The home of Ireland’s White-tailed eagles, Mountshannon is a very popular destination for Shannon cruisers. Located in County Clare, this small and beautifully scenic village is just a short stroll from the popular marina, which provides visitors with a wonderful view of the lough and its islands. The village is known for its relaxing atmosphere and also as the base point for tourists looking to travel to the famous Inis Cealtra (Holy Island). The Eagles which nest near Mountshannon attract bird watchers from all over Ireland so do try and catch a glimpse of these wonderful birds.
Holy Island is located 2km from Mountshannon and is a 6th century monastic site. The site comprises a round tower and several church ruins, along with holy crosses and a holy well. It also contains an ancient stone with a hole in it, through which lovers hold hands and promise to be forever true. The island has had a chequered history over the past fourteen centuries and visits can be obtained via a guided tour bookable from Mountshannon (Contact Ger Madden on 086 8749710). The beautiful Aister Park in the centre of town is well worth a visit. The park has a playground and a maze which depicts spirituality in Ireland over thousands of years. It is a peaceful sanctuary that complements the special scenery of the village.
Just opposite the park is the lovely Snug Restaurant which is a very popular and cosy place to dine. The Snug even offer a deliciously unique breakfast pizza which is certainly worth trying out. Bourkes Grocery and Galley coffee shop is also located on the main street and is wonderful place to relax and stock up on supplies. Across the road from the Galley is a locally run craft shop which showcases some fine handmade items which make for great souvenirs.
The town was founded and built in 1742 by a merchant named Alexander Woods. He was given a lease on a 10,000 acre plot with the aim of building an industrial town. Weaving and linen became the principal trades and the market building in the centre of town dates back to this period. In time, the linen industry began to decline and life in the town became very difficult. During the Great Famine in the 1840s the population was decimated as families began to emigrate, with Canada being the most popular destination. In the 1920s the Irish Land Commission divided the large estates of the area amongst the local farmers, thus bringing an end to the dominance of wealthy landlords in the town.
Other activities include fishing and walking trails and Woodpark Pitch and Putt is located 1 km south of the town. The harbour has a semi-enclosed shallow swimming area which is great for children.
Mountshannon is a very popular destination for fly fishing and attracts anglers from all over the world during the mayfly season.