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Guide : Driving Shannon Estuary Drive

A new touring route developed by Fáilte Ireland encouraging tourists to visit gateway towns of Limerick and Ennis. The Shannon Estuary Drive is a 207km touring route branching off the Wild Atlantic Way route, this loops from Limerick taking you further west towards Tarbet ferry where you catch a ferry to Kilimer and returning to Limerick.

Take a tour bus, cycle, or rent a car. Car hire Shannon Airport is 30 minutes away from Limerick City which is an ideal destination to fly into and hiring a car to join the Shannon Estuary Drive and also connecting to the Wild Atlantic Way.


  • Shannon Estuary Drive Map
  • How long does it take to drive?
  • When to visit?
  • Highlights
  • Alternative driving routes

  • Shannon Estuary Drive Map

    Limerick City – Kilcornan -  Askeaton -  Foynes -  Tarbert -  Killimer -  Labasheeda – Killydysert – Clarecastle -  Bunratty - Limerick City.  This route can be travelled in any direction and from any starting point.

    See the route on the map below.

    How long to do the looped drive?

    207km doesn't take long by driving and to do the full loop without stopping would take about 3 hours & half hours without traffic. A full day at a comfortable pace will allow you to enjoy the highlights around the Shannon Estuary and lots of places of interests & scenic viewpoints along the route.

    Take note of the Tarbet ferry times and runs on a hourly basis, see their timetable here. The ferry takes 20 mins to cross the estuary linking to County Clare. Quiet often you see dolphins swimming alongside the ferry.

    When is a great time to visit Shannon Estuary?

    If you are planning to do this looped drive, you may prefer to visit outside the high season. Popular season in Ireland is between July and August, visiting in May/June or September will allow you to visit without the high season rates.

    Shannon Estuary Highlights:

    Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum

    An excellent collection and story telling bringing you back to the 1930s and 40s when Foynes played an important part of building commercial transatlantic passenger flights. The musuem has an interactive exhibitions of the trade and industry, shipping folklore, leisure, and maritime heritage of the River Shannon, its local families, and their influence on the development of Foynes. Visit the website

    Tarbet Ferry & Dolphins

    A relaxing 20 minute ferry bringing you from Country Kerry to County Clare. Dolphin spotting during the journey is a lovely highlight with pretty backdrops.

    Seaside villages

    Drop into one of seaside villages' hotels and eateries for a spot of lunch along the Estuary. Labasheeda - the name means 'Bed of Silk' and Killydysert is a fishing village.

    Bunratty Village

    Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, an medieval fortress which you can find situated outside Shannon which pulls in thousands visitors each year. The castle was erected in 1425 and was rebuilt in the mid-1900s. It now houses a magnificent array of both medieval & early Renaissance artwork and furniture that magically carry visitors back in time.

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    Alternative driving routes in Ireland:

    • Ring of Kerry - The Famous Ring of Kerry
    • The Sky Road - "The Capital of Connemara", County Galway
    • Slea Head - Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
    • Healy Pass - The Healy Pass is a winding mountain road between Adrigole in Co. Cork and Lauragh in Co. Kerry
    • The Ring of Beara - Located in Co. Kerry and Co. Cork with 137km driving route
    • Causeway Coastal Route - The Causeway Coastal Route offers an epic tour of the Northern Ireland coast
    • Lough Inagh Drive - 165 km of the Galway coast
    • The Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland’s first and only 2,500km driving route, which will stretch along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork.

    Where to rent a car?

    Irish Car Rentals has 16+ locations from the primary airports - Shannon Airport, Dublin Airport and pick up locations in available from Galway, Cork and more.

    If you have any questions for car rental Limerick or Shannon Airport services, please contact us.