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The area is mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters. In 968 the King of Munster; Mahon defeated the Norsemen of Limerick and Waterford at Sengualainn in a "red slaughter". In 1124, Turlogh O'Connor gathered a fleet together to cross the Shannon and plundered the lands of the Uí Conaill at Foynes Island. After the defeat of the Munster Geraldines by the English, Shanagolden village was laid out during the 1580s as a plantation village.

Begley tells us that in 1207 the then Bishop, Donat O'Brien, gave control of Shanagolden church to M. O'Melinus, Chantor. Begley also tells us that in 1480, Gerald de Geraldinis took control of both the churches at Robertstown (or Baileroberd as it was called then) and Shanagolden.

The port of Foynes is associated with the flying boats that flew out from the Shannon estuary in the late 1930s and early 1940s to cross the Atlantic to Newfoundland. The service was phased out in 1945 when Shannon Airport began to operate as the gateway to America.

The present population of the parish is approximately 2,400 people according to Canon O'Keeffe. In the last Census, the villages of Foynes and Shanagolden had a population of 558 and 412 respectively.

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