Shannon Group “have a golden opportunity” to turn an unused hotel into a historic theme park in Bunratty, local councillors have claimed.
In 2009, the Shannon Shamrock Hotel closed as a new owner could not be found to take over its operations. In April 2017, Crescent House Ltd who had taken ownership of the site submitted plans to carry out renovation works which included the partial demolition of existing structures at the rear of the building and for refurbishment and reconfiguration of the existing hotel including its 55 rooms, kitchens and bars as well as to convert the swimming pool to a function room. However the property was put up for sale last year and members of the Shannon Municipal District are encouraging Shannon Group plc to buy it.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the MD, Cllr Pat McMahon requested Clare County Council “to ask Shannon Group to seriously consider the purchase of the Shannon Shamrock Hotel, Bunratty, Co Clare to consider the creation of a historic theme park and also to alleviate car parking problems at certain times during the year”.
Speaking this week, the Fianna Fáil councillor stated, “This is an absolute eyesore on the growth of Bunratty”. He maintained the area has experienced “changes in a positive manner with tourism” since the site went up for sale. “This is an old chestnut of mine, that I first brought up at the Council thirty years ago. I said at the time two theme parks were sustainable in Ireland, we have Tayto Park and we could have this in Bunratty”.
“Shannon Development always had new ideas, Shannon Heritage’s Niall O’Callaghan could have an open mind to examine the situation. History is so much to the area and you would incorporate that”. McMahon stated 71 percent of visitors to Orlando Theme Park were adults and maintained the theme park would attract individuals aged over fifty in the autumn and children in the summer.
Fine Gael’s John Crowe seconded the motion. “This is a golden opportunity for Shannon Group, they will never get an opportunity like this again”. The Sixmilebridge councillor felt it would be a big asset to deal with parking in the popular tourist spot.
Cllr Cathal Crowe felt the site “is never going to sell unless it’s the whole package that includes the conference centre and the hotel”. He praised Cllr McMahon for being “consistent with this” and believed it would attract “a niche market”.
Sinn Féin’s Mike McKee commented, “the development of Bunratty has been tremendous”. He agreed with Cllr McMahon’s stance that the Shannon Shamrock was now an eyesore and pointed a few miles in the direction of Limerick for how much of a difference a fresh look has, “the Two Mile Inn looks brilliant now”.