Ennis, a captivating town situated in the heart of County Clare in Ireland, is a treasure trove of history, culture, music, and more. The cobblestone streets, charming shops, traditional Irish pubs, and the welcoming spirit of the locals, affectionately known as the ‘Banner County,’ make it an unforgettable destination.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Ennis
One of the most emblematic sites in Ennis, the Ennis Friary, a beautifully preserved Franciscan Friary, hails from the 13th century. Its intricate stone sculptures, mesmerizing Gothic architecture, and sacred aura make it an unmissable destination.
Visiting Clare Museum is akin to a journey through time. With artefacts spanning over 6000 years, it showcases the rich history and heritage of the county.
Daniel O’Connell Monument
Standing tall in the heart of Ennis, this monument commemorates the famed Irish political leader, Daniel O’Connell. The monument, itself a symbol of Irish resilience, brings alive the town’s fervent political past.
Ennis Sculpture Trail
Wander through the town on the Ennis Sculpture Trail, a unique public art initiative. Each sculpture tells a story, providing insightful snapshots of the town’s history and culture.
Top Things to do in Ennis
Enjoy Traditional Irish Music
Ennis is a hub of traditional Irish music. Visit one of the local pubs, like Brogan’s or Cruise’s, to enjoy a lively session. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the spirit of the town.
Stroll around River Fergus
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the River Fergus, which meanders through the town. The picturesque scenery, coupled with the tranquility of the flowing water, creates an idyllic environment for relaxation.
Explore the Shops of O’Connell Street
O’Connell Street, the main thoroughfare of Ennis, is filled with delightful shops. From locally made crafts to traditional Irish clothing, the bustling street offers a memorable shopping experience.
Attend the Fleadh Nua Festival
If your visit coincides with the Fleadh Nua Festival, do not miss it. The town comes alive with traditional music, dance, and plenty of merriment.
Must-See Places in Ennis
Ennis Ballyalla Lake
A serene haven on the outskirts of Ennis, Ballyalla Lake, is a sanctuary for birdwatchers and nature lovers. Its peaceful environs make it a wonderful picnic spot.
Cusack Park is the heartbeat of Gaelic games in Clare. Catch a hurling or Gaelic football match here to witness the local sporting fervor.
Dysert O’Dea Castle
A short drive from Ennis will take you to Dysert O’Dea Castle, a 15th-century stronghold now housing an archaeology centre. Explore the history-laden grounds and climb up to the battlements for panoramic views of the Clare countryside.
Just a stone’s throw from Ennis, the ruins of Clare Abbey, a 13th-century Augustinian monastery, echo with ancient spirituality. The picturesque setting on the banks of the Fergus makes it a must-see for history buffs.
Best Places to Visit in Ennis for First-Time Visitors
The majestic St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, with its towering spire, ornate interiors, and stunning stained-glass windows, is a quintessential first-time stop.
Glór Theatre is the cultural pulse of Ennis. Attend a concert, play, or art exhibition here to appreciate the town’s thriving arts scene.
Discover the vibrant Market Place, a hub for fresh produce and local crafts. Its bustling atmosphere encapsulates the lively spirit of Ennis.
First-time visitors should venture to Clarecastle, a picturesque village just outside Ennis. The tranquil marina, charming pubs, and the historic Clare Castle ruins make it an enchanting trip.
Best Places to Visit in Ennis for Families
Ennis Leisure Complex
The Leisure Complex, with its swimming pools, fitness facilities, and children’s pool, offers wholesome family fun.
Lees Road Sports and Amenity Park
Lees Road Park offers a wide range of activities. From woodland walks and playgrounds to sports fields and a skate park, there’s something for every family member.
Planet Entertainment Centre
This indoor play and bowling center is a hit with kids. With an array of games, it ensures a fun-filled family outing.
Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre
A short drive from Ennis, the Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre offer a unique family adventure. Explore the fascinating cave system and watch spectacular bird of prey displays.
