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The Callows of the River Shannon...Any info??


Hi Michele and everybody who has made it here to the new forum!


As usual my biologist hubby has expressed an interest in an aspect of Ireland which is difficult to research:    The Callows of the River Shannon, apparently a biologist's dream...  My job is to plan our summer 2006 trip to Ireland (our first visit!), and I would appreciate any tips on getting more info on this biology subject (see below)...


I bought a book with great photos, 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die, by Michael Bright.  Well, it mentions the Callows of the River Shannon, Offaly, Ireland.  Habitat: Plant-rich summer watermeadows, winter river floodplains.  Area:  approx. 241,00 acres.  


According to this book, "Though grazed, the callows have not been plowed, drained, re-sown, or artificially fertilized for around 1,400 years, creating a completely natural environment.  Consequently, the area hosts the kind of wildflower community long vanished elsewhere in Europe.  Some 216 plant species have been recorded here, including many orchids and grass communities where up to 10 species occur together."


A clue to the location of these callows: Apparently they occur wherre the River Shannon runs through the Central region of Ireland around County Limerick.  The river apparently drops 40 feet in 25 miles.


And that's about all it says.  Nothing specific about where exactly is this area, how do you get there, where would you stay, etc.  Any info would be greatly appreciated!  Perhaps somebody can point me in the right direction for getting more info.  Michele?  Help!  You have been so great with all the help you've given me! 


I think we're going to have a great 1st trip to Ireland, but planning the biology parts of the visit is more difficult.


Depending on what info I uncover, we might substitute the Callows of the River Shannon for the Killarney National Park visit.  (This is part of our June/July 2006 planned visit, 15 nights.)  We could also miss the Rock of Cashel if necessary...


I will be travelling with hubby the biologist, and with 1 or 2 young adult daughters (ages 18 and 19).


Before my hubby spied the Callows in the book, our plan was looking like this:


Fly into Shannon.


3 nights:  Lisdoonvarna (The Burren, Cliffs of Moher)


3 nights:  Dingle (Dingle Peninsula, Great Blasket Island)


1 night:  Killarney National Park


1 night:  Cashel (Rock of Cashel)


2 nights:  Trim  (Trim Castle, Newgrange)


3 nights:  Belfast area (to visit places where my Irish grandmother grew up)


2 nights:  Dublin


Fly home 


Many thanks!  On the original forum, I think I was Melissa2Ireland, or somebody...can't remember exactly...gosh, I'm having an identity crisis.


 


 


 


 


 


 



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Melissa,


Glad to see you made the transition to the new forum. The Shannon Callows cover a large area between Lough Ree and Lough Derg but some of the best places to view them are from bridges across the Shannon in places like Banagher & Shannonbridge. Clonmacnois is also part of the callows and you may want to add it to your itinerary. It is just south of Athlone near Shannonbridge. I think you may just have to make another trip to Ireland after your first one to satisfy your husband.


See the following links for more extensive info:


http://www.shannonregiontourism.ie/content.asp?id=235


http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/bwi/pages092003/consvwork/reserves/Shannon%20Callows.pdf


http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/bwi/pages092003/consvwork/reserves.html


http://homepage.eircom.net/~clonownns/callows.htm


http://www.offalyhistory.com/content/offaly/offaly_landscape.htm


http://walks.iwai.ie/callows/clonfert.shtml


http://walks.iwai.ie/callows/index.shtml


http://shr.iwai.ie/history.html


Have fun reading!


Michele


 


 



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of course, you could always take a boat trip down the River Shannon ... heh, heh, heh


Bill



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Melissa,


You can read all about Bill's adventures on the Shannon River and the callows in his trip report: http://www.geocities.com/obeirne_ireland_2003/ It is quite a story!


Michele



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Thanks for the info!


Hi Michelle, thanks for the great web-sites on the Callows of the River Shannon.  Don't know what I'd do without you.  Using the excellent web-sites you provided, my hubby has decided that although the Callows are interesting, for his biological interests, he would prefer to see the Killarney National Park or the MacGillicuddy's Reeks.


Thanks to you and other great sources, I have info to help plan a visit to Killarney National Park.


However, I don't have info on MacGillicuddy's Reeks.  I am trying to figure out whether this can be a day-trip, from the Killarney area, or whether it involves some major mountain climbing, in which case it wouldn't work for this trip.  Can you recommend any great web-sites for researching the biology of MacGillicuddy's Reeks?  I can't even figure out where we would stay for a visit to MacGillicuddy's Reeks.


Thankfully hubby has conceded that it's okay if this trip to Ireland isn't really focused on biology, as long as we can include at least the Burren and the Palm House in Belfast.  So, my biology search is almost at an end!


I have had some trouble figuring out how to post on your new forum, and have arrived here somehow, by some miracle, without being entirely sure how I got here!  Oh, I am so technologically behind 


Plus, my keyboard decided to stop working this week and I had to get a new one.  



