Limerick is defined by the River Shannon, which runs majestically through what is an ever-expanding city. Visually the river is the core of the city, and it is from the river that the natural setting of Limerick and its historical development can be most readily appreciated. Situated on a man-made island connected to Sarsfield Bridge, on the River Shannon, is the Shannon Rowing Club.
In 1902 an inventive young English architect, William Clifford Smith (1881/2-1954), won the international competition to design the club. On winning the competition, Clifford Smith appears to have settled in Ireland and in 1928 formed a partnership with Edward Newenham. The practice, known as Clifford Smith & Newenham, amalgamated with the Dublin practice of Dermot Mulligan in 1968 to become Newenham Mulligan & Associates. The practice continues today.
With the Shannon Rowing Club Clifford Smith gave impetus to an Edwardian freestyle that would mark out the building on Limerick’s riverscape.A highly elaborate clubhouse designed in the Edwardian Arts and Crafts idiom by the
architect William Clifford Smith. The builders were Messrs. Gough.
The style was later applied, to a great extent, in suburban houses in Ennis Road, O’Connell Avenue and Shelbourne Road. Some of these houses are three-storied with an assortment of balconettes, oculi and timbered gables. Others have horizontal mullioned windows, and steep roofs with prominent chimney stacks, which owe much to the Arts and Crafts style. Contrasting materials were also carefully chosen – brick, limestone and pebbledash – combined with Art Nouveau-inspired cast-iron railings.
Some of these elements appear in the Shannon Rowing Club. Begun in 1902 the club was completed in 1905 at a cost of £2,000.
William Clifford Smith designed it, and it’s such a fine example of Edwardian architecture that it’s a listed building. The only listed sports building in the country, as a matter of fact
on which it stands is referred to as Shannon Island or Wesley
Pier. The Shannon Rowing Club was founded by Sir Peter Tait in