The Region offers extensive activities and leisure options:
Ireland’s traditional preoccupation with horses and horseriding is particularly evident throughout the Shannon Region. Trail riding and treking are available in: Ennis, Newmarket on Fergus, Killaloe, Mountshannon, Quin, Clonlara, Scariff, Kilkee and Kilrush. There is also a riding school in Kinvara.
The Burren is noted for it’s many chartered caves for experienced and well equipped pot-holers. For example, Poll na Gollum near Ballyvaughan, has nearly 12 km of charted passageways available to the experienced caver.
The wide-open spaces and hills are also ideal for cycling, with bike rental outlets in many towns.
There is nothing more refreshing and invigorating than a walk along the ocean, with the winds sweeping in from the Atlantic. Clare with its long and rugged coastline has a variety of uncrowded beaches or safe sandy coves for the walker. Kilkee and Lahinch are the two premier seaside resorts with magnificent golden beaches and numerous attractions to suit all ages. Bishop’s Quarter at Ballyvaughan, Fanore, White Strand and Spanish Point are other main beaches. Continuing south along the Clare coast, in addition to Kilkee, Seafield at Quilty and the White Strands at Doonbeg are ideal for walking.
Ireland’s only resident group of over 100 bottlenose dolphins live in the Shannon Estuary. The magnificent dolphins can be observed, on most days, feeding, travelling and playing. They can be viewed from the boats that undertake special tours and every encounter with the dolphins is different, determined by the dolphins themselves. Boats operate from Dolphin Watch, Carrigaholt Pier and Kilrush Creek Marina througout the summer. (The trips last approximately 2 hours)
Sailing and Watersports
The unrivalled asset of Lough Derg and the Shannon waterway provide world-class water skiing and other water sport facilities, including cruising, sail boarding, canoeing, game and coarse angling, windsurfing and kyaking.
Mountshannon has become an outstanding sailing location. The new,greatly extended, harbour is one of the principal stopping places on the lake for hire- cruisers and other boats, as well as providing an access point for the Iniscealtra Sailing Club’s numerous craft moored offshore.
Killaloe should be mentioned for its importance as a boating centre. There are facilities for sailing and water-skiing and a large marina. Killaloe is also a base for a number of hire-cruiser companies.
The activity centre in Kirush provides a wide range of equitment and tuition for the watersports enthusiast.
On the Southern shores of Galway Bay, Ballyvaughan harbour offers pleasure craft including an expanding sailing fleet and is a starting point for boat trips to the islands.
The clean clear waters off the Atlantic coast are perfect snorkelling and scuba diving. A little further afield, there are shark, skate and tope to test the mettle of the deep sea enthusiast.
Visit the Islands
Historic Scattery Island, where St Senan founded a monastic settlement in the 6th century is less than 2 miles from Kilrush Marina.
The Aran Islands are one of the last outposts of Gaelic civilisation where Irish is still the spoken language are 30 minutes by Ferry from Doolin.
Travel to Holy Island (Inis Cealtra), one of Ireland’s most famous monastic sites, from Mountshannon. Its many attractions include a well preserved Round Tower, the ruins of 6 churches and an extraorinary cell like structure.
There are a myriad of other activities:
agricultural study tours, archery, art, bird-watching, cookery, craft shopping, garden visits, health farm holidays, history tours, language learning, orienteering, painting, photography, Shannon cruising, shopping, textile design, tennis, karting, wild flower rambles and more.