Limerick river revival plans aiming to boost tourism

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Minister for Education Jan O'Sullivan with Jack, who has ensured his safety before sailing the Shannon!
MANAGEMENT at Ardnacrusha hydroelectric power station have said they are open to discussions with interest groups utilising the River Shannon, after the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan launched a six-point plan to revive the city’s marine attractions.

MANAGEMENT at Ardnacrusha hydroelectric power station have said they are open to discussions with interest groups utilising the River Shannon, after the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan launched a six-point plan to revive the city’s marine attractions.

The draft plans, made by river enthusiasts based in Limerick, aim to benefit local tourism, heritage and education. The proposals will be put forward to Waterways Ireland for consideration.

Proposals include installing mooring posts at Lysaght’s Pool, establishing a navigation route to Brown’s Quay with shore access, and developing a new marina in Grove Island.

Minister O’Sullivan, who spoke to several boating enthusiasts at Custom House Quay at the launch last week, said that the use of the River Shannon could make benefit of the growth in tourism currently being attracted to the Wild Atlantic Way.

“Navigation on the Shannon is very big, but Limerick is the city on the Shannon. Yet, most people feel they can’t safely get to Limerick, so it is a huge loss to Limerick at the present time,” she said.

She added that the main point of the plan was to “clear the access on the Shannon”.

River boat enthusiast Pat Lysaght said that he believed the river Shannon was not being used to its “best extent”, and noted that the river can be dangerous to travel while the hydro station is in generation mode.

According to plant manager Alan Bane, the Ardnacrusha station issues notices to river users two days in advance before the station starts to generate, which he said helps to ensure travellers’ safety.

“We facilitate boaters as much as we can, those coming up and down,” he said. “If people need to request that they have to come down early or late, we are quite flexible around those arrangements.

“There is also a responsibility on the boaters themselves to ensure that their boats are up to the task. If they are going through a river with high flow, they would ensure that they are compatible,” Mr Bane explained.

He said that when the Station is generating, the river flow becomes faster, which can be dangerous for boaters as a result.