Best Places to Visit in Ennis for Couples
Rowan Tree Café Bar
Enjoy a romantic meal at the Rowan Tree Café Bar. The riverside setting, coupled with the delicious food, makes it an ideal spot for couples.
Dromore Wood Nature Reserve
A walk in the Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, with its tranquil trails and beautiful flora and fauna, offers an intimate rendezvous with nature.
Ennis Farmers Market
Couples can enjoy browsing through the Ennis Farmers Market, picking up fresh produce, and trying local delicacies.
Mooghaun Hill Fort
Explore the ancient Mooghaun Hill Fort, where the romantic air of mystery and the panoramic views make it a perfect spot for couples.
Best Places to Visit in Ennis on a Budget
Clare County Library
With its rich resources, Clare County Library offers an enlightening visit. The local history section is particularly interesting.
Visit Local Art Galleries
Ennis houses several art galleries showcasing works from local artists. The Whitethorn Gallery and Chapel Lane Market are worth a visit.
Walk the Streets of Ennis
Simply walking the charming streets of Ennis is a delight. The colorful shop fronts, hidden lanes, and historic buildings provide endless fascination.
Ennis hosts several free festivals throughout the year. From the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to the Ennis Street Festival, there’s always something to enjoy.
Best Day Trips from Ennis
Cliffs of Moher
No visit to County Clare is complete without a trip to the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs, rising dramatically from the Atlantic Ocean, provide breathtaking views.
Burren National Park
Burren National Park, with its unique lunar-like landscape, rich biodiversity, and historical monuments, offers an unforgettable day trip.
Surfers and beach lovers should head to the seaside town of Lahinch. Its sandy beach and vibrant surf scene make it a favorite day trip destination.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Take a step back in time at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Explore the medieval castle and the recreated 19th-century village for a taste of Irish history.
Hidden Gems in Ennis
Ennis Town Park
While the town park isn’t entirely hidden, it’s often overlooked by tourists. The serene park, with its beautiful rose garden, offers a peaceful retreat.
A quiet woodland on the outskirts of Ennis, Kilrush Wood, is perfect for nature lovers. Enjoy a leisurely stroll amid the beauty of the Irish woodland.
Tucked away in a residential area, Cloughleigh Oratory is a contemporary gem. Its modern stained glass is worth seeking out.
The Ennis Bookshop
This independent bookstore, with its vast selection of books and friendly staff, is a haven for book lovers. It’s a delightful place to while away an afternoon.
Off-the-Beaten-Path Places in Ennis
Mill Road Thatched Cottage
Venture to the Mill Road to spot a traditional thatched cottage. Its charming facade provides a wonderful photo opportunity.
Clare Heritage Centre
Housed in a converted 18th-century church in the nearby village of Corofin, Clare Heritage Centre offers a deep dive into local genealogy.
The nearby village of Kilfenora, known as the ‘City of the Crosses,’ is worth a visit. Explore the ancient cathedral and High Crosses, which are often overlooked by tourists.
This forest park, located near Lough Derg, is a tranquil spot, often missed by travelers. It offers scenic walks, stunning views, and a quiet picnic area.
Best Places to Eat in Ennis
Cloister Restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a twist. Its innovative use of local ingredients is a culinary delight.
Zest! at the Market
This cozy café located in the Market offers a range of delicious, locally sourced dishes. Their breakfast menu is particularly popular.
Peckish Vegan Café
A haven for vegans, Peckish offers a range of healthy, flavorful dishes. Even non-vegans will be tempted by their tasty offerings.
This friendly café in the heart of Ennis serves delicious, locally sourced food. Their pastries and coffee are a treat.
Must-See Sporting Teams in Ennis
Clare Hurling Team
The Clare Hurling Team, based in Ennis, has a passionate following. A match at Cusack Park is a must for sports enthusiasts.
Ennis Rugby Club
Rugby holds a special place in Irish hearts. A visit to an Ennis Rugby Club match offers an authentic slice of local sporting culture.
