Shannon Airport (SNN)

Shannon is a very new town, built in the 1960s on reclaimed marshland. Though intended as a home for the thousands of workers at the airport, Shannon didn't see the growth that was intended for quite a while. This was due in part to the proximity of quaint, well-established towns like Limerick and Ennis. A mere 12 miles from Shannon, Ennis is even a winner of the 2005 Irish Tidy Towns Competition — an annual competition that honors the tidiest and most attractive cities, towns and villages in Ireland.

Besides having the second largest airport in Ireland, Shannon's bread and butter is the Shannon Free Zone — Ireland's largest cluster of North American investments with more than 110 overseas companies. During the last couple decades, Shannon has seen major growth in both population and development. New modern housing, the Skycourt Shopping Center and a lobby for railway services that connect Shannon to Ennis and Limerick are all good signs that Shannon town is on the upswing.

The Beauty of County Clare

Despite all this industry, Shannon is situated in County Clare, home to some of Ireland's most picturesque and recognizable sights. Rent a car and head to the Cliffs of Moher for one of the best views in Ireland. Standing 230 meters above the ground, you can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay and the valleys of Connemara on a clear day.

Another must is a trip out to the Bunratty Castle. Restored in 1954 and decorated with a marvelous collection of 15th and 16th Century hand carved furnishings and tapestries, Bunratty Castle is famous for its medieval banquets, held twice nightly all year round. Set in the sand dunes of west County Clare and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, avid and occasional golfers alike will revel in the rolling beauty of Lahinch Golf Club, one of the most respected links courses in the world and home of two of the most famous holes in Irish golf: "Klondyke" and "Dell". Klondyke starts with a drive into a scenic valley, then presents a completely blind second shot over a monstrous dune. Dell, the most photographed and controversial short holes in golf, is set in between two steep dunes and completely blind from the tee.

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