Life on Water

Water Experiences

Discover Dolphins Shannon Estuary Way

Discover Dolphins

A unique visitor experience a 2-hour sightseeing cruise from Kilrush marina to view the resident pod of bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary.

Address Kilrush Marina, Kilrush, Co. Clare

Scattery Island Tours shannon Estuary Way

Scattery Island Tours

Ferries depart Kilrush Marina from May to September, with 3 sailings per day and up to 4 sailings a day at weekends and weekdays during the peak summer months. Sailing times move in line with the tides, and a full ferry schedule can be found by clicking here.

Address Kilrush Marina, Kilrush, Co. Clare


Shannon Ferries

Shannon Ferries will take you and your vehicle on a memorable journey between Killimer, Co. Clare and Tarbert, Co. Kerry, across the Shannon Estuary linking the iconic tourist destinations on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Address Killimer, Kilrush, Co. Clare, V15 FK09

West Coast RID Adventures Kilrush Shanon Estuary Way

West Coast RIB Adventures

Pack your sense of adventure and get ready to explore the stunning coastal scenery of the majestic Shannon Estuary. Sea Safari and River RIB runs depart Kilrush Marina.

Address Kilrush Marina, Kilrush, Co. Clare

Access to the water

The Shannon Estuary becomes accessible to river traffic at Bunratty on the Clare side. Bunratty houses the Bunratty Search and Rescue boat from its store house here. This voluntary services is invaluable to our Community on both sides of the Shannon River. The Crew are highly trained and launch in a very short time frame. Lives are saved and often bodies are reunited with their families.

Clarecastle is a widely used entry to the the Estuary. Historically a pier of heavy goods delivery to the Capital Town of Ennis and its surrounding localities. It was a well known salmon fishing port until the late 80's. These fish made their way to all the local hotels and eateries. The Government financed a buyout of the local fishermen's licenses.  This income helped compliment the income of many families. A large fish trap is being preserved in the mudflats. This is visible in very low tides. A river walk way linked Clarecastle to Clare Abbey has been developed and opened to the public.

Farming on the Islands

The pier at Rosscliff, Ballynacally, allows easy access to the Islands on the Estuary for boating enthusiasts. Many local farmers use this pier daily to go to Coney, Deer and Low Islands. Each Island is home to a huge volume of local history. Crovraghan Pier recently improved by a local Community Project successful completed in 2020. The farming community use this crossing numerous times daily. The locally built Gandelows are moored in this inlet. The large loiters used to ferry all farming supplies ,the movement of animals and machinery on and off the islands of Inis Mac Cowney, Low Island and Cannon Island. Shore Island is also farmed.

Estuary Island History

Each Island boasts its own link to Generations and heritage of the past. Cannon Islands is home to a large Augustine Monastery dating back to 1190. Each year the local Priests says Mass in this hallowed Ruin. Large crowds from both sides of the river attend. People from Glin, Askeaton and Foynes make this Annual trip now going back for the last 30 years. Inis Mac Cowney has the remains of the old schoolhouse, a large ringfort and the ruins of many homesteads.

Island Attractions

Limestone walls are a major feature of this loving kept farmland. A number of roads allow easy travel on foot round the island. The island has wells and this was of huge importance in the past. The islands are welcoming to visitors on the main but request to leave no litter and close gates that one opens and always be cautious of livestock. The local Currach Club enjoy rowing to the islands and farther to visit historical places. Two Curraches are stored on route to the pier and two more Curraches are stored at Kildysart Pier. Lacknashannagh Pier is next avenue to the Estuary as one travels to Kildysart Village.

Religion & the Water

On the topic of water in a religious context, St Brecken’s Well, associated with cure for eye aliments, is just off the road about 300 meters after the road to Crovraghan Pier and before road to Lacknashannagh Pier. On leaving the road to access Lacknashannagh Pier you will be able to see a well-maintained holy well. This Well is known as Our Lady's Well and Mass is celebrated here on 25th August annually. In times past a religious ritual known as doing the rounds was practised here on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady on 15th August. The water is largely visible and easily accessible at the Quay in Kildysart Village on taking a left on the approach road from Ennis the large Children’s playground comes in to view on the left. Another 200m on the right showcases the Estuary spanning out to Foynes. The local burial ground comes into view. In times past this was the Protestant Church. There are many large vaults to be seen.

Estuary Lakes

There are many lakes in the Kildysart area draining into the mouth of the Estuary at the Quay. One large lake at Gortglass is well used as a local amenity for the Kayakers and the local Currach Club. Beautiful majestic swans nest here and rear their families annually. This lake is on our recently documented cycle way.

Continuing on our route, our next encounter with water is on the bridge at shore park on route to Labashheeda. The river meanders off to the estuary. In times past, in many of the villages and surrounding areas children learned to swim here. Next entry to the water is at Inis Murray about 2km down the road to Labasheeda. This pier has an extremely deep water dock. Totally redundant of former duties it allows very clear views of our neighbours on the Limerick side of Foynes and Glin. It once housed a popular all hours public house well frequented and welcomed by travelling boatmen and locals. As one travels on, picturesque views of the Shannon Estuary unfold. Limerick and Kerry are now very visible. On arriving at Labasheeda another almost redundant pier is situated on the left. A notice board reminds us of its former glory of this bed of silk. Large turf boats and other heavy goods vessels deliver daily supplies to feed the local craftsmen with wood, iron and coal and take the local farmers produce to market across the river. Past Labasheeda is Kilkerrin point. This was a focal area to save the territory from invasion in the past. A very large fortress and defense lookouts remain in good condition to the present times but now totally redundant.

Activities on Water

Activities associated with the water at present are the sailing boats housed at Foynes, the boat club at Glin, the Currach Club at Clarecastle and Kildysart and the kayaks at Kildysart and Labasheeda. Pleasure Cruisers occasionally visit the islands and Kildysart and moor at the Quay. We look forward to more boats docking as a new facility offering showers and other sanitary facilities has been effected on the Quay at Kildysart. The Gandelow boats are regularly visible as the farmers carry on their work.

Richard Noble
About Foynes Flying Boat Museum

It is much more than a museum and gives you a great insight into the excitement of early aviation- the glamour and luxury. Try and get the Irish Coffee demonstration.

About The Hunt Museum, Limerick

We expected to have a quick browse of the museum, however the fantastic tour guide Brendan kept us interested. We ended up staying for 2 hours listening to all the interesting stories.

Anna H
Vandaleur Walled Garden, Kilrush

This walled garden is a must - it really is a little gem. It's a relatively small attraction but there are no admission fees and there is a beautiful cafe on site to sit and have a bite to eat and enjoy a coffee/ ice cream.

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