Located just 15 miles (24 km) from the Shannon airport in Ireland is Ennis, the capital city of County Clare. Known ’round the world as the home of traditional Irish music with year round music festivals and trad (“traditional”) sessions.
Self-proclaimed as Ireland’s ‘friendliest town’, Ennis contains restaurants, pubs, boutique stores, heritage sites, and plenty of smiling faces.
The town was a quick lunch stop on our journey from Killarney to Lisdoonvarna. We visited the highly rated Poet’s Corner restaurant located in the Old Ground Hotel for a tasty and traditional Irish lunch.
Following a delicious and filling meal, we walked 5 minutes down O’Connell Street to the Ennis Friary.
This 13th century Franciscan Friary, now a ruin, has been partially restored with a modern roof preserving the church’s main sanctuary.
The friary is open to visitors from April to October. You can tour the grounds on your own or take a guided tour if you so please.
We chose to explore the ruins ourselves at a leisurely pace, admiring the intricate details of the many archways…
… and the 15th and 16th century sculptures carved into the local hard limestone.
Though there was a light drizzle, we walked outside to explore the exterior of the friary.
Upon our drive into Ennis, we spotted church ruins from the highway. Following a day at the Cliffs of Moher and a few days in Oughterard, we again passed the ruins and decided to swing in for a visit!
Clare Abbey, founded in 1189, was the first, largest, and most important Augustinian house in County Clare. You can get to Clare Abbey on Limerick Road, off the Clarecastle Roundabout.
Gravestones adorn the property, and some are fairly recent. It’s clear there is a rich and present history behind these fascinating ruins.
Traveling throughout Ireland uncovers many hidden gems, like the small and friendly town of Ennis.
For our road-trip adventure around the Emerald Isle, we rented a car from Dooley Car Rental at the Dublin Airport.