The colourful village of Ballynacally, on the banks of the Shannon, is ten miles south or Ennis on the coast road between Ennis and the Killimer Car Ferry.
Nestling in the shadow of Paradise Hill and Wood, the village was once famous for its monthly fairs. Although the fairs have now ended, the village green, with its typical waterpump, still remains as a pleasant place for the visitor to spend some time.
A few metres away from the Green, on the south side of the village is the Holy Well of St. Martin, whose waters are said to cure eye ailments.
The network of country roads around the village is a paradise for walkers and nature lovers. The surrounding hills provide excellent views of the River Shannon and Fergus Estuary. Deer Island and Coney Island lie in the Estuary close to Ballynacally. The remains of a village school and church can still be seen on Coney Island which is now deserted. Deer Island, however, still has one inhabitant.
Several ancient Ring Forts surround the village with Early Christian Church ruins at nearby Kilchreest and Clondegad.
The people here have a natural friendliness. They always have time to stop for a chat, so feel free to join them.
The village of Newmarket-on-Fergus is set in gently rolling landscape, just five miles from Shannon International Airport. Coarse fishing is a feature of the many lakes in the area. Inexpensive boat
hire means that the beauty and solitude of local lakes, such as Fenloe and Rossroe, are yours to enjoy.
The countryside around the village has miles of traffic-free roads. These are ideal for walking or
Horses or ponies can be hired from any of three local equestrian centres who will also provide lessons for beginners. If golf is your game, then the nearby Shannon and Dromoland golf courses will test your skill in beautiful surroundings.
Just one mile from the village is the Bronze Age Hill Fort of Moohaun, occupied from 800 B.C. to 1200 A.D. More recent history can be sampled by enjoying a mediaeval banquet at Knappogue or Bunratty Castles. A visit to the folk park at Bunratty should not be missed.
Newmarket-on-Fergus offers cuisine ranging from Indonesian to traditional Irish stew. Accommodation is available in any one of five Grade A Hotels in the area with over fifty local B & Bs to choose from.
Newmarket-on-Fergus also has two prize-winning family farms one of which can be visited by appointment.
Accommodation and other tourist information is available at the tourist Information Office, located at the centre of the village.
The picturesque village of Cratloe is located just off the N18 on the main Shannon/Limerick Road, via Bunratty. Only ten minutes drive from Shannon, Cratloe is the ideal location for the visitor arriving or departing from the airport.
Set in peaceful seclusion on the edge of Garranon Oak Wood, Cratloe Church is one of three barn-style churches remaining in Ireland. Built in 1791, it has recently been lovingly restored by the people of the parish.
The nearby Cratloe Woods House is a fine example of an Irish Long House, dating from 1730. The adjoining Garranon Oak Woods supplied the oak beams for the root of Westminster Hall in London.
The picturesque Grotto set onto the tree lined slopes of the Cratloe Hills is a striking feature of the village.
Cratloe Woods Forest Park, just above the village is ideal for a quiet walk, its nature trails and picnic area overlooking a tranquil lake.
The scenic drive by historic Gallows Hill and Woodcock Hill provide the visitor with a panoramic view.
Golf, fishing, and horse riding are all within easy distance of the village, while Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is just a mile away.
The area around the village is ideal for walking and cycling with a maze of quiet roads giving easy access to unspoiled countryside. A visit to the nearby village of Ballinruan will be well rewarded with breathtaking views of the Burren and Galway Bay.
Sites of historical interest locally include the 12th Century Inchicronan Abbey, O’Brien’s Castle and Caheraphuca Gallery Tomb, dating from the time of the ancient Celts. The village church in Crusheen, dating from 1837, is also worth a visit.
Folklore and legend abound in this quiet part of Clare. Locals say that sometimes at night three ghostly forms called the “Island Lights” can be seen traveling from Inchicronan Abbey to foretell a death in a local family.
Golf is available at nearby Ennis, while Crusheen village has a new pitch and putt course. Pony-trekking is also available locally.
The village of Barefield is situated three miles from Ennis on the main Galway Road.
Close by to the village is Ballyalla Lake and nature reserve. The lake provides canoeing and windsurfing facilities in the Summer and also has a picnic area and walking trail.
Dromore Woods to the north of the village has similar facilities with more extensive walks. The lake at Dromore is ideal for coarse fishing.
