Local seesights and activities
Ennis lies at the heart of any visit to Clare. From here, it is only a short distance west to the famous Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Doolin, Lisdoonvarna and other sandy beaches. Near to Ennis to the south and east are Bunratty Castle and Folk Park along with a multitude of walking trails, golf courses and fishing at sea or inland lakes.
Cliffs of Moher
Standing majestically over the Atlantic Ocean, the Cliffs of Moher are nearly 700-feet of sheer rugged cliffs looking out to the Aran Islands and the hills of Connemara across Galway Bay the seascapes are beyond imagination. The Bridges of Ross sea-arches and stacks and the gentler cliffs towards Loop Head in West Clare are also well worth a visit.
On Moher’s highest cliff is O'Brien's tower, constructed in the early 19th century as a viewing point for Victorian tourists.
Sometimes the visitors centre has to close due to extreme weather conditions, and the changeable weather can impact on what you choose to do at the Cliffs.
Popular with those who like caving, pot-holing and hill walking, the Burren is a geographical anomaly of alpine landscapes and vegetation of spring gentian or mountain aven dating from the prehistoric to medieval times. Less than 30 minutes from Ennis, the limestone region of the Burren is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is world-renowned for its stunning and unique beauty. Ballyvaughan village lies at the heart of the Burren and enjoys spectacular views over Galway Bay.
Tours of the Aillwee Caves offer bridged chasms, weird formations as well as a thunderous waterfall and the now extinct brown bears' bones. Relax after in the friendly tearoom or on the terrace and take in the breathtaking views of Galway Bay.
Bunratty Castle built in 1425 on a site that was originally a Viking trading camp (970), was the last of four castles built on the site. Built by the powerful MacNamara family, by 1475 it had become the stronghold of the O'Briens, the largest clan in North Munster. The castle has been authentically restored to its former medieval splendour and houses an array of medieval century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art considered the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country. It is the most complete and authentically restored and furnished castle in Ireland.
Medieval Banquets are held in the castle in the evening and are open to the public to enjoy.
The Bunratty Folk Park
Within the grounds is Bunratty folk park, set on 26 acres, featuring more than 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting and giving the experience of Irish village life at the turn of the century. This is beautifully recreated to give a window on Ireland’s past. Rural farmhouses, village shops and streets are recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time according to their social standing, from the poorest one roomed dwelling to Bunratty House a fine example of a Georgian residence for the gentry built 1804 home of the Studdarts, the last family to occupy Bunratty Castle.
You can also drop into the McNamara pub. The gardens at Bunratty Folk Park have been restored to the original Regency period garden design which supplied fruit, vegetables, and flowers to Bunratty House.
With daily sailings to all three islands from Doolin Pier, a 40-minute drive from Ennis, the Aran Islands are one of the world’s top island destinations. Visitors can rent bicycles and fully tour the islands, weather permitting, visiting the various historical sites.
County Clare is a paradise for anglers with well stocked rivers and lakes in all areas. Sea fishing is possible from several ports along the coast, including Kilkee, Carrigaholt, Quilty, Liscannor.
Although all the lakes in East Clare are set in beautiful, peaceful countryside the location of Kilgory Lake is magical isolation. Its 70 acres of woodlands and bogland, flanked by heathered hills offers a score of causeway fishing stands of stone, extending outside the reeded edges.
Swimming pools are to be found in Ennis. The Atlantic beaches on the West coast in Kilkee, Spanish Point, Miltown Malbay and Lahinch are all about 30-45 minutes away. Most of the beaches also offer excellent surfing. See all sports facilities in Ennis >>