The Shannon Estuary Way is a spectacular drive off the Wild Atlantic Way where the serene Shannon meets the wild waters of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Linking the Wild Atlantic Way with its neighbours Kerry and Clare, this 207km looped driving route will bring you through all three counties in one day! Here we’ve rounded up some recommended stops along the Limerick leg of the journey, so set the compass west, follow the scenic N69 from Limerick City and discover these hidden gems for yourself!
1. Reel it in at Bleach Lough
Bleach Lough combines the peace and tranquility of the Limerick countryside with exceptional game and coarse fishing. Located near Dromore Castle in scenic west Limerick, this 55-acre spring water lake offers anglers some of the very best rainbow and brown trout fishing. A permit is required and is available through Bleach Lough Anglers – be sure to drop them a line!
2. Watch the tide roll away at Ringmoylan Pier
Head off the beaten track and follow the curving country roads to discover one of Limerick’s hidden gems. With the sheltered Shannon waters serving as a magnificent backdrop, Ringmoylan offers unrivaled views along the estuary and across to neighbouring County Clare. The scenery is spectacular at any given time, but we’re sure you’ll agree the shoreline at sunset is simply beautiful!
3. Talk to the animals at Stonehall Wildlife Park
Looking for a fun-filled family day on the Shannon Estuary Way? No prob-llama – Stonehall Wildlife Park has you covered! Home to a host of animals from exotic meerkats and wallabies, chatty cockatoo Paddy and lots of friendly farmyard favourites, there are plenty of curious creatures waiting to greet you here! The indoor play area complete with bouncing castle and enchanted fairy garden and nature trail are sure to be a big hit with all the family too!
Tickets can only be purchased online.
4. Pack a picnic and head for Currraghchase Forest Park
If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise! Curraghchase Forest Park is the perfect picnic spot with 300 hectares of rolling parkland, woodland walks and lakes just waiting to be enjoyed. Nestled among the trees is Curraghchase Café serving tasty treats, where you’ll also find a sweet little fairy trail, playground and double decker bus with upstairs slide!
5. Explore the hidden histories of Askeaton Castle & Franciscan Friary
Believed to be the oldest town in County Limerick, Askeaton features an impressive ancient architectural landscape in the form of Askeaton Castle and Franciscan Friary, a formidable medieval fortress and monastic site on the banks of the River Deel. With free tours on offer throughout the summer months, your local guide will regale you with tales of rituals and rebellion as they bring to life the many colourful characters that inhabited this historical stronghold!
6. Get that floral feeling at Knockpatrick and Ballynacourty Gardens
Summer’s here and what better way to embrace nature than a leisurely wander around one of Limerick’s gorgeous gardens!
Award-winning Knockpatrick Gardens enjoys a wonderful location overlooking the scenic Shannon Estuary. The garden is almost 100 years old and is home to a colourful collection of rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, bamboos, poppies, trees, ferns and grasses.
Nearby, Ballynacourty Gardens have been designed as a delightful series of small interlinked areas – one with a laburnum walk planted with lavender, another with vegetables (just enough for the house use!) while another is full of soft fruit and flowers.
7. Seas the day at Beagh Castle
Proudly perched on the banks of the Shannon Estuary is Beagh Castle, an impressive 13th Century fortress built on the site of a former Viking settlement. Breathe in the sea air, soak up the scenery and surround yourself in nature! With Shannon Airport located directly across the estuary, plane spotters might be lucky enough catch a glimpse of aircraft arrivals overhead!
8. Enjoy action packed fun at Basecamp Adventure Park
If you’re after an epic day out with a difference, look no further than Basecamp Action Adventure Park! Located deep in the woods in the heart of County Limerick, this 80-acre outdoor adventure park has plenty of action packed activities on offer – pummel your pals with paintballs, master the perfect shot at 3D forest archery, or battle it out to become the ultimate splatball champion!
9. Swing into summer at Abha Bhán Playground
School’s out for summer which means one thing – outdoor playgrounds are in full swing! Abha Bhán Community Park & Playground’s riverside setting is the perfect spot to sit and relax while energetic kids explore the beautifully crafted outdoor play area and sensory garden. The park is fully wheelchair accessible and includes an accessible toilet and wheelchair-friendly trampoline so it’s child’s play for all!
10. Prepare for takeoff at Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum
Further along the Shannon Estuary Way Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum excitingly captures the story of how the quaint village became one of the great aviation hubs of the world since the first transatlantic flights in 1937. Climb on board a B314 flying boat replica and enjoy a realistic flight simulator; visit Hollywood legend Maureen O'Hara’s exhibition; or take part in an Irish coffee masterclass in the very building the famous drink was invented. While in Foynes, be sure to scan the waters for bottle-nosed dolphins!
11. Follow in Taylor Swift’s footsteps on Glin’s Heritage Trails
Further west lies the picturesque village of Glin, rich in heritage, culture and folklore. The village boasts sweeping views across the stunning Shannon Estuary and surrounding countryside, best appreciated from Glin Heritage Walking Trails, enjoyed by superstar Taylor Swift during her Christmas vacation in nearby Glin Castle!
The Vikings founded Limerick in 922 and they were well up for a summer celebration. Since then, we’ve had 11 centuries to perfect the art of the brilliant summer and we think this one will be our best yet. Head straight to Limerick.ie/11 to find out more and plan your break.