The ruins of 15th century churches can be found at Drumcliffe, Templemaley and Kilraightis while St. Brecan’s Church, near the village of Doora, is believed to date from the llth century.
The Doughnambraher Font in the townland of Killian is said to have healing qualities and is still visited regularly by people looking for a cure for warts.
The Doora/Barefield area can offer the visitor horse riding instruction, pitch and putt, golf, a golf driving range, fishing and even knitting holidays!
Ennis [“Inis” or Island] grew up around a monastic site founded in 1240. Nestling on the River Fergus in the heart of Clare, Ennis is one of the most picturesque towns in Ireland. The quaint narrow streets of the county town reveal a street cape, rich in history. An outstanding feature of the towns architecture is the old Ennis Abbey dating from the late 13th or early 14th Century.
The town is a superb base for participation in a whole range of activities including golf, hose-riding, fishing, cycling and walking.
The town of Ennis is renowned for it’s live traditional music which can be enjoyed in many of the town’s pubs. Each year, in May, Eniss hosts the Fleadh Nua, an international celebration of traditional Irish culture.
Ennis has a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets while its many restaurants, cafes and pubs cater for every palate.
Shopping is a delight in Ennis, with a wide variety of outlets to choose from, each with its own individual character. An open air market is held in the town every Saturday. Full colour and craic, you can buy anything there from a calf to a camera! If you’re in Ennis for the weakned, don’t miss it.
So why not come and enjoy the magical delights of Ennis, the Gateway to County Clare.
Feakle is famous as the home to Biddy Early; the Wise woman or witch and as the location of the the port known in Irish as the ‘Cuirt a Mhean Oiche’ Midnight Court. He wrote the poem while sitting beside the idyllic Lough Graney.
Lough Graney, 3km from the village, is an excellent spot for fishing. The area joining Lough Arorick & Graney is a nature reserve which boasts majestic Oaklands. A wonderful place for a forest with Feakle International Festival in August offering a wide variety workshops, festivals sessions concerts etc.
More information can be found: www.feaklefestval.com
A lovely gothic cathedral looks benevolently down on the river & beside it is a rare example of stone – roofed church built & used by ancient Celtic Christians.
Just up the hill from the cathedral is the site of Kincora, seat of Brian Boro, greatest of the ancient kings of Ireland. Killaloe is a great centre for water sports, especially boating & fishing. Passenger boats take visitors on tours of the river & Lough Derg.
A network of well-stocked lakes provide excellent game and coarse fishing with brown and rainbow trout, salmon, pike, rudd and bream available. Boats can be hired and angling information is available locally. There are several excellent golf courses witkin easy distance of the area and rough shooting can be availed of locally.
Quiet, traffic-free roads meander through the unspoilt county offering spectacular views of lake River Shannon and the rugged beauty of Mount Callan. Much of the Kilmaley/Kilnamona area is upland bog, where the old tradition of turf cutting is still practiced. Wild life, birds and wild flowers and plants flourish in the unspoiled hedgerows and fields.
The countryside is dotted with ancient King Forts and Dolmens with castle ruins in the townlands of Shallee and Magowna. Here are several Holy Wells in the area, including the “Well of the Three Golden Fridays” at Croghnaun, near Kilnamona Village.
The village Lissycasey is famous for Fanny O’Dea’s, one of the oldest pubs in the country. Local legend has it that the open fire in the old bar has never gone out since the establishment opened in 1790 as a couch-stop on the Ennis-Kilrush Road.
The Lissycasey area has two line angling lakes. Lake Crann (Crown) can be found in the townland of Crann [near the main road] while the other, Lough Acrow is near Furroor. Adjoining Lough Acrow is a large forest plantation which is ideal for walking. Walkers will also find the forests at Caherea and Benedin worth exploring with fine views of the surrounding area.
A picnic area, with public toilets and a playground, is located near Fanny O’Dea’s. For the visitor who wants to stay a little longer, the area has several fine guest houses with food being served at Fanny O’Dea’s and the nearby Boree Log Bar.
The three local bars in the area offer traditional sessions at week-ends and also during the week in Summer time, with visitors enjoying local music, song and dance.
Since the days of the old mail coaches, Lissycasey has had a reputation for welcoming the traveler.
Why not sample this hospitality yourself? You won’t be disappointed.
