Explore the history of Clare from Ennis
Clare is a county packed with historical intrigue and sights you have to see at least once in your lifetime...and Ennis is the perfect place from which to base yourself to take in all this history. Here are some of our favourite sites worth visiting near the county capital…
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Find out what it was like to live in Ireland over a century ago, at this beautiful 15th-century castle set on 26 acres. The castle itself – just a 21-minute drive from Ennis – is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland and contains 15th- and 16th-century furnishings, tapestries and works of art from that time. There’s a living rural village to explore, complete with farmhouses, village shops and streets, as well as Bunratty House, a fine example of a Georgian residence.
A Living Past Experience, this is Ireland’s original award-winning Pre-historic Park, giving you the opportunity to learn about the people, homesteads, animals and artefacts of Ireland’s Celtic ancestors, over 1,000 years ago. Travel back in time to the life of the hunter-gatherer in the ring fort, see how the Celts went about their day-to-day activities and understand the contribution they made to Irish society at the time. Craggaunowen is just a 27-minute drive from Ennis.
Brian Boru Heritage Centre
Want to find out more about Ireland’s greatest king? This very special little place celebrates the life of the man whose army defeated the invading Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. This is also a great chance to explore Killaloe, a beautiful little town on the south end of Lough Derg, which is just a 48-minute drive from Ennis. Saint Flannan's Cathedral, built in the 13th century, is among the other historical landmarks in the area.
Vandeleur Walled Garden
The Vandeleur Walled Garden is a real treat for the senses and just a 39-minute drive from Ennis. Once the private garden of Kilrush House – ancestral home to the landed gentry Vandeleur family in the early 19th century – this sheltered paradise of 2.158 acres is set among 420 acres of native woodland. Here, many unusual and tender plants thrive in the area’s uniquely western latitude microclimate – and the result is a beautiful horticultural medley of trees, flowers, plants and water features.