Shannon Industrial Estate and the beginnings of the town – early 1960s source: https://roundaboutshannon.clareheritage.org/new-contributions/the-birth-of-a-town
Businessman, Brendan O’Reagan, spearheaded the construction of Shannon in 1959. His vision was to create an economic zone which would serve the nearby Shannon International Airport and the new Shannon Free Zone. The latter was a unique industrial estate which offered tax incentives for foreign manufacturers. This attracted large foreign direct investment as well as a multinational workforce. This concept became a global phenomenon, especially in China, which was inspired to create its own Special Economic Zones (S.E.Z. 's), such as Shenzhen. Shannon is also celebrated for its inception of duty-free shopping at its airport.
Shannon’s town did not prosper in the same way as its commercial entities. Much of its housing was of poor quality and lacked decent facilities. Local shops were exposed to the elements and the town was seen as less “friendly” than nearby towns such as Newmarket-on-Fergus. It was only in the 1990’s that the town finally achieved decent population growth with the construction of modern housing. Shannon is now home to almost 10,000 people.