Presentation of the destination
Ennis is the county town of County Clare in Ireland. It is located on the beautiful River Fergus, just north of the Shannon Estuary, and is northwest of Limerick and south of Galway. The 11th largest urban area in Ireland, Ennis has a population of about 25,000. Its Irish name is Inis and means “island”, and is short for the full name Inis Cluain Ramh Fhada, meaning “island of the long rowing meadow”. The island its name refers to is one formed by the River Fergus, which is well known as a site for trout and salmon fishing. Once an important market town, Ennis’ market square is still used each Saturday for selling local fare. There are many pedestrianized streets, perfect for walking around the town, as well as several old British military barracks. Ennis is also a center for traditional Irish music, and holds festival for this genre of music each year in May.
Points of interests / things to see
The top spot to visit in Ennis is the Clare Museum, which provides visitors with information about Clare County and its people from over 6,000 years ago to the present day. Inside this old school building, learn about the history and heritage of the area through the popular “Riches of Clare” exhibit, which takes up two entire galleries of the museum and is full of artifacts as well as audiovisual and interactive elements for your enjoyment. There’s a wide variety of things to do and see, from learning about archeological discoveries made in County Clare, to learning about the area’s castles and the influential families who lived in them. You can also view photos of religious sites, or admire the old relics such as stone axes. Many visitors are intrigued to learn the connections between the county and the Spanish Armada, as well as information about how the submarine was developed. The exhibition is arranged according to the themes Earth, Power, Faith, Water, and Energy. Musically-inclined visitors will enjoy the section focusing on the area’s musical heritage, complete with fascinating items from the music and dance world. Address: Arthurs RowWebsite: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/claremuseum/Hours: Tues through Sat, 9:30 to 13:00, 14:00 to 17:30, closed Bank Holiday SaturdaysFree admission
Founded in the early 1500s, Ennis Friary is a Franciscan Friary located in the center of Ennis. Be sure to take the tour, during which you’ll learn how the town got its name, and why this particular site was chosen for the friary to be built on. You’ll also learn what each area of the building was used for, and be able to explore the cloister arcade, where you can hear stories of how they used the dormitories and hear the intriguing answer to why a prison was included in the building. If you look up at the tall tower, you might notice the holes that were used for the bell ropes, while visitors with keen eyes may notice the many marks left by builders that are carved into many of the stones found throughout the friary. There are also many beautiful medieval carvings to admire, including artistic panels depicting St. Francis and Jesus, which are noted for their high levels of craftsmanship. Art enthusiasts should also keep an eye out for several sculptures from the 15th and 16th centuries that were carved from local hard limestone.Address: Abbey StreetHours: Easter to Sept. 30, open daily 10:00 to 18:00, Oct. 1 to Oct. 23, open daily 10:00 to 17:00
If live performances are your thing, then Glór is a must-see for your visit to Ennis. Glór is the town’s 485-seat performing arts venue. Often stylized as glór, this beautiful building opened in 2001 and was designed by architect Des McMahon, who was given the task of designing a building that would create an intimate experience of Irish music for all visitors, whether the audience was to be large or small. Traditional Irish music is an important cultural element of Ennis society, so if you have the opportunity to experience it during your visit, you should jump at the chance. The venue is also used for many other types of live performance, including concerts, stand-up comedy, dance, and theatrical performances such as plays. Glór is also home to a gallery space used for visual art exhibitions that have won several awards in the past. There are also opportunities to view performances designed for children. Be sure to check the website before your visit to see what’s on at the moment so that you can buy tickets in advance if you want to take in a show, as well as to learn about the current and upcoming exhibitions.Location: Causeway LinkWebsite: http://www.glor.ie/
If you’re at all interested in the religious history of Ennis, you may want to visit St. Columba’s Church, the last Anglican Church ever built in Ireland. It was built sometime between 1868 and 1871, and is a prime example of the Gothic revival style of architectural design. The church is quite large because of the town’s large Anglican population in the past, though it has since considerably decreased in numbers. The church contains several memorials, including a wooden grave cross from Ypres, Belgium, which is kept as a reminder of the events of World War I. Architecturally, one of the most interesting and beautiful features of the church is the Norman rose motif in the window at the east end of the building. The church also contains reredos, a type of altarpiece, with 24 biblical figures painted by artist Catherine Amelia O’Brien. Those interested in history may also want to see the pyramidal mausoleum of the Blood family. One important member of the family was Sir Bindon Blood, a commanding officer in the British military, who has a street in the town named after him. Coincidentally, that street is the very street upon which St. Columba’s Church is located.Address: Bindon Street
