Unforgetabble Ireland : Clare (Part 2), Adare of Limerick

Ennis

Ennis is a lovely town. Historic and charming, it has nice accommodations, restaurants and interesting things to see, including highly recommended Ennis Friary, a 13th Franciscan Friary in ruin. But we did not get to do as much as I’d planned for Ennis. We had dinner in town center on the first night and back in town again the next morning for a couple of hours but we left without getting to Ennis Friary and Dromoland Castle Hotel which is nor far south of Ennis.

Brogans on O’Connell Street in the heart of the town

Brogans on O’Connell Street in the heart of the town


Returning from Cliff of Moher and the Burren, we went to Ennis’ town center for dinner. Brogan’s is one of the places recommended by Joan, the B&B owner. We got a parking spot right outside of the restaurant and parked free since it was almost 9pm on Sunday. But besides parking on the streets, Ennis has a few convenient public parking garages right in town just blocks away.

1st dinner in Ireland

1st dinner in Ireland


I had mussels. My husband had Traditional Irish Beef Stew, with carrots, onions and potatoes, and of course, Guinness, an integral part of his dinner while in Ireland. We shared a Crème Brulee for desert. They were good.
Daniel O’Connell Monument on the north end of O’Connell Street

Daniel O’Connell Monument on the north end of O’Connell Street

Dunes on O’Connell Street

Dunes on O’Connell Street


The next morning (Jun 15th) we went back to Ennis town center looking for plug adaptors and cell phone for the trip. We parked in a public garage, (I think that was on Carmody Street), just a block away from O’Connel Street. Dunes is like a Target with groceries. Dunes did not carry plug adaptors but we found some at a small drug store a few doors down. I had found out ahead of time that Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse (Ireland’s largest cell phone companies) both have stores on O’Connell Street and hoped to pick up a cell phone for the trip. But we did not find the right deal.
St Peter & Paul’s Pro Cathedral on corner of O’Connell Street and Station Road

St Peter & Paul’s Pro Cathedral on corner of O’Connell Street and Station Road


The cathedral was built in 1831, two years after Catholic Emancipation. We did not go inside.
An interesting statue in town Center

An interesting statue in town Center

Chinese restaurant, COCO

Chinese restaurant, COCO


While walking around, we stumbled across a stylish Chinese restaurant, COCO, and remembered that it was recommended to us by Kevin, whom we met at Europcar rental at Shannon Airport. Interesting for a small town like Ennis, COCO was the 3rd Chinese restaurants that we noticed in its town center. I guess Chinese food is popular there. Throughout our trip, we continued to see Chinese restaurants in every town that we visited.

Bunratty Castle and Village

From Ennis’ town center, we quickly merged found N18 and headed south for Bunratty. Bunratty is south east of Shannon and about 20 minutes from Ennis. The main attractions, Bunratty Castle and Bunratty Folk Park, are right next to each other within the same walled ground and one admission gives access to both.

Bunratty Castle

The site and the castle are both rich in history, from the Vikings, to the Normans, to King of England and to Irish chieftains, fortresses and castles had been built and destroyed. The existing castle was built in 1425. After a long succession of owners, the castle was left in disrepair in 1804 when the Studdart family abandoned the castle for the more modern Bunratty House located in the north eastern end of Bunratty Village. Fortunately, the castle was purchased by Viscount Lord Gort in 1954 and was impressively restored to its former condition. It is furnished and decorated in 15th and 16th furniture, tapestries and art work.

One of the best preserved medieval castles in Ireland, it is an amazing living museum of the medieval life. Obviously, the main aim of a castle in those days was defense against potential attacks. As mighty as its structure and as grand as its banquet hall, it is dark, confined. Its spiral stairways with narrow steps make getting up and down a painstaking effort and there is always a dreadful dungeon. It is easy to understand really, why the Studdart family abandoned it for the more comfortable and convenient Bunratty House.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

Main Guard

Main Guard

Chandelier made out of antler

Chandelier made out of antler

Public Chapel

Public Chapel

A couple of large turtle shells used to serve food

A couple of large turtle shells used to serve food

The Great Hall (From a small window on a higher level)

The Great Hall (From a small window on a higher level)

View from one of the towers

View from one of the towers

Bedroom of South Solar (Guest Apartment)

Bedroom of South Solar (Guest Apartment)

Dining room of South Solar (Guest suite)

Dining room of South Solar (Guest suite)

Bunratty Village

Separated by the castle wall, Bunratty Village showcases a 19th century rural village. Among others included in this 26 acre village, are a fisher man’s house, farmers’ houses, rich landowner’s house, Bunratty mansion house, church, town center with pub, post office and shops and a school, a doctor’s house and mills. Some of the houses were moved here from other parts of the country and others are original to the village.

It is an interesting, visual way to learn the life of 19th century Irish rural village, especially when there are costumed actors participating. On the day we went, we saw only a few elder ladies in modest 19th century long dresses that covered them from neck to ankle. They were baking scones or bread in different houses and invited visitors to try.

The tea room in the village, converted from a former byre/barn, is a good place for a break. We had light sandwiches there for lunch. We ended up spending close to 5 hours at Bunratty and did not have time for anything else in Bunratty but if you can, Blarney Woollen Mills is a shopping center right across the street and Durty Nelly’s, a famous old pub, is by the river on the way in.

Shannon Farmhouse

Shannon Farmhouse


This farmhouse originally stood on the site of the runway at Shannon Airport
The living room at Shannon farmhouse

The living room at Shannon farmhouse

Cute pony

Cute pony

What a sleek rooster!

What a sleek rooster!

Bunratty’s town center

Bunratty’s town center

The village pub

The village pub

Inside JJ Corry’s pub

Inside JJ Corry’s pub

Guinness is good for you!

Guinness is good for you!


This sign posted on the western wall of the pub got my husband’s attention.
Bunratty House’s western front

Bunratty House’s western front

Stable at Bunratty House

Stable at Bunratty House


It is now museum to a collection of farm machineries.
A room at Bunratty House

A room at Bunratty House

Bunratty House’s walled garden and rolling hills beyond the wall

Bunratty House’s walled garden and rolling hills beyond the wall

Grazing sheep

Grazing sheep

Village church

Village church

Modest village church

Modest village church

Adare, Limerick

Adare village in Limerick County is dubbed “the loveliest village in Ireland” and we stopped by briefly on our way down to Kenmare, Kerry. It took only about 35 minutes to get to Adare from Bunratty but it was already close to 6pm when we arrived. Many places were closed. We walked around the small town center (Main Street) but cancelled the plan to visit Adare Manor House Hotel, a well known golf resort and hotel in Adare.

Trinitarian Abbey and its high cross (Main Street)

Trinitarian Abbey and its high cross (Main Street)


Trinitarian Abbey, or Holy Trinity Abbey, was a monastery of Trinitarian order established in Adare on this site in 13th century. The church building was restored and enlarged in 19th century and is now a local Catholic church.
Impressive church

Impressive church

Lovely cottages with thatched roof line Main St

Lovely cottages with thatched roof line Main St

Adare’s Main Street

Adare’s Main Street

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