The Shannon region - the perfect place for pleasure
Explore the delights of County Clare
There’s a folk park in the grounds of the castle whereyou can learn how the ordinary people of Ireland lived inbygone times. Marvel as daily life is recreated in ruralfarmhouses and village shops. Watch as women cooksoda bread on open fires and churn butter before yourvery eyes. They may even give you a slice of warm breadslathered with freshly-made butter when it’s ready.
You can keep up the pretense of time-traveling all daylong if you like. Banquets are held in the castle mostevenings. At these events, you’ll be entertained by musicianssinging medieval madrigals and kilted pipers playingtraditional tunes while you sit at a candlelit long oaktable eating dishes from the medieval era washed downwith mead, the honeyed drink of the gods.
Once you’ve tired of medieval life in Bunratty, you canexplore river life in Killaloe. Sitting on the banks of LoughDerg, Ireland’s pleasure lake, this is a town of charmingnarrow streets that wind up a steep hillside and overlook a13th-century cathedral. It is also the hometown of perhapsthe best known of Ireland’s high kings, Brian Ború.
This 11th-century king must have navigated the waters ofthe Shannon in his time and you can follow in his footsteps(or should that be slipstream?) by chartering your owncruiser. A few days of slow-paced riverboat life, watchingthe countryside glide by, should leave you feeling utterlyrelaxed.
And ready for more exploration? Having regained yourland legs, head for the village of Tulla. A fishing centerbased around three lakes, Tulla boasts a medieval parishchurch and seven megalithic tombs. It also has a strongmusical heritage. The Tulla Céilí Band is known for itsrousing renditions of traditional music. Fishing, uncoveringthe secrets of the past and Irish dancing – you can do it allin Tulla.
By this stage, you may be missing the bustle of the bigtown. Fortunately, Ennis is only a few miles away. One ofIreland’s most picturesque towns, you’ll find plenty toamuse you here.
The old town is divided by the River Fergus, whichmeans there are lots of riverside walks through the town. You can explore the 13th-century friary, wander throughthe winding streets and browse in its old shops while gabblinggeese and dabbling ducks play alongside.
Ennis is also known for contemporary culture. Its art galleriesshowcase the works of modern-day Irish artists. And Glór, its state-of-the-art performance center, attracts the bestnational and international acts.
Having had your fill of Irish culture – Clare style – it’stime to explore Clare’s most unique landscape, the Burren.Leave Ennis behind and head north.
Before you arrive in the Burren proper, stop off for a walk in Dromore Woods, just outside Ruan. This nature reserve ofrivers, lakes, flooded meadows, peat bogs and reed beds isrich in woodland species. Who knows what you’ll see as youwander?