- We will be coming from Galway toward Ennis, so will be doing the driving tour in Rick's book in reverse (not ideal I know). How long should we allow for his Burren Drive with stops at Poulnabrone Dolmen, Caherconnell fort and visitor center, Leamaneh Castle, and Kilfenora including the visitor center and church?
- Also we'll be doing a day boat trip to Inishmore the next day, including past Cliffs of Moher on the return. Given that, how much time should we allow for Cliffs of Moher from the mainland?
- Finally we'll be staying in Ennis for 2 nights. Any specific recommendations on things to see/do, restaurants and bars? Both nights we need to turn in fairly early because the days afterward are very full.
I'm also interested in any replies to questions 2 and 3.
If you have Caherconnell fort you must have an interest in old structures. Caherconnell has been seriously rebuilt. But not so far away is one of the most rustic drives in Ireland. You are aware of lovely Ennis. Head out of Ennis to Corofin, another nice little place, continue on your way on the A476 through Killinaboy. West of Killinaboy a road turns off to the right, (north) and you will know you are on the correct road because almost immediately there is a switch back. This road runs in between several megalithic tombs, several are signposted, but eventually as you continue north , and Google maps, if you zoom in enough will show you Cahercommaun Castle. This is unreconstructed, in an amazing location.
How much time to spend on the ground at the Cliffs of Moher? As little as possible. That is only partially a joke.
Oh and Leamaneh Castle is just a shell. You might buy Peter Harbison's book Guide to National Monuments of Ireland. under $9 on eBay. There are many sites to see from antiquity plus Holy Wells in this Burren region.
If you are seeing the Cliffs of Moher from a boat then don't bother spending a lot of time viewing from above. There are other much better ways to spend the time...
The drive north from Doolin along the coast to Black Head and Ballyvaughan is well worth doiung for its scenery.
During a thirty-day trip around Ireland last summer, I spent my first and last nights in Ennis. I had a very nice and hospitable B&B (Glenomra), but the town was quite disappointing and essentially empty at night vis-a-vis the lively, bustling town I knew from a number of earlier trips. I attribute this largely to the pandemic, which has taken quite a toll on restaurants and accommodations around the country. Many eateries were closed one weekday a week due to staff shortages and some had closed permanently, as had some shops.
On the last night in Ennis, a friend and I had an excellent dinner at Henry's Bistro, a little corner restaurant off the main road into town. Being a bistro its beer offerings are limited (two or three non-Irish), but wines are also offered.
I concur with the scenic drive through Ballyvaughan and around the Black Head Point.
I would highly recommend doing a guided walk in The Burren. My daughter and I did this in late September last year with Mary O'Dea. Fantastic! Here is her website link: https://www.hiddenburrenwalks.net/
I had wanted to go to the Burren Perfumery, https://burrenperfumery.com/
which is also worth a visit IMO. We met Mary there in the car park and followed her out to where we started our walk.
PBS did a 2 part documentary on The Burren that I would highly recommend watching too. You'll get a lot more out of your visit to the area if you do.
Ennis is darling. The TI office houses a small museum (it was across the courtyard from our hotel) that I also highly recommend. I'll be back there Oct 1-Oct 4th.
Have a wonderful time.
I take it that Rick doesn’t provide a time estimate for his Burren Drive. We did a tour (not Rick’s) by bicycle a few years ago, and that too the better part of a day. We also hired a separate tour (Tony Kirby - see Rick’s book suggestion) for the Burren flora and geography on another day, and that was about 2 hours,
We did a ferry boat to Inishmore (from Rossaveal, west of Galway) on that same trip, stayed the night, then a return ferry the next afternoon, with views of the Cliffs -as we approached Doolin. A few days later, we still spent about 2 hours at the Cliffs of Moher visitor center and the Cliffs from the mainland.
Ennis in May 2023, at a Traditional Music festival, we stayed at the Glenmore House B&B like David, but enjoyed the town. Dinner at Knox’s Bar, accompanied with music is likely, even when there’s not a festival going on - check to see what’s scheduled.
A short block down and around the corner from Knox’s, there’s Ciaran’s Bar, another regular venue for Trad music. I’m not so sure the offer dinner like Knox’s.
The Clare Museum that arlinevg mentioned is, indeed, a delightful stop. I liked the ground floor exhibits more than the upper floor.
For something different in Ennis than Irish Stew, there’s really good Nepalese food at Everest Kitchen. We had lunch there, but with dinner, there’s live Nepalese music performed.
Thanks to all of you wayner, wasleys, david, arlinevg and cyn. I know I'm overbooking our days, so appreciate your insight on time especially. We're going to have to pare down - again!
- We were underwhelmed by the Burren and it's Visitor Center. The attractions you mentioned only take about 15 minutes each to see.
- We did the ferry to the Aran Islands with side trip to the Cliffs of Moher. It is well worth it. As for then seeing the Cliffs I would say 1-1.5 hours is good. Arrive before 10 though before the place is overrun by tour busses or late in the afternoon.
Sounds like a great itinerary. I'd say at least 30 minutes to walk about at Poulnabrone. IMO, It is a special place and should not be rushed... As someone else has replied, Leamaneh is "a shell," within a pasture, and on private land. It is easily seen from the road, very well worth the pretty drive and easy stop, but you will not need much more than 5 minutes once there. The Burren visitor centre in Kilfenora is amazingly well-done, and I highly recommend it. It is compact, giving a nice overview, and it also had a nice selection of books and gifts in the shop when we were there in April. Very helpful staff, also. I'd say 30 minutes is sufficient (if you are a fast shopper;). They have a cafe, also, but we did not try it. The cathedral in Kilfenora is a must-see, definitely worth 30-45 minutes if you want to appreciate the ambiance and see the very special crosses and stone carvings. I cannot speak to Caherconnell fort as we did not go there. You will be near Burren Perfumery, too, which is very nice if you appreciate native plants, lovely smells, and the beauty of nature.
If you're going to be near the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre, I would highly recommend spending time there, also. It is quite informative; 30 minutes is sufficient (not including the incredible gift shop). Then, at least stroll up to the tower for the amazing views. It's a short walk (~15 minutes), so time spent there will depend on how many photos you stop to take! You will better appreciate the immense beauty of this place and the Aran Islands if you see them from the edge of the cliff, as well as from the boat. Great place to stretch the legs, too.
Have fun! I'm guessing you're going to want to go back to see more of the Burren...which you can do from Ennis.
What as shame you were underwhelmed by the Burren jimk. The limestone scenery is so very different to the rest of Ireland.
The Burren is so very different!
We loved our stop at the perfumery. We enjoyed our lunch and taking photos of the garden and cats. I'd go back, again, but I wouldn't return to the Cliffs....maybe it's because I'm not a fan of heights--nor the huge crowds.
Stop at Burren Fine Food and Wine. I still remember the pie. They serve lunch too.
In Ennis we love The Poets Corner and ate there twice. It was that good.
Have a great time!