There are always some who don’t ‘get it’. Ray D’Arcy, when summarising his Hidden Heartlands feature last summer, mentioned us when he described a “mad place with a big mud slide in the middle of a field” – you can’t win them all!
Shannon River Adventure opened in 2009 after many years of imagining and planning. I grew up on a working farm, with Lough Bofin at my doorstep, and have loved the outdoors all my life. Over the years I came to realise the benefits of exploring the outdoors and have been delighted to share my passion for utilising our natural environment for the benefit of many.
You’ll find us at the picturesque shores of Lough Bofin, 2km outside the village of Rooskey. As we are located on part of the Blueway Shannon corridor, and in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Shannon River Adventure has become a popular destination for local, domestic and foreign visitors.
We started providing outdoor water and land activities to groups in 2009. At first, our main target audience were primary and secondary school groups, as well as kids for seasonal activity camps. It has been a work in progress, in terms of the physical site, activities and clientele, and we are continuously investing and improving – look out for some exciting additions this season!
We provide several package types, depending on the type of group. As all our activities are instructor-led, we take groups of 4, minimum, and by booking only. Our activities include: Kayaking, SUPs, Mud Slide, Pier Jumping, Kayak trips around the surrounding lakes, Climbing Wall, Archery, Fun Assault course and several other team games and challenges. Our facilities include hot showers and toilet block, outdoor kitchen with cooking, comfortable indoor recreation/meeting room. We also have several covered areas for groups to gather, eat etc.
We are also very excited to be adding an outdoor café this summer and promise to offer the best coffee in the area! So, very soon we will be welcoming even more visitors – sit and watch the kids having a ball, take a break from your cycle or walk or enjoy a break after your exertions! And don’t worry – in the likely event that it might be a little precipitous, we are also adding a cover to our courtyard.
We introduced a visitor book 3 years ago and have built up a large body of reviews – 99% positive. We started giving the book to teachers bringing kids on tours but have since handed it to all types of groups and the feedback is very positive and it is nice to have so many reviews to publish.
Here’s what we hear regularly ⇒
Our many positive testimonials are attributed to the very friendly and personal service we provide.
We have a lot of positive stories that encapsulate the experience people have with our business. An example of one from last season is when we had a group of 40 young people, Transition Year students, from Donegal stay with us for 3 nights. The teachers were determined to get their students out of their comfort zones and knew that many of them would struggle “with the loss of ‘normal luxuries’”. The plan had been that they would camp on the island for two nights and camp on-site for the last night. After night one, there was grumbling about lack of comforts, no phones, creep-crawleys etc. By the second night it was obvious that they were more comfortable with the island camping and you could really see the group gelling. On the third day, they begged to stay on the island – which we accommodated.
The teacher’s comments afterwards included:
“many thanks . . . for a wonder experience. Without a doubt this was a trip with a difference . . . there were many ‘overcomes’ . . . [and] thank you for helping one student build character and strength of character”.
This story is a narrative of what we always endeavour to achieve with our student groups in particular. On these types of trips, phones are taken and stored until their departure. Obviously there is a lot of grumbling and near panic initially. However, when we do our mandatory group reviews before they depart, the ‘no-phones’ comes out nearly top of the list of good things during their trip.
We had a primary school group from Fermanagh here on their end of year tour and the teachers in particular were in awe at the landscape. They spoke at length about their changing experience of teaching children in this modern world and the fact that kids are wrapped up in cotton wool – that there is a feeling of ‘entitlement’. This is how they described us:
“It is just so heartening and affirmative to see, at first hand, how the simplicity, beauty and wonder of our natural environment can be utilised and shared for the benefit of all. Shannon River Adventure is an oasis of unspoilt and natural beauty – well done to Tommy and staff for keeping it so. In the age we live with cosmetic image of such apparent importance, this place is a tonic. Tommy and staff are a tonic too. Respectful, humorous, engaging – these are the traits and characteristics that matter – helpful, kind, informative – well done to all. The children of St. Mary’s have loved their day’s fun and activities and left us in no doubt as to their wish to return – recommendations from the people who really matter! Thank you for the fun, the learning, the activities, conversations. Keep up the wonderful standards in this unique place.”