Ennis Town Football Club
The town’s soccer team, Ennis Town Football Club, brings plenty of excitement. Catching a match offers a glimpse of the town’s footballing spirit.
Ennis Boxing Club
Ennis Boxing Club, renowned for producing successful boxers, offers a unique sporting experience. Witnessing a local boxing event is a truly memorable experience.
Night-Life in Ennis
Experience Pub Life
No night in Ennis is complete without experiencing the vibrant pub life. Visit Knox’s or Ciaran’s Bar for a pint, some traditional music, and a chance to mingle with the locals.
Attend a Concert at Glór Theatre
Glór Theatre offers a variety of evening entertainment. From traditional music concerts to dramatic performances, it’s a hub of cultural nightlife.
Cruises, a popular pub and music venue, is the place to be for night-time revelry. It’s known for its lively traditional music sessions.
Night Walk by the River Fergus
For a tranquil end to your day, take a night-time stroll along the River Fergus. The river’s beauty under the twinkling stars is magical.
As we conclude our virtual journey through Ennis, it’s evident that this charming town, though small in size, is brimming with experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether it’s the rich tapestry of history, the energetic musical tradition, the sporting passion, the unique local cuisine, or the welcoming spirit of the locals, Ennis has something to offer every traveler. When planning your trip, remember this guide to the best things to do in Ennis, Ireland, and be assured of an unforgettable Irish experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best time to visit Ennis, Ireland?
The best time to visit Ennis is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is most favorable. This period also coincides with a number of local festivals, including the Fleadh Nua, adding to the vibrant atmosphere.
2. How can I get to Ennis?
Ennis is easily accessible. It is about a 20-minute drive from Shannon Airport, one of the main international gateways to Ireland. It is also well-served by bus and train services from major cities like Dublin and Galway.
3. Is Ennis a good base for exploring County Clare?
Yes, Ennis is an excellent base for exploring County Clare. It’s centrally located and well-connected, making it easy to take day trips to popular sights like the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and Bunratty Castle.
4. What are the main attractions in Ennis?
Ennis is rich in history and culture. Key attractions include the Ennis Friary, Clare Museum, Ennis Cathedral, Clare Abbey, and the Sculpture Trail. The town is also famous for its traditional Irish music sessions in local pubs.
5. Can I enjoy traditional Irish music in Ennis?
Absolutely. Ennis is renowned as a hub of traditional Irish music, with numerous pubs hosting music sessions throughout the week. The Fleadh Nua, a festival held in May, is a particular highlight.
6. What are some recommended restaurants in Ennis?
Ennis boasts a variety of excellent restaurants. Some popular choices include the Cloister Restaurant for fine dining, Zest! at the Market for locally sourced fare, Peckish Vegan Café for plant-based options, and Café Fergus for delicious pastries and coffee.
7. What outdoor activities can I do in Ennis?
There are plenty of outdoor activities in and around Ennis. You can stroll along the River Fergus, explore the shops of O’Connell Street, visit Ballyalla Lake, or take a day trip to Burren National Park or the Cliffs of Moher.
8. What sporting events can I catch in Ennis?
Ennis has a passionate sporting culture. You can catch a hurling match at Cusack Park, a rugby match with the Ennis Rugby Club, a football game with Ennis Town Football Club, or even a local boxing event at the Ennis Boxing Club.
9. Does Ennis have a vibrant nightlife?
Yes, Ennis has a lively nightlife scene, with numerous pubs offering traditional music sessions. Additionally, the Glór Theatre offers a variety of evening entertainment options, from concerts to drama performances.
10. What makes Ennis a unique travel destination?
Ennis’ charm lies in its vibrant culture, rich history, lively traditional music scene, and welcoming spirit. From its cobblestone streets and historic buildings to its energetic pub scene and traditional festivals, Ennis offers an authentic and unforgettable Irish experience.