The story of the Shannon estuary might well be one of neglect, except that against the odds this waterway has become one of Ireland's greatest natural resources.
Windswept, sitting on the edge of the Atlantic, often ignored by the nation. The story of the Shannon estuary might well be one of neglect, except that against the odds this waterway has become one of Ireland's greatest natural resources.
A new four-part documentary series, from the makers of RTÉ's The Bay and The Harbour series, uncovers the secrets of the Shannon Estuary. From flying boats to film-making, wildlife to wind-farms, the series reveals how a 100km-stretch of the Shannon waterway has become a hotbed for innovation in Ireland.
Up to 40% of Irish energy needs are met here, on the shores of a waterway that is also home to Ireland's second largest airport, a 10,000 student university and a massive cargo port.
Ireland - and the world - has learned from the estuary. The first duty free shop was opened here, along with the first industrial free zone. Over the years, thousands of business and political leaders from across the globe have come to Shannon to discover its secret - in the hope that they might copy it.
Long before Ireland heard of green energy, this place was producing it. As east coast over-development threatens to choke the life from the national economy, this place offers a way out of the nightmare. Into the future, gas pumped ashore here may well secure Ireland's energy independence, while Europe's super-port on the estuary may yet lead to the construction of the first tunnel from Ireland to Wales.
And amid all this industry, there's room for the wildlife and leisure. Ireland's largest resident pod of dolphins are here, along with a vibrant sailing, rowing and canoeing community, while the Shannon's shores boast some of the best golf courses in the world.
The Estuary is a voyage of discovery, a chance to jump in and explore Ireland's best-kept secret. Find out what Irish structure is up there with the Eiffel Tower and the Space Shuttle. Listen in to dolphin conversations beneath the Shannon's waterline. Uncover the mystery of the Ark, the church on wheels built by a priest who prayed when the tide went out.
Narrated by Brenda Fricker, the series airs on Friday nights at 7.30pm on RTÉ One from May 4th.