Shannonbridge, Co. Offaly

Shannonbridge (Irish: Rachra) is located on the River Shannon - with one part of the town in County Roscommon and the other in County Offaly - at the junction of the R444 and R357 regional roads, 7 km (5.5 miles) south of Clonmacnoise. The town has one of the oldest bridges still in use over the River Shannon, completed in 1757.

Shannonbridge was heavily fortified by the British in the Napoleonic era. Some of the fortifications, including a fort that now houses a restaurant, are still visible today on the west bank of the river.

An Electricity Supply Board peat-fired power station with a capacity of 150 megawatts is located a few kilometres downriver. The peat is supplied from the Blackwater Bog peatlands, managed by Bord na Móna. The Clonmacnoise & West Offaly narrow-gauge railway, which is principally used to transport the peat to the power station, provides passenger tours of the peatlands.

Kileens Pub situated on the main street of shannonbridge has a rich background. It featured in the 1971 film Flight of the Doves which featured such Irish entertainers as songstress Dana Rosemary Scallon and Irish comedian Niall Toibin.

Shannonbridge is situated north of Clonmacnois, where St Ciaran founded a monastery here in 548 which became the most famous of all the monastic cities of Ireland. It flourished under the patronage of many kings; the last High King, Rory O' Conor, was buried here in 1198.


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