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Thursday, 15 September 2016

Ennis Photo Walk Tour

Buy this photo here 

O Connell Street
Where: Ennis

Why: Ennis is the largest town in Clare there is alot on there and this blog is just a list of a few of the places I like.

What: Heritage market town.

Whats there: Irish music, good food and accomodation, heritage trail.
How: I drove from Galway by the M18 and N18
How much : Free

Experience and history: 
When I was driving down the Cannonball run was on. Its a convoy of super cars who do a road trip for charity. I did not manage to get a photo of them but there was some cool cars for sure. Lots of people gathered on the roadside with mobile phones looking to get a photo too. Nice atmosphere.

Ennis is renowned for its traditional Irish Music to help you out they even have a trad trail. So if you are looking to experience a trad session be sure to go to one of the places on the list. The town has also been awarded a purple flag as a gold standard for a night destination. In order to gain a purple flag places have to prove themselves in 30 criteria that they are well managed between 5pm and 5am. Ennis is certainly a popular nighttime spot during the weekends, especially for hen and stag nights.

I managed to delete the first draft of this! Not a happy bunny as it is a  long post  so lots of work went into it so here it is again. This may not be a typical tour post but I hope I have done the people of Ennis proud and shown that there is something for everyone here.

1. Glor 

If you are planning a trip to Ennis then be sure to check out events in Glor as it might be the highlight of your stay. Glor is a theatre space and hosts numerous acts from music to plays. There is also an art gallery on site and a restaurant and bar.  

2. Street Art and Sculpture 

It may not be the most obvious destination but there is art and sculpture scattered all over the town. From a creative point of view Ennis is a little bit of a hidden gem. But if you visit and look closely you will see that there are some very talented artists in the area. I love the fish sculpture and the Celtic rest. The craftsmanship in both is pretty impressive. 

3. Hen Parties and Stags too
 I went on a Saturday so here is a hen on the prowl!! There is nearly always a hen/stag party roaming around Ennis at the weekend. Its a popular spot.

4. Carrig Donn, Bank Place just off O'Connell Street
There are lots of Carrig Donns but this the biggest one I know of. It has lots of lovely things from gifts to ladies wear and bags. This one also has a cafe. I love the window and especially the light here. There is lots of lovely things inside this shop. 

A new find for me and only a few doors down from Carrick Donn. They make smoothies and juices. Its a health food store and I understand that they have alternative health practitioners upstairs too. 

 6. O Connell Statue
Daniel O'Connell is an important figure in Irish history and is known as The Liberator.  There are a number of streets in Ireland called O'Connell street after him. He campaigned for Irish Emancipation and the right for Irish Catholics to sit in the British Parliament. In 1828 he co-founded the Catholic Association whose main aim was to secure by all legal means emancipation for Ireland. While he was born in Kerry he was elected as MP of County Clare. Catholic Emancipation was granted in 1829 and finally in 1830 O'Connell became the first Catholic in modern history to sit in the House of Commons.  

 7. Winkles and Dillisk, O Connell Street
I have not tried but I can say I have not seen winkles or dillisk for sale anywhere else. This is right in the heart of Ennis. A little bit different but in a good way. 

 This hotel is super central and right in the middle of town. Love the chandeliers in reception too. I have eaten in the bar before and it was nice. The hotel is actually a converted convent of the Sisters of Mercy .Prior to the buildings use as a convent it was owned by Charles O'Connell a cousin of Daniel O'Connell MP of Clare in the British Parliament. If you follow the lane off O'Connell Street before you come to the Winkle stand there is a pedestrianised lane that takes you down to the hotel.

9. Clare Museum 

Inside you will find the history of the county and artefacts as well as audio-visual presentations. There is information on artefacts found at Portnabrone Dolmen and Clare's link with the Spanish Armada. Admission is free also. There is a lane beside the Temple Gate Hotel which will take you to the Museum. There is also a tourist information point here I believe. 

10. Milano  , O Connell Street
Back to O'Connell Street.  There is a few of these and the more the merrier I say. I love Italian. I recommend the Leggera Sloppy Guiseppe  pizza and Chocolate Glory for dessert. Its a treat place for sure but I like it here. They always have great offers too. My friend loves the dough balls as well.

11: Glamorize 

 Its full of sparkly things which I love and costume jewellery so if your on the lookout for something special then you may find it here. Ennis also has a number of boutiques so a lot of ladies come here to an outfit for an occasion.

12. Old Ground Hotel 

A great hotel I have stayed and its really comfortable with friendly staff and nice food. You cat eat outside as well if the weather is good and just watch the world go by. The reception area has some comfy sofas if the weather is not up to much and you just want to chill out and read a paper. Poets Corner is very popular with locals and residents its on the trad trail and serves good food and drinks. The hotel is a converted 18th century house also.

13. Ennis Cathedral (St Peters and Pauls).

As you can see there was a wedding and such cool cars I had to show you. I love both the camper van and the white 1940's style car. Anyway to the church its really impressive and stands in the centre of the town. Its beautiful inside and out. Its right across the road from the Old Ground Hotel. The site was donated to the church in 1828 but building the church was a slow process and a labour of love as the first mass was held in the unfinished church in 1842. The Irish Famine then halted works but finally in 1874 both the church and the spire was finished.Well worth a visit if in the area.

