View over Shannon, with the industrial area
on the left and the housing on the right.
Shannon is a town in County Clare, named after the river near which it stands. It was given town status on 1 January 1982. The town is located just off the N19 road, a spur of the N18/M18 road between Limerick and Ennis. It is the location of Shannon Airport, an international airport serving the Clare/Limerick region in the west of Ireland.
Shannon is a new town. Spearheaded by Brendan O'Regan, it was built in the 1960s on reclaimed marshland alongside Shannon Airport, along with the Shannon Free Zone industrial estate. The residential areas were intended as a home for the thousands of workers at the airport, surrounding industries and support services. Population growth was never as fast as planned throughout the first few decades of the town's existence. This was partly due to the proximity of 'friendly' places to live, such as Ennis town and Limerick city, or even the nearby village of Newmarket-on-Fergus.
The 'planned' nature of this town did not necessarily result in a successful town. It was lacking in facilities, and the town's shopping centre was also of poor design. Shops fronted onto pedestrian malls that were originally uncovered, allowing estuary winds and rain to strike at shoppers. The early low-cost housing located in Drumgeely, near the airport were poor-quality terraced housing.
Shannon was located in the Roman Catholic parish of Newmarket-on-Fergus in the Diocese of Killaloe, and at first a priest in residence of the airport served the population. In 1966 St Senan’s School was opened and Mary Immaculate Church was built on Corrib Drive. On 24 December 1967 the parish of Shannon was created. For a short period a group of Dominican Sisters of England had a community in the parish. In 1974 they were replaced by the Sisters of Mercy. The church of Saints John and Paul was opened in Tullyvarraga in 1980. Other churches are the Adoration Chapel in and the Shannon Airport Oratory.
St John's Church of Ireland School was the very first school established in Shannon in 1962, Christ Church Shannon opened in 1962 also serving members of the reformed faiths, however it is closed at the present time, with the Church of Ireland community is served by the Drumcliffe Union and the Methodist community served by a lay pastor.
The population grew significantly in the 1990s, and new modern housing developments continued to be built. Facilities in the town are slowly improving; for example, a second major supermarket opened, with the shopping centre being expanded by the addition of the modern "Skycourt" complex.
The main road through Shannon was remodelled following the opening of the bypass of Newmarket-on-Fergus. New units continue to open in the industrial estates.
Education in Shannon
There are two secondary education institutes in the town, St Patrick's Comprehensive School and St Caimin's Community School. St Patrick's Comprehensive School opened in 1966 as Ireland's first comprehensive school. It has been serving the town since and is due an extension to increase its capacity to over 900 pupils.
There is one tertiary institution in Shannon. The Shannon College of Hotel Management, which opened in 1951. Since 2015 it has been an official college of the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Shannon Free Zone is Ireland's largest cluster of North American investments. Since its establishment in 1959, more than 110 overseas companies have chosen to open subsidiaries in Shannon. Major companies in Shannon include global market leaders as Symantec, Avocent, Genworth Financial, Lufthansa Technik, Mentor Graphics, RSA Security, Molex, GE Capital, Ingersoll Rand, Intel and Digital River. Aer Rianta International, a subsidiary of Dublin Airport Authority, has its head office on the grounds of Shannon Airport. When Eirjet existed, its head office was located on the grounds of Shannon Airport.
- "Tributes paid to Clare man who pioneered duty free at Shannon". Irish Times. 4 February 2008. http://www.irishtimes.com/business/tributes-paid-to-clare-man-who-pioneered-duty-free-at-shannon-1.890624.
- "Our Town," www.shannon.ie
- "Shannon". Diocese of Killaloe. http://www.killaloediocese.ie/parish/shannon/. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "Shannon Churches". Diocese of Killaloe. http://www.killaloediocese.ie/parish/shannon/church.html. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "Gaelscoil Donncha Rua, Shannon, Co. Clare". http://www.gdr.ie/. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
- "St John's National School, Shannon". http://www.stjohnsns.org/. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
- An Economic Overview of Ireland's Shannon Region February 2012, p. 14]
- "Contact Us." Aer Rianta International. Retrieved on 7 July 2010.
- "home." Eirjet. 1 July 2006. Retrieved on 15 September 2010.
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