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RE: The Callows of the River Shannon...Any info??


Melissa:


There are a few ways to get yourself into MacGillycuddy's Reeks. There are some roads through there, there are certainly some hiking trails or you could do a Gap of Dunloe tour. The Gap of Dunloe tour will take you through the mountains (you can walk, bike or take a jaunting car) then you get back to Killarney via a boat ride through the lakes. There are companies that do the tours that include a ride to Kate Kearney's Cottage where the tour begins. from there it is up to you to decide how you get over the gap. You can negotiate for a jaunting car or walk (it's about 8 miles and will take 3-4 hours probably) or bike (not sure where you get those). My family did the jaunting car and I'm not sure I would do it again. It's not a terribly long walk and on the jaunting car you half to get out and walk on the steep hills anyway because the horse can't pull you. I walked a pretty good distance while the family road and I kept up pretty well, even taking pictures. The tour price also includes the boat ride and a bus trip back from Ross Castle where the boats drop you off.


This is a pretty nice tour. You can save a few bucks if you figure ways to get to Kate Kearney's and then back to your car at the end. I thought this was a great way to spend a day. Figure the tour runs 10-4, the boats leave at about 2:00 as I remember. I believe that you can do it backwards also, starting with the boat tour.


Here is a link to the page where I discuss the tour. http://www.geocities.com/obeirne_ireland_2003_2/sneem2


Have fun!


Bill



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To: Bill Re: MacGillicuddy's Reeks


Bill, thanks for the info on MacGillicuddy's Reeks.  Hubby and I will dive into the link you provided and check things out.  there is tons of info on some aspects of Ireland, but info on other aspects is sometimes hard to come by.  The places on the popular tourist list tend to have the most info that is easiest to find.


I'm not sure that MacGillicuddy's Reeks is on every tourists most-wanted list...probably because it's so hard to spell! 



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RE: The Callows of the River Shannon...Any info??


Melissa,


Bill's suggestions are right on the money. The Gap of Dunloe it is. I also suggest that you get a free magazine either at your B&B or the tourist office called "Where Killarney" as it has some excellent maps and info in it about the area. You can also access it online: http://www.wherekillarney.com/ A great viewpoint for viewing the mountains around Killarney is at Aghadoe outside town.


Here are some links to the Killarney area:


http://www.killarneyonline.ie/info/index.asp


http://www.killarney.ie/


http://homepage.tinet.ie/~knp/


Michele



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To: Michelle Re: Thanks for MacGillycuddy info


Hi Michelle, thanks for the links to check out MacGillycuddy's Reeks.  Hubby and I are checking those out.  What would we do without you?  You seem to know more about Ireland than any other web-site on-line, and I am fortunate to have found my way here. 


 


 


 


  



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RE: The Callows of the River Shannon...Any info??


Melissa,


There's nothing like being obsessed with one subject to get to know all about it.  When people ask me if I will branch out and do other countries I always tell them I would rather know one country inside out that several superficially.


Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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inside out


Michele, we're really glad you know Ireland inside out!


It's also great to have a web-site where nobody ever says, oh, good grief, aren't you the obsessed lady who's been talking about Ireland for a year?!  On another web-site, I actually had somebody "accuse" me of being obsessed and planning a trip for a whole year.  Imagine that?  Ummmm...what could be more fun, other than actually taking the trip?


Your links to obscure biological info have helped so much.  Hubby and I have decided together that the most interesting biological area for him is The Burren, which is already on the itinerary.  Hubby is satisfied with "adding" biology to this itinerary by visiting places like the Palm House Botanic Gardens in Belfast for example which are convenient to the things I want to see.  We've worked out a great compromise.  So thanks to you we are both feeling pleased with this slightly revised itinerary:


Fly into Shannon


3 nights, Lisdoonvarna


3 nights, Dingle (Dingle Peninsula)


1 night, Cashel or Galway or Kilkenny??? (stopover)


2 nights, Trim (Newgrange and Trim Castle)


3 nights, Belfast or Newtownards


2 nights, Dublin


Fly home.


Dreaming in Gaelic...(well, okay, not yet!)    Do you think this is slow enough or have I over-planned the itinerary?


 


           


 



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RE: The Callows of the River Shannon...Any info??


Melissa,


Since we are all obsessed with Ireland on this forum and are constantly planning to go back again we all understand the need to do planning well ahead. Besides the planning stages are such fun. Some people on other forums may not understand it. This is obviously the right place for you.


Glad you are enjoying the obscure links. There is so much info that the usual traveler never sees. I think it is great that you and your husband are doing so much research to make your trip just perfect.


Your itinerary looks good. I would opt for Cashel over Galway or Kilkenny. Cashel has you heading in the right direction. Kilkenny might be a bit far, coming from Dingle.


The only additional comment would be to think about a day trip to the Giant's Causeway for your husband. It really is a natural wonder.


Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.

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