Located in the south-west of Ireland, the town of Shannon is the only ‘new’ town in the country. For several decades she has enjoyed uninterrupted growth with the expansion of low-cost companies and of the airport, the second-largest in the country. Nowadays she serves as the commercial hub for many multinationals - most of them American - which specialise in new technologies. As a town she has a somewhat downbeat feel, lacking a real centre, with huge areas of residential and low-rise housing where the middle classes and well-to-do folk rub shoulders but have very little to do with each other. New areas are being built – witness to an industrial Ireland which enjoyed positive growth since it became a member state of the EU – although the current economic crisis is starting to change all that.