Eco adventure tourism opportunities on the Shannon Estuary

_MG_9893by Andrew Carey

FUNDING should be provided to explore the possibility of developing the Shannon Estuary as an international base for eco and adventure tourism.

Calling on Fáilte Ireland to help promote the hidden gem that is the Shannon Estuary, Pallaskenry councillor Emmett O’Brien said that the Estuary is a part of Limerick that is often forgotten.

“For boating excursions, kayaking or jet skiing, the Shannon Estuary it is one of the most breath-taking parts of Limerick with beautiful vistas stretching from the Maigue and Bunratty rivers back to the Fergus and Deel while Beeves Lighthouse, Bunratty, Ferrybridge, Askeaton, Foynes and Beagh Castle are among the many points of interest.

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“Eco-tourism and riverside walking trails are very popular on the Continent and there is a great opportunity to develop this form of tourism along the Shannon Estuary”.

“The resurgence of plans for a 12-mile walkway was recently highlighted as having huge potential of for the area in light of the pending review of the Wild Atlantic Way and the possibility of Limerick’s inclusion in the highly successful tourism initiative.

“There is a great maritime tradition on the Shannon Estuary of fishing, boat building and pleasure crafting that is ripe for promotion once again.

Cllr O’Brien, who recently re-launched his own Gandelow boat, said that this could also help put the estuary on the international tourism map and he paid tribute to the Askeaton Boat Club for their work in having this traditional Shannon craft restored to the estuary.

“The Gandelow is ideally suited to the Shannon Estuary. It is a flat bottom rowing boat that was traditionally used by fishermen on the Shannon for fishing salmon, drawing reed for thatched cottages and transporting turf on the river. It was also used to attend to the various lighthouses on the Shannon.

“The Gandelow is quintessential to Limerick and it’s great to see a resurgence and interest in them in events such as the Gandelow races in Limerick city and the building of the traditional Limerick Gandelow with the assistance of AK Ilen Company in Roxboro.

“Up until the 1980s there was a great tradition of boat building of Gandelows in County Clare in Newmarket-on-Fergus and in various parts of Limerick with numerous gandelows being moored at Newtown, Clarina, Ringmoylan, Ballysteen and Askeaton”, Cllr O’Brien recalled.