About Our Local Heritage

Early History

Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress (an earthen mound with a strong wooden tower on top) in 1250. His lands were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants

MacNamaras and O’Briens

The powerful MacNamara family built the present structure around 1425 but by 1475 it had became the stronghold of the O’Briens, the largest clan in North Munster. They ruled the territory of North Munster and lived in great splendor. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was reputed to have a herd of 3,000 deer.

See more at: www.shannonheritage.com

Plantation Families

Bunratty Castle and its lands were granted to various Plantation families, the last of whom was the Studdart family. They left the castle in 1804 (allowing it to fall into disrepair), to reside in the more comfortable and modern Bunratty House, which is open to the public in the grounds of the Folk Park.

See more at: www.shannonheritage.com


Jiang Zemin (front row, third from right) pictured on his visit to Shannon in 1980. Photograph: Courtesy of Shannon Group Pl

Shannon – an Irish town inspiring China’s economic boom 

This article refers to an article on ww.theGuardian.com click here

“Created in 1959 to lure foreign investors with tax breaks, the Shannon Free Zone proved revolutionary across the world. But in today’s world of looser trade and tax havens, Ireland’s innovators face an uphill battle to stay relevant.

When Wen Jiabao visited the small Irish town of Shannon in 2005, it was like a religious pilgrimage for the then Chinese premier and arguably the world’s second most powerful man. He was the latest in a long line of high-level Chinese dignitaries to come and pay their respects to the site on the west coast of Ireland where they believe China’s rise to superpower status really began.” ..


Heritage Research

The information and content of this page have been prepared by the Shannon Community heritage appreciation group. The information summarises the history of Shannon Town, Sixmilebridge, Bunratty and other villages in the area. We would be more than interested to hear you stories or accounts of any snippets of history from any of the areas around Shannon.

Timeline of Our Local History

Local Historical Sites

Photo & Video Gallery