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The Shannon Region


The Shannon Region


The Shannon Region and Tourism

The Shannon Region, located in the Mid-West of the Republic of Ireland, has a population of over 400 000 in an area of 10 000 km2. The region is approximately 160 km from end to end and comprises all of counties Clare and Limerick as well as South Offaly, North Kerry and North Tipperary. Limerick City is the capital of the region and the main regional towns are Ennis, Co. Clare, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary and Birr, Co. Offaly.

The region derives its name from the River Shannon which cuts through the heart of the region before entering the Atlantic Ocean via a 100 km estuary below Limerick City. The River Shannon, the longest river in the British Isles, and is navigable by small craft for most of its length. Because of the outstanding natural beauty of the region, tourism, which is the joint responsibility of Bord Fáilte – The Irish Tourist Board and Shannon Development, is one of the largest industries in the region.
Millions of tourists annually visit to enjoy spectacular features such as the Cliffs of Moher (200 metres high and 8 km long), the River Shannon, and The Burren, a 500 km2 area noted for its extraordinary limestone rock formations and rare plants, many of which are not found elsewhere in Europe.

Economy and Industrial Activity in the Shannon Region

Economic activity in the region falls into four categories: agriculture, tourism, services and manufacturing. The region boasts an international airport, Shannon Airport, which is located approximately 20 km Limerick City. The economy of rural areas is dominated by agriculture and tourism. The major agricultural activities in the region are dairy and beef farming. The services sector represents a significant proportion of the labour force with emphasis on information technology services, design and advertising, consultancy and education. The region has a very strong manufacturing industry base and is home to a large number of progressive multinational corporations. The principal manufacturing industries in the region are metals and materials engineering, computers, electronics and healthcare.


Limerick, the largest city in the region, is located at the head of the estuary of the River Shannon. The city received its charter in 1197 and is historically divided into English Town on King’s Island, Irish Town which lies to the south of the river and includes the oldest part of the city (dating from the 9th century Norse settlement), and Newtown-Pery, to the south of Irish Town, dating from 1769. The current population of the city is approximately 90,000. The city has undergone a transformation in recent years and is now an excellent centre for shopping, dining (including a Good Food Circle) and entertainment. It is considered by many to be the sporting capital of Ireland, with excellent facilities and passionate followers of all sporting activities. Dominated by the River Shannon, Limerick has a colourful and fascinating history and its castles, ancient walls and museums are testament to its historic and turbulent past. The city’s proximity to Shannon Airport, the presence of exceptional third level educational facilities at the University of Limerick and at the Limerick Institute of Technology, and the adjacent industrial zones makes Limerick an international crossroads for business and development.

Shannon Development

Regional development in the Shannon Region is the responsibility of Shannon Development. For nearly forty years, the organisation has worked, singularly and with partners from the statutory, community and private sectors to promote rural development and to develop industry and tourism to their full potential in the region. Its responsibilities include:

  • Developing and strengthening of the indigenous industry sector in the Shannon Region.

  • Developing Shannon Free Zone and its associated World Aviation Park as a location for international investment in manufacturing and international services.
  • Managing and developing the National Technological Park in Limerick.
  • Tourism development in the Shannon Region.
  • Delivering ERDF funding (European Regional Development Fund) to support new tourism development.
  • Managing, through a subsidiary (Shannon Heritage), commercial tourism businesses such as mediaeval castle banquets, Irish music nights and some of region’s most important day visitor attractions.
  • Promoting the Shannon Estuary as an international tourism and industrial location.
  • Stimulating development at rural and local levels.

Intresting Links:

Maps of the Region    Shannon Tourism    Limerick Life
University of Limerick    Limerick Institute of Technology

Shannon Development National Technological Park University of Limerick Bord Failte- The Irish Tourist Board