Under the 1609 charter, the Mayor of Limerick was granted the right to assert their authority as Admiral of the Shannon by performing the “Dropping the Dart” ceremony.
This event was akin to Riding the Bounds and took place at irregular intervals. During the ceremony, the Mayor and City Council would sail to Scattery Island, accompanied by a large entourage of attendants. Later, the Mayor would drop the dart into the River Shannon to assert their authority.
There have been variations to this ceremony over time, including the Mayor shooting the dart like an arrow from a bow or dropping it from a city center bridge. These adaptations still serve the same purpose of denoting the Mayor’s authority over the Shannon and maintaining this unique and historic tradition.
Dundee Evening Post – Friday 11 May 1900