The story of Shannon Parish is the story of the development of the Airport and the Industrial Estate. It all began in the 1950’s when Government Policy designated the Airport as Ireland’s transatlantic Airport and Ireland’s first Industrial Free Zone was established. Such development led to many people coming to Shannon in search of work and housing. By the early 60’s, the infrastructure of the town was established in the Drumgeely area of Shannon.
The geographical area of Rineanna was part of the Parish of Newmarket-on-Fergus with a Priest in residence of the Airport to assist in the spiritual needs of this growing community. The need for a School and Church were soon identified and appropriate fundraising and organisation was put in place under the leadership of Fr. Eamon Gaynor, Priest in residence. This led to the opening of St. Senan’s School and the building of Mary Immaculate Church on Corrib Drive in 1966. Bishop Michael Harty was consecrated Bishop of Killaloe on 19th November, 1967 and on Christmas Eve of the same year, he created the Parish of Shannon, appointing Fr. Tim Mullaly as its first Parish Priest.
Continued development of the town led to the establishment of another Primary School, St. Conaire’s in 1968 and St. Tola’s in 1978 with St. Aidan’s been opened in the early 1980’s. The need for Secondary education was met with the opening of St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School in 1967 and St. Caimin’s Community School in 1985. Gael Scoil Donncha Rua was established in 1985 to meet the needs of those wishing to receive education through the medium of Irish. St. John’s Church of Ireland School was the very first school established in Shannon in 1962.
The Sisters of Mercy established a Community in the Parish at 1/2 Fergus Drive in 1974, replacing the Dominican Sisters who returned to England after a short number of years in Shannon.
In 1980, SS. John & Paul Church was opened in Tullyvarraga to cater for an increasing and expanding Parish. In the mid seventies, the then Parish Priest Fr. John Shalloo, secured a unit in The Town Centre for a Chapel and on 6th November 1996, this Chapel became an Adoration Chapel for Eucharistic Adoration. In 2009, a new purpose built Oratory was built on the Town Square and on the 8th December 2009 Bishop Willie Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe, blessed and dedicated the Chapel as a House of Prayer. Daily Mass is celebrated there each weekday at 10am with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continuing until 9pm. 2005 saw the opening of the Parish Office, which is located alongside SS John & Paul Presbytery. Opening hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 9.30am-5.30pm, Thursdays 9am-1pm.
Today, there are three Priests living in the Parish – in the Drumgeely, Tullyglass and Tullyvarraga areas catering for an ever increasing population, which at present stands at approximately 10,000 including the catchment areas of Shannon. It is now a vibrant, fast growing town, second biggest in County Clare, with a close-knit people working together for the betterment of the community.