Situated beside the Shannon Estuary, Shannon was created in 1959 as a concept town, built on reclaimed marshland alongside Shannon Airport and Shannon’s Industrial Estate and was home to the worlds first duty free airport.
This combination of airport and industrial estate attracted many foreign multi-national companies to setup operations in Shannon which brought employment and a uniquely cosmopolitan community to the area with English, South African, German, Swiss, Dutch and American nationalities settling and raising families.
Since those early years, Shannon has grown and developed to become an important industry hub and source of employment for the region.
When Wen Jiabao visited the small Irish town of Shannon in 2005, it was like a religious pilgrimage for the then Chinese premier and arguably the world’s second most powerful man. He was the latest in a long line of high-level Chinese dignitaries to come and pay their respects to the site on the west coast of Ireland where they believe China’s rise to superpower status really began. Source
Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress (an earthen mound with a strong wooden tower on top) in 1250. His lands were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants
The powerful MacNamara family built the present structure around 1425 but by 1475 it had became the stronghold of the O’Briens, the largest clan in North Munster. They ruled the territory of North Munster and lived in great splendor. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was reputed to have a herd of 3,000 deer.
Bunratty Castle and its lands were granted to various Plantation families, the last of whom was the Studdart family. They left the castle in 1804 (allowing it to fall into disrepair), to reside in the more comfortable and modern Bunratty House, which is open to the public in the grounds of the Folk Park.
When Thomas Dineley visited Sixmilebridge in 1681 it was a well-established developed town. In his account of how to reach Limerick from Bunratty Dineley explains how Sixmilebridge was named: “From Bunratty, the seat of the Earl of Thomond, into the town of Sixmilebridge, belonging also to that noble family.
The area of Cratloe is first mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters, where it is recorded that in 376 AD,Crimthann mac Fidaig, King of Munster and High King of Ireland died in the Cratloe area from poison administered by his sister, Mongfind, who wished for her son Brión mac Echach Muigmedóin to be High King.
Newmarket On Fergus
The English rendering of the name ‘Newmarket-on-Fergus’ probably owes its origin to the fact that an older ‘Market’ at nearby Bunratty (on the Ogarney River) predated the ‘newer’ market located at the village and hence Newmarket-on-Fergus.
There is also a popular myth attributing the name-change to Lord Inchiqin who supposedly renamed the village after the famous racecourse, and following a victory at the horse-racing centre in England having wagered Dromoland Estate on the race.