- Tarbert Pierside Picnic Area allows you to take in the breathtaking view of Tarbert Bay, and also appreciate both the history and the beauty of both the bay itself and the piers which have played a significant role in the development of trade on the Shannon Estuary for over 200 years, from the area known locally as “The Island”.
In the 1800’s the pier was a stopping point for Schooners that plied their trade along the river Shannon, and was a pivotal point for the loading and unloading of goods and materials coming and going from North Kerry and West Limerick. Pork, dairy, grain and other items were traded here at a time when there was no road network to speak of, so the pier was an essential cog in the trading mechanisms of that time. See this picture taken in 1874, where “The Lawloo” berths at Tarbert pier.
In other times, as you can see from this photo taken at this very spot, the piers witnessed considerable military action as for a long time a British Army garrison was located on ‘The Island” itself (close to where the Power Station is now located) and naval warships would have been a common sight.
These days, the “new pier” serves to facilitate the Tarbert-Killimer (Kerry-Clare) ferry, which allows the movement of cars and trucks across the river Shannon to connect the South West of Ireland with the West Coast, and creates an over-water link between two points on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The area plays host to families who come to enjoy the sight and on a hot day it is not uncommon to see or hear a splash being made by playful children jumping from the pier into the water. Pierside Picnic Area also benefits from the presence of public toilets close by to the Ferry terminal.
Homage to Marcel Proust.
The sea gleamed deep blue in the sunlight
Through the different greens of trees.
And the talk was of singing.
My mother, dressed in black, recalled a bright image
from a song,
Those endearing young charms,
Miss Holly, wearing heliotrope, had a sad line,
The waves are still singing to the shore.
Then, as we came out from the edge of the wood,
The island lay dreaming in the sun across the bridge,
Even the white coastguard station had gone quietly to sleep –
it was Sunday,
a chain on a ship at the pier
Rattled to silence,
A young sailor of the island –
He was tall
And curled, to the moustaches,
And he wore ear-rings
But often he was too ill to be at sea –
Maid of Athens, ere we part…
Looking suddenly like a goddess
Miss Holly said, half-smiling,
And we stopped
In the sunlight
The young sailor is dead now.
Miss Holly also is dead.
Home they’ve gone and
And the waves still are singing. Thomas Macgreevy