In August 1939 the Irish travel writer Richard Hayward set out on a road trip to explore the Shannon region just two weeks before the Second World War broke out. His evocative account of that trip, ‘Where the River Shannon Flows’, became a bestseller. The book, still sought after by lovers of the river, captures an Ireland of small shops and barefoot street urchins that has long since disappeared. Eighty years on, inspired by his work, Paul Clements retraces Hayward’s journey along the river, following – if not strictly in his footsteps – then within the spirit of his trip. From the Shannon Pot in Cavan, 344 kilometres south to the Shannon estuary, his meandering odyssey takes him by car, on foot, and by bike and boat, discovering how the riverscape has changed but is still powerful in symbolism.