The Shannon Callows (Irish: Caladh na Sionainne) are areas of flat land along the shores of the River Shannon. The Callows represent the largest unregulated floodplains in north-west Europe. Many of the diverse habitats depend on traditional agricultural practices to support the wildlife that flourishes here. Protection of the Callows is particularly important due to the many species of birds. Recorded are, amongst others, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, European Golden-Plover, Northern Lapwing, Skylark, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Whooper Swan and Eurasian Wigeon. 80% of the Irish population of Whinchat lives in the area. In winter this reserve is under the river Shannon and in summer the island is one great swaying sea of hay.
One of the places where access to the Callows is possible is near Shannon Harbour, where parking is available and tracks lead out onto the land. The Callows are only accessible in the summer months and on foot. The Callows are privatly owned farmland, so please do not walk on the grassland and stay on the tracks at all times. In winter the Callows are flooded and only views from surrounding roads are possible.
Terrain and HabitatWetland, Grassland, River
ConditionsFlat, Open landscape
Is a telescope useful?Can be useful
Good birding seasonAll year round
Best time to visitSpring
Difficulty walking trailEasy
Accessible byFoot, Bicycle
Birdwatching hide / platformNo
The area was one of the most important breeding areas for Corn Crake in Ireland and the local farmers supported a project to mow the callows later in the summer to give the birds the chance to rear a second brood. However, the early summer flooding which became predominant stopped the Corn Crake breeding at all, the Corn Crake being said the first bird to be extirpated from Shannon system due to climate change.