Limerick rowing towards a bright idea in local adventure tourism

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

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maria.flannery@limerickleader.ie

Limerick rowing towards a bright idea in local adventure tourism

Cllr Emmett O'Brien, Mike Grimes, Coonagh and Tommy Roberts, Clarina, rowed from Ringmoylan to Labasheeda in Clare to highlight a potential tourism attraction

LIMERICK could benefit from a new form of adventure tourism thanks to our unique position on the Shannon Estuary, according to a local councillor.

Emmett O’Brien rowed with a crew last Friday, September 1, from Ringmoylan, Pallaskenry to Labasheeda in west Clare, in a hand-built Ilen School gandelow - proof that the route could become an adventure tourism attraction.

Pallaskenry native O’Brien said that eco-adventure tourism is “not a pipe dream”, after he completed the gruelling challenge along with Mike Grimes, Coonagh and Tommy Roberts, from Newtown, Clarina.

“It was a fantastic experience to row from Ringmoylan along the Shannon Estuary, passing Beagh, Ballysteen, the Beeves lighthouse, the Fergus, Foynes Island and Kildysart,” he said.

“Limerick has a great opportunity to promote overseas adventure tourism on the Shannon Estuary. In 2011 alone, adventure tourism was worth €1.2m and the spend of activity tourism visitors is on average 45 percent higher than ordinary overseas visitors,” said Independent Cllr O’Brien.

“There is a huge opportunity to capitalise on chartered tours from the Limerick city and county side to any of the hidden gems on the Shannon Estuary,” he added.

Aiming to highlight the tourism potential of the boats, which are unique to the Shannon, the Pallaskenry councillor and avid rower said that the scenic journey is achievable for tourists who are up for a challenge.

“Our row showed us that, conceivably, subject to the right weather conditions and timing the tides accurately, adventure tourists could row from Limerick city to Loop Head in west Clare in three days.

“Alternatively if they wanted a more prolonged adventure they could over a week period explore the attractions along the estuary such as Bunratty, Beeves lighthouse, the islands and monastic settlements on the Fergus, and a whole host of villages on the estuary,” he said.

O’Brien added that Limerick and Clare have “an untapped natural resource” in the Shannon Estuary from a tourism perspective, saying that “it’s high time the tourism officers of both councils looked at what it can deliver.”