Field Trip:   Fort Shannon – 18 & 19 May 2023

The Artillery Club’s third Field Trip of 2023 took place on 18 and 19 May.  Captain Pete Murray (Retd) was the Trip’s Coordinator.

Arriving in Sarsfield Barracks Limerick, members of the Artillery Club and spouses were welcomed by the Mess President of the Officers’ Mess Commandant Ronan Corcoran, 12 Infantry Battalion.  Following refreshments, Captain Murray (Retd) briefed the participants and distributed the itinerary, movement plan and relevant information on Fort Shannon, including an article on Fort Shannon published in the Irish Sword – volume XXII, information on the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime, Museum, the Hydro Electricity Power Plant at Árd na Crusha, and King Johns Castle.

On arrival in the Departure Lounge of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, located at Áras Íde, we were greeted by the Museum Manager, Julie O’Donoghue.  Although the Museum was officially closed on account of construction works, the visit by the Artillery Club’s Field Trip was fully facilitated.  Mr Fintan McAvinue outlined the history of the Flying Boat which included a film on the history of Foynes, and demonstrated the skills required to make the perfect Irish Coffee with the Club’s President Colonel Patrick White in Direct Support.   Following a conducted tour of an exact replica of the B314 Flying Boat, lunch was enjoyed in the Arrival Lounge.

Thereafter, we departed in convoy for Fort Shannon, with the RV at Tarbert Bridewell, where the participants wearing Field Trip attire, car pooled, and moved to the Battery Hide at Fort Shannon.   We were received by Commandant T.J. McCarrow (Retd) Irish Coast Guard.  A verbal brief on Fort Shannon was presented by local historian Commandant Michael Guerin (Retd), supported by his publication “Soldiers – We Will Be” which includes extensive information on the Fort including documents, maps, and photographs (ISBN:978-0-9927424-2-3, Fitzsimons Printers, Shanagolden, County Limerick).

Fort Shannon is the only Coast Defence Artillery installation constructed by the State.  Constructed by the Corps of Engineers in 1942, the two 6inch B.L. MkVII on PII naval mountings were handed over to Commandant A. Shorthall of the Artillery Corps.  The Fort was evacuated on 31 May 1947.

Link to Article on Fort Shannon by Pat Dargan IMS8 Winter 2017 2018: Fort Shannon by Pat Dargan IMS8 Winter 2017 2018

Link to Article on Fort Shannon by Donard de Cogan and Seán Swords, published in Irish Sword, Vol XXII (Number 90): FORT SHANNON Corgan & Swords opt

Guided by Commandant McCarrow (Retd), with running commentary by Commandant Guerin (Retd), we viewed what the remnants of the Engine Room, a Gun Chamber, the Director Station (Command Post), Search Light Base, Pill Boxes and Plaques depicting “Corps of Engineers 1942”.  Commandant Raymond Gibney (Retd) was also in attendance.  Conditions where characteristic of Field Trips: misty weather, challenging terrain, yet alas no white tablecloths.

Following our deployment at Fort Shannon, we returned to Tarbert, availed of the car ferry to Killimer, and later in the afternoon registered for an overnight in the Bunratty Manor Hotel.  We availed of the renowned hospitality of Durty Nally’s for a most enjoyable communal dinner.

On 19 May, under Captain Murray’s stewardship we departed in convoy for ESB’s Árd na Crusha Generation Station, located in Parteen County Clare, a National Industrial Heritage site constructed during the period 1925 through 1929.  Mr Dermot Fannen, Manager Technical Services welcomed us to the Hydro Station, issued hi-vis jackets, safety hats and safety glasses.  With 43 years of experience, Dermot’s conducted tour of the living heritage of the Shannon Scheme, was informative, revealing, and at times breath-taking.  It included educational animated videos, information on the salmon and eel hatcheries, and climbing 86 steps to view the canal, locks, fish pass, and tailrace.  Dermot also brought us to the very heart of the Station with superb views of the turbine hall and access to the original control room.  At the conclusion of the very enjoyable tour, Colonel White presented Dermot with the Club’s Plaque and Tie.

Following the visit to ESB’s Árd na Crusha Generation Station , we moved to Limerick, had lunch in King John’s Castle, and subsequently visit the 13th Century Castle.  Between 2011 and 2013, the castle underwent a redevelopment, which includes a very impressive visitor centre, interactive exhibitions with computer generated animations.

Photographs courtesy of Brigadier-General Paul Pakenham (Retd), Commandant Michael Flood (Retd), and Commandant Padraic McDunphy (Retd).

To view Slide Show, please click on any of the photographs: http://