Explore the scenic walking and cycling trails that wind their way through picturesque landscapes, or take to the waters for kayaking, paddle boarding, or sailing. 

Take a two-hour sightseeing cruise from Kilrush Marina to meet the resident pod of 200 bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary for an unforgettable opportunity to connect with these intelligent creatures. Get off the boat at Slattery Island to explore the ruins of this uninhabited island, which includes a cathedral, five churches, a lighthouse, and a Napoleonic war artillery battery among many more.  

The Shannon Estuary is conveniently located, with easy access to nearby attractions. Explore the majestic Cliffs of Moher, visit the quaint villages of the Burren, or venture into the charming city of Limerick with its rich cultural heritage. 

Immerse yourself in the timeless beauty and captivating allure of the Shannon Estuary. Discover its natural wonders, embrace its vibrant history, and create unforgettable memories in this enchanting corner of Ireland. 


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