Mountshannon celebrates the beauties of Lough Derg, one of Irelands biggest & most beautiful lakes. Developed in the 18th century as a port on the great Shannon Navigation, its main street looks down the hillside over the harbour & out across the lake to the distant mountains of Co Tipperary.
Boating & fishing bring thousands of visitors to the village-by car or by cruisers & it is one of the most popular centres for sailing on the Shannon. Close to the harbour is Holy Island, the site of monastery since the 6th century.Mountshannon celebrates the beauties of Lough Derg, one of Irelands biggest & most beautiful lakes. Developed in the 18th century as a port on the great Shannon Navigation, its main street looks down the hillside over the harbour & out across the lake to the distant mountains of Co Tipperary.
It has a splendid 10th century round tower & traces of fine romanesque sculpture. At midsummer in year 2000, Aistear Inis cealtra, a public park in the village was opened. It is centred on a maze inspired by seven ages of spirituality in Ireland.
Quin is situated seven miles east of Ennis.
Quin Abbey founded in 1350, lies at the centre of the village. The abbey is built in Irish Romanesque style and contains a perfectly preserved cloister along with the tombs of the historic local family, the MacNamara’s.
The nearby Knappogue Castle has been beautifully restored in 15th century style and mediaeval banquets are held here from April to October. One mile from Knappogue, the Craggaunowen Bronze Age project recreates daily life in Ireland of the and 4th and 5th centuries.
Three miles from Quin can be found Maghadair, the ancient site on which the kings and queens of Munster were crowned.
Close by to the village of Clooney is Spancilhill, famous for its annual Horse Fair, held on 23rd of June. At one time Spancilhill was said to be Ireland’s largest fair with buyers from Britain, Russia, Prussia, and France competing to purchase the best stock for their Imperial armies. Recently the fair has been revived and is now going from strength to strength.
Visitors to the Quin/Clooney area can choose from a wide range of leisure activities including horse riding, pony trekking, horse drawn vehicle hire, golf, pitch and putt, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, archery, tennis, hunting and shooting.
Scariff is a pleasant market town perched on a height above Lough Derg. It is accessible from the lake through the Graney River, a river which has served Scariff for hundreds of years. All supplies to the town were brought by boat from Dublin to Scariff dock & and then taken by horse & cart to the surrounding villages.
It now serves the town as a modern marina for cruises & pleasure craft. A book written a few years ago describes it as one of the most beautiful inland waterways in Europe.
Scariff has changed with the times, but one of the remaining landmarks of the old town is the market house built in 1894. It is now a prospering town with schools, services & amenities to suit all ages.
The village of Sixmilebridge grew up around a crossing on the O’Garney River. This crossing was six miles from where the O’Garney enters the River Shannon. Hence the name Sixmilebridge.
The village has a proud industrial past. Once the centre of a thriving milling industry, it developed strong trading links with Holland when Dutch settlers came to live in the village in the late 17th century.
The Dutch influence can still be seen in the street names and architecture of the village today. A local walking guide is available from shops in the town and includes information on the countryside around the village.
The village of Kilmurry takes its name from Cill Mhuire na nGall, or “Mary’s Church of the Strangers.”
This name dates back almost 700 years, to when the Norman invaders built a church outside the village.
Mountcashel Tower House, dating from the 15th century stands just outside the village. It is one of the few tower houses in the country still inhabited.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park are just 3 miles from Sixmilebridge, while the nearby Craggaunowen Centre offers the visitor a glimpse of Ireland in the Bronze Age.
Pitch & putt and horse riding are among the activities available in the area.
Tuamgraney – 3km from Scariff, has many points of interest. These include the protestant parish Church, which is the oldest church in Ireland used for worship today, and the woods in Raheen estate, which contain primeval oak trees of great antiquity. “The Brian Boro Oak “is reckoned to be the oldest tree in Ireland.
Also of interest are the remains of Scariff Workhouse. The novelist Edna O”Brien was born & reared in Tuamgraney and its people and places make the background for her early work.
The area has several prehistoric gallery graves. Like the rest of the Clare Lakelands region, Tulla offers great fishing. Calaun Lake also offers great sailing. There is a festival in Tulla every year in September.
Whitegate is situated between the Slieve Aughty mountains & Lough Derg.Whitegate is an attractive scattered village with a number of pubs, shops, restaurants and two good harbours all of which enable visitors to walk the delightful hill tracks with spectacular views.
Record coarse fishing & game fish have been caught in the locality .