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Uniformed community approach key to sustaining tourism – Power

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Shannon Estuary Glamping was established by Frank Power in the interest of tourism development in the Shannon Estuary.

In 2000, having worked in Broadcasting in London for 12 years previously, Frank decided to return home to Kildysart to pursue his desire to evolve rural development in the Shannon Estuary region.

Frank was invited to Dáil Éireann to give a presentation to the Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport on the Shannon Estuary Way, with the vision to create a new standalone identity, delineating from that of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Applauded by the Minister, he then put the question to Frank as to how he envisaged developing the Shannon Estuary Way. “That was the start of it. I then looked at what needed to be offered. Accommodation immediately stood out. I did some research and came up with the idea of glamping because that was starting to become very popular,” Frank comments.

Glamping incorporates all the traditional elements of camping but makes it glamorous, Frank informs. Comforts such as bed linen, a double bed, electricity and heating are offered. Shower, toilets, two catering units and a public hangout or Glamping Den with access to the estuary, are all available on site. Traditional fire pits are lit every night by Frank who lives on site and is available to assist at all times. Having been closed for the best part of the year due to Covid, Frank is looking forward to welcoming back customers, having gotten the green light to open on the 18th of December.

“I had a booking last Christmas, with those guests coming back again this time. We have been very successful since opening considering we are in a remote location between Kildysart and Labasheeda. With social media and referrals, we have had people from all over Europe, America, Canada and Australia. There was one weekend here where it was like the United Nations. We had people from Dubai, New Zealand, a young couple from Australia and a few from Germany. We never want to over develop here because my principle is always to respect your natural environment. Our development is always going to remain with that ethos in mind,” Frank states.

Frank references the continual development of the Shannon Estuary Way with café’s and pottery studio’s opening up in Kildysart and Labasheeda. Frank affirms that the Estuary Islands are the main focus of development at the moment and has recently completed an audio guide on the Shannon Estuary from Quin Abbey to Kilrush, detailing the history and legends of castles and fortresses speckled along the way. Cycle and walking routes are also due to open up, Frank adds. The Shannon Estuary Glamping project was the first which looked at incorporating Limerick and North Kerry in the plan also.

Frank adds a final touch to his vision, stating, “As we move forward it’s not about individual projects here and there, it’s about linking all of them together so that we are uniformed, and community based. We would like to start holding festivals in different areas, river festivals, combining all our communities. The feedback I get most from our guests here, is that they want to hear about that community spirit.”

An avid reader from a young age, Cian’s love of the archives has been shared by Clare Echo readers who enjoy his Reeling in The Years section. Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton were his favourites writers in his younger years while he was always a fan of studying the opinion columns in The Irish Independent. A past pupil of Lissycasey National School and St Flannan’s College, he is currently completing his final year studies at the University of Limerick in New Media and English. From September, he will be commencing a Masters Degree in Journalism at UL.

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