If you head up a little lane beside church past the Russian doll pillar ( see below) it leads you to Barrack Street.
14. Ennis Gourmet Store 

Popular spot for alfresco dining. This cafe do everything from breakfast to lunch, coffee to wines and also food hampers with local produce. A great place to go if you have foodie friends and a nice spot on a sunny day.

15. Cocos 

Owned by the same owners as the Jasmine Palace in Limerick. Cocos offers great value for money with early bird and set dinner menus. If you like Chinese food come here. I like the a sweet and sour! 

 16. Angel Times 
 Holistic store there is also one in Limerick. Stocks everything from crystals to aromatherapy and give you little gold paper angels with your change. Staff are nice in both shops.

Round the corner to Market Place

17. Katmandu

 This was a new find and is a quirky little shop full of of different kinds of presents.

18. Rene Cusack 

Another shop of Limerick fame. Rene Cusacks are the best fishmongers bar none. If you are self catering and looking for a fish course come here. They always offer deals and have anything and everything in stock. 

I came late on Saturday morning and they were closing up. You can get everything from food to clothing and bric a brac here. I love to seeing markets making a comeback and small local producers getting a chance to showcase their goods. 

20. Zest 

I love Zest amazing fresh salads and the cakes here are equally as wow. If its a friends birthday come here. The only problem will be choosing which cake. They cook fresh bread too. Really talented cooks one of my favourite spots and very good at what they do.

On Lower Market Street:

21. The Wine Buff: 
There used to be one in Limerick too. Its a great spot for people interested in wine. They also do the most amazing gift boxes . I used to get them at Christmas with a red and white wine. But if you go into the shop you can choose what you want. Never got a bad bottle of wine from here. Keep it in mind if any friends are wine lovers.

22. Glitzi Bitz 
There is a few of these around but they are great for getting accessories in. They stock everything from bags to fancy hair pieces so if you are going to a wedding or a party it's a good place to check out.

There was lots of chalk writing hearts and flowers leading me here so I went. Its a lovely indoor market with everything from candles to soaps. Its a nice find too and a new one for me.

I kept heading up the lane from Chapel Lane market and came out on high street I turned down Abbey Street.

24. Knoxs 
My favourite pub in Ennis. Good music, good pub grub and also atmosphere at the weekend. Also, a nice place to watch a match if your in town. Recommended for sure. Late bar at the weekends.

25. Queens Hotel 
This is where everyone seems to end up in Ennis on a Friday or Saturday night. They have a nightclub but also a late bar. The Queens is also a hotel and very popular with hens and stags too. Its popular and busy at weekends. 

Everything from Belleek pottery to Waterford and Galway crystal in stock in this shop. If looking for handcrafted gifts or presents a good place to go. 

Is an OPW site meaning its State owned. The history of the site is briefly as follows: 13th century friary founded by the O'Briens of Thomond. They supported the monastery from 13th-15th and were recorded as donating bells and other items to the monks. Under the O'Briens patronage the monastery rose to prominence and became known as a centre for sculpture. At its peak circa 1500AD, it was believed that there was around 1000 people living a working within the confines of this monastery from friars to students. There are a number of sculptures of the note including one of St Francis and others of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ on the site. The McMahon tomb has many carvings as well of note and was commissioned by Marie O'Brien/McMahin. While a law was passed in 1531 that all Catholic Monasteries and Friars were to close. The friars held on as long as possible and it was not until 1540 that the law was fully accepted.The chapel has beautiful gothic windows as you can see above too. Guided tours are available.

28. Seodin Eile 
Jewellery shop with watches, crystal, Celtic jewellery, crystal, silver and gold pieces. I love this little shop and there is a bigger one in the town which has pottery and more products. Its right beside the friary.

Not any ordinary hostal this has a renowned restaurant and cafe on site. The hostel itself seems to have a very good rating on tripadvisor its close to the town centre too. I have not stayed so cannot say if its any good. Check out the website for offers. 

Flows through the town there is I believe 5 bridges crossing it. Its a feature in itself and it renowned for trout and salmon fishing. If you are into angling check out link above.

Coming back up Abbey Street across the road from Knoxs pub. There is a little lane with this mural on it. Not sure what it is called. If you walk down here it will bring you to the new Friary.

31. New Ennis Friary

After the reformation the friars remained within the community but had to move from the site of the old Friary. They found places of refuge. By 1800 they returned to the town and were recorded as living in Lysaghts lane. The site of the new friary was acquired in 1824 and the church was was opened in 1856. Mass is still celebrated in this church and the tradition of friars in Ennis lives on. The old friary site was returned to the friars as an ecumenical gesture by the Church of Ireland in 1969. 

32. Cusack Park 

Just down the road from the friary is Cusack park. Its is named after one of the founding members of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) called Michael Cusack. The park has a capacity of around 28,000. It is where hurling, camogie and Gaelic football are played. If you are visiting in the summer and there is a match on try to get tickets. If its a big match you can sometimes buy in the local Supervalu. 

Pros: So much on offer for Ennis. Well worth going for a weekend or overnight stay. Its a good base as well for County Clare as the Burren and the Cliffs, Lahinch are not too far away. 
Cons: No cons as locals are nice and friendly too. Which always helps. Its in no way inclusive of all the best places its just some of them. I hope I have given you plenty of inspiration. 

Local attractions: 
More information: 
The Town Hall also a good place to eat!! Part of the Old Ground Hotel

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