If you’re looking for a fun nighttime activity or need to escape any unpleasant weather, Clare Leisure World is a great place to stop. This all-weather facility is full of fun activities appropriate for all ages. Ten Pin Bowling is a perfect match for all ages, complete with a computerized bowling system so you don’t have to keep score yourself, cosmic glow-in-the-dark balls, lanes, and pins, plus lighter balls and bumpers for young children. Older kids and adults alike will love the Quasar 2000 laser game, a game sure to get your adrenaline pumping once you’ve got your guns at the ready and are having to watch your back as you navigate through the smoke and music for survival. Small children can spend time in the Tumble Towers & Tumble Tots soft play area, which is fitted with bridges, slides, mini-football, pulleys, and a child’s dream: a giant ball pool to play in. Clare Leisure World also has a large selection of American pool and snooker tables of various sizes for all ages and skill levels, as well as high-speed air hockey. Gamers can also rejoice, as there are tons of video games and simulators to choose from, including one that makes you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster.Address: Showgrounds RoadHours: Summer 10:30 to 23:30, Winter 13:00 to 23:30, Open 10:00 to 0:00 weekends year-round.Website: http://www.leisureworld.ie/
In need of a break after spending the day walking around the town? If so, stop into the Rowan Tree Café Bar and enjoy food, a drink, or a delicious coffee while taking in the beautiful views of the River Fergus. The menu features Mediterranean-inspired offerings including tapas, pastas, pizzas, and grilled meats, plus a diverse selection of wines and beers. The 18th century Georgian building also features rotating art displays from local artists for you to enjoy as you relax. There’s even an outdoor terrace if you’d like to dine outside on a warm day.Address: Harmony RowWebsite: http://www.rowantreecafebar.ie/Hours: 10:30 to 23:00 daily
Those willing to venture just outside of Ennis should take the opportunity to visit Ballyalla Lake, located just off the N18. This gorgeous lake connected to the River Fergus gives you the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area. On a sunny day, the park at the riverside is the perfect place for you to enjoy a meal in the countryside, and picnic facilities are provided. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen, including wildfowl that often spend time in the area during the winter. The ruins of Ballyalla Castle, an important historical site in the area, are also visible, though the building is mostly demolished.Address: Ballyalla, Ennis, Co. Clare
The Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, also known as Ennis Cathedral, is the Roman Catholic cathedral for the Diocese of Killaloe in Ireland. The site of this beautiful building was donated to the diocese in 1828, but its construction took decades to complete. The cathedral’s tower and spire were completed in 1874. It has been expanded several times over the years, including redecoration, the addition of a new sacristy, and the addition of new pipe organ in the 1930s. Despite being the site of a fire in 1995, the sanctuary has since been rebuilt to look good as new.Location: O’Connell Street
If you love architecture, you might consider a visit to the courthouse in Ennis. It was built in 1850 for a cost of £12,000 and was designed by Henry Whitestone. The building has a magnificent limestone facade with ionic portico and flanking wings. After admiring the architecture, look to the side of the building for a Russian cannon, which is a trophy from the Crimean War. In the nearby park, you can also visit the large bronze statue of Eamon de Valera, the former President of Ireland, which was sculpted by artist Jim Connolly and sits atop a limestone pedestal. Address: Lifford Road
Vacation rentals in Ennis (County Clare)
How to get there ?
How to get there:By plane: Just 19 km (12 mi) from Ennis is Shannon Airport, with daily flights to/from the U.S. and Canada, the UK, and Europe. Bus services are available between the airport and Ennis, so you should have no trouble getting to the town once your flight lands.Website: www.shannonairport.comBy train: Ennis is part of the well-connected Irish Rail network. It is possible to get trains to Ennis from several cities, including Cork, Dublin, Belfast, and Galway. Multiple trains are available for arrivals and departures every day of the week.Website: www.irishrail.ieBy bus: There are regular bus services between Ennis and many cities. These include Shannon Airport, Galway, Limerick, Cork, and Dublin.Website: www.busseireann.ieBy car: Ennis can be accessed from the M18 motorway, exits 11 through 14.Getting around:Visitors to Ennis should have no problem getting around the town to visit all its wonderful sights. It is very simple to navigate for those who are planning to walk. If you prefer other modes of transportation, there is the option of calling one of the multiple 24-hour taxi services. Buses and trains are also easily accessible, with both the bus and train stations centrally located just 1 km from the town center.
Hotels in Ennis (County Clare)