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New Maritime Museum to trace Shannon’s Past, Present and Future? … Vision 2041

24th February 2013
New Maritime Museum to trace Shannon’s Past, Present and Future? … Vision 2041

#NewMaritimeMuseum – As previously reported, Shannon Foynes Port Company's master plan 'Vision 2041' looks forward to the future and soon the past will be explored when a new maritime museum opens next month, writes Jehan Ashmore.

It was at the launch of the masterplan at the Foynes Flying Boat Maritime Museum, where the new museum (opening 14 March) will be incorporated, to trace the rich history of the Shannon Estuary.

As the largest 'navigable' estuary (500km2) in Ireland and one of the deepest waterways in Europe, the museum will not just focus on shipping, but also the geology, personality and mythology of the estuary stretching from Limerick Docks down to Loop Head, marking the mouth of Shannon.

As previously reported, vessels such as the 82,562dwt London 2012, a dry bulk-carrier (Length: 229m X Beam: 32m X Draft: 14m) had docked at the Aughinish Alumina jetty last month.The port, which is Ireland largest bulk port company can handle larger vessels up to 200,000dwt, however under Vision 2041, the Shannon estuary is to cater for the World's largest container ships as the port is strategically located as a potential hub-port in Western Europe and creation of a 'Ocean Energy Hub'.

Its prime position is to take advantage of the new 'post-Panamax' sized super container ships and tankers under construction following the completion of the enlarged Central American canal linking the huge Asian market, notably from China and or via North America and onwards to Europe.

As these developments look to the future prospects of the estuary's ports, the past will not be forgotten as the flying boat museum with its replica aircraft based in Foynes, will have a new floor dedicated to exhibits. The diversity of topics on display in the maritime museum are listed below.

• The charts and maps of the river from the time of Ptolemy.
• The geology, tides and weather of the Shannon
• The pilots who raced in their rowing boats to be the first to guide large sailing ships up the estuary
• The dockworkers loading and unloading a vast range of cargo from ocean-going ships
• The "Spring-Rice Set" —the O'Briens, De Veres and Spring Rices, who owned large tracts of land on the shores of the river but who were actively concerned in the welfare of the less fortunate people around them
• The amazing record of ships on the river left to us by Murrogh O'Brien in the form of paintings and charts
• Different types of ships and boats used on the river
• The development of Foynes Port
• Navigation of the river including the many lighthouses that guided mariners up the river
• The tragic story of the Colleen Bawn
• The story of Transportation and emigration on the river.
• Tait's manufacture and export of uniforms to the American confederates during the Civil War.
• Display with Met Maps and audio visual on weather conditions.
• Story of the Windsor Castle Ghost Ship, sailed up the Shannon in 1843.
• Audio Visual on life on the River Shannon.

The maritime museum will be opened to the public from 14 March, 9am-5pm (visitors should try and arrive an hour before closing). For further details visit:


Published in Shannon Estuary
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Shannon Foynes Port Information

Shannon Foynes Port (SFPC) are investing in an unprecedented expansion at its general cargo terminal, Foynes, adding over two-thirds the size of its existing area. In the latest phase of a €64 million investment programme, SFPC is investing over €20 million in enabling works alone to convert 83 acres on the east side of the existing port into a landbank for marine-related industry, port-centric logistics and associated infrastructure. The project, which will be developed on a phased basis over the next five years, will require the biggest infrastructure works programme ever undertaken at the port, with the entire 83 acre landbank having to be raised by 4.4 metres. The programme will also require the provision of new internal roads and multiple bridge access as well as roundabout access.