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Ennis

Country
Ireland
State
Shannon Region
City
Ennis
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

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Places to Visit
How to Reach

Ennis is served by both bus and rail links to all major cities and towns in Ireland. The main bus depot is adjacent to the town's train station and both are located about one kilometre distance from the town centre. The station is situated on the Clon Road toward the east of the town, which links to the main N18 in either direction.

Bus services are provided to Shannon Airport, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Dublin and all routes in between and run nearly every hour. Shannon Airport is 15 minutes from Ennis, providing daily flights to European and US destinations.

Ennis was formerly the starting point of the West Clare Railway, a narrow gauge railway which ran from Ennis to Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay and onwards to the towns and villages along the West Clare coastline. Trains ran from the same railway station as still used by mainline Irish railway services. The line was CIÉ's last narrow gauge railway and was finally closed in 1961, despite investment in new diesel trains in the early/mid 1950s.

Key places to visit
Sixmilebridge, Quin Abbey, Dysert O'Dea, Craggaunowen Project, Bunratty Castle


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Places to Visit

Bunratty Castle

From Sixmilebridge a minor road runs southwest to the village of Bunratty where, on the banks of a stream, stands Bunratty Castle (15th C: National Monument), which, after an eventful history of destruction and rebuilding, was acquired in 1954 by Lord Gort and magnificently restored; it is now managed by Shannon Free Airport Development Ltd. The great hall and banqueting hall, chapel and residential apartments are furnished with a splendid collection of period furniture, and "medieval banquets" for visitors are held in the banqueting hall.

Craggaunowen Project

To the south of Knappogue Castle, east of Ennis, is a restored castle, the 16th C. Craggaunowen Castle, which is part of a larger enterprise, the Craggaunowen Project. The castle itself contains a small collection of medieval religious art from the Hunt Collection, mostly from the Continent. In the grounds can be seen reconstructions of structures from the earliest periods of human settlement in Ireland, including a crannog (lake dwelling) in a small lough and a stone ring fort, both with huts and implements of the period. In a glass shed is displayed the leather boat in which Tim Severin and his crew re-enacted the medieval voyages of St Brendan in 1976 and 1977. The gatekeeper's lodge, to the left, next to the castle entrance, has been turned into a chapel. Notable is the bronze cross (15th C).

Dysert O'Dea

Northwest of Ennis (the N85 to Fountain Cross, then 4mi/6km to the left on the R476) lies the site of Dysert O'Dea (National Monument), with a church, a round tower, and a high cross. The present church dates from the late 17th C., when it was reconstructed more or less in its original form (12th-13th C.). It has a fine Romanesque doorway carved with beautiful geometric designs, foliage and rather Mongoloid masks. At the northwest corner of the church stands the stump of a round tower, still 40ft/12m high, and in a field to the east is a high cross, with an unusual figure of the Crucified Christ, fully clothed, on the east side; the other sides are divided into panels with a variety of geometric patterns, human figures and interlace designs with animals.

Quin Abbey

6mi/10km east of Ennis on the R469 is Quin, with Quin Abbey (1402: National Monument), the well-preserved ruins of a Franciscan friary built on the foundations of an earlier castle, the bastions of which can still be seen. The church has tombstones of the 15th to 19th C.; well-preserved cloister. On the other side of the little river stands St Finghin's Church (13th C.: National Monument); the tower is a later addition.

Sixmilebridge

The R462 leads south from Craggaunowen Project to Sixmilebridge, a pretty little village with what has been called a "Georgian doll's house," Mount Ievers (1736). From here a minor road runs southwest to the village of Bunratty where, on the banks of a stands Bunratty Castle.

Right Time to Visit

April - August

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