Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare
Bunratty (Bun Raite) Castle overlooks the River Shannon. The castle is in excellent condition and well worth the visit. Bunratty Castle is one of the finest surviving examples of an Irish tower house. Although it is hard to believe the castle has had a bloody and violent history. Its strategic position on the river Shannon made it the centre of many a battle, and it has it has been destroyed and re-built on at least eight occasions. Origonally, the Vikings built a fortified settlement at this spot, a former island surrounded by a moat. Then the Normans came: Thomas de Clare built the first stone structure on the site in the 1270’s.
Craggaunowen, Co. Clare- ‘The Living Past’
Craggaunowen ‘The Living Past’ tells the story of the arrival of the Celts in Ireland and the many changes they wrought upon daily life. Their impact is evidenced in the creation of new tribal lake dwellings, farming and hunting methods which are explained by the costumed animators. A major feature of the visit, is a Crannog (meaning ‘young tree’) which is a reconstructed lake-dwelling of a type found in Ireland during the Iron Age and Early Christian periods.
Bunratty Folk Park The Folk Park adjoins the castle and aims to show what everyday life was like in rural Ireland about 100 years ago. It contains reconstructed farmhouses, cottages and shops, and care has been taken to make them as authentic as possible, particularly with regard to furnishings. The Park is a living museum : animals are tended, bread is baked, milk is churned, walls are whitewashed and roofs are thatched. You may visit an Irish farmhouse, watch the blacksmith fit a horseshoe, attend a weaving demonstration, and bake and eat scones at the local tea house. The village also reflects the fundamental changes that led to increased mobility.
Glór Irish Music Centre, Ennis County Clare
Open year round : Monday – Saturday
The Glór Irish Music center in Ennis, county Clare, the home of traditional Irish Music opened in 2001. Glór is a state of the art concert venue dedicated to the performance of traditional Irish music and will feature the countrys top ten musicians in a friendly and intimate theatre setting. Resturant and bar facilities available and a retail outlet.
Cliffs of Moher The majestic Cliffs of Moher stand against the might of the Atlantic Ocean. O’Brien’s Tower is located on the highest cliff and is the best location from which to view the Cliffs, from this vantage point one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk Mountains to the north in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. The Cliffs can be visited daily, year-round. O Brien’s tower open daily, March to October. Visitor centre open year round.
Ailwee Caves, Ballyvaughan Guided tours, lasting 30 minutes, allow you to observe beautiful caverns, bridged chasms, underground waterfalls, weird mineral formations and the hibernation chambers of brown bears which have been extinct in Ireland for centuries. Facilities include a restaurant, craft shop, information desk and outside and ‘The Hazelwood’ crafts village. This stunning creation of nature was formed by the melt waters of a prehistoric ice age. The cave, carved out of limestone, cuts into the heart of the mountain.
Michael Cusack Centre, Carron, County Clare
The Micheal Cusack centre celebrates the life of Michael Cusack, the founder of the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), the most important indigenous sporting organisation in Ireland. Situated at Carron in the middle of the starkly beautiful Burren landscape, the centre includes the original restored Cusack homestead, and a modern interpretive and exhibition centre.