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The Rugged Aran Islands lie Just Outside Galway Bay and just miles from the Clare coast and the Cliffs of Moher on the West coast of Ireland.

Doolin Tourism

Information website on Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher.


Welcome to the Mountshannon Community website.Here you will find information on Mountshannon village and its locality including tourist & visitor information


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Dirrections to Mountshannon Holiday Village

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Special Offer

Offer 1 - "Spirit of Killaloe"

When you book your Mountshannon Holiday Home, on arrival you will receive a voucher for a Free two hour cruise on Lough Derg with "Spirit of Killaloe" cruises.Additional vouchers given where necessary.

Value: €35 (family of 4 - 2 Adults ; 2 Children). <<<Read More >>>

Offer 2 - Holy Island Boat Trip

When you book your Mountshannon Holiday Home, on arrival you will receive a voucher for a Free Holy Island Boat Trip / Guided Tour from Mountshannon Harbour to Holy Island (Inis Cealtra).

Value: €10 Adult - €5 Children. <<<Read More >>>

Offer 3 - Byways & Trails of East Clare's Lakeland

Explore the byways & trails of East Clare's Lakeland with members of the East Clare Walking Club. Half-day & Full-day rambles to suit all abilities. Self-walk routes and advice or guided by local people. For more information:

Telephone:  +353 (0)87 287 3985 
or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Terms and Conditions

Your use of this website means you are bound to our terms of service.

All Online Booking deposits are made through PayPal secure website for your Credit Card or Debit Card protection.

Deposits are required at time of booking and  deposit is non refundable.

All online transactions are done through PayPals secure socket layer (SSL) website for your credit card security and at no time will Pearse Properties (acting on behalf of Waterside Homes) have your credit card information.

A refundable €100 (euro) security deposit is payable to the supervisor on arrival.


JPM Guides to Western Ireland

Ireland’s Heart

You will soon feel at home in Ireland. Wherever you come from, you’ll be given a genuine welcome. People talk to each other as a matter of course, in shops, on buses, in the street, and they are remarkably helpful to strangers. Even if you can’t catch all the subtleties, their musical accents will keep you spellbound.

The towns and cities are on a human scale, with lively centres and small friendly shops. Places such as Galway and Limerick were not bombed in World War II, and whole streets of 18th- and 19th-century buildings survive. There’s a strong movement to preserve the gracious Georgian terraces, often by adapting them as hotels and of?ces. The villages make up an artist’s palette of vibrant colours, following a fashion of repainting houses in bright shades of lime green, tangerine, custard yellow and blackcurrant. Everywhere, you’ll encounter the imprint of history: Neolithic tombs, ruined churches and monasteries, the patterns of abandoned ?elds, the shells of castles and mansions, and a new interest in interpreting them for today’s visitors.

These are great days for the Irish. The country enjoys unprecedented prosperity, with economic growth outpacing its European partners. In the 1990s, foreign companies set up factories and businesses, attracted by tax breaks and an educated work force. The information technology sector led the way. The demand for labour became so great that the pattern of emigration was reversed. Instead of leaving in droves, the Irish have recently been heading home to a land of opportunity.

A Brief History

5th–11th centuries

St Patrick makes converts to Christianity and establishes monasteries all over Ireland. In the 9th century, Viking raiders attack coastal settlements and monasteries. Norse dominance comes to an end in 1014 with the decisive defeat of the Vikings at Clontarf.

12th–15th centuries

The Normans conquer, led by the Earl of Pembroke. The crucial victory occurs in 1169 at Waterford. King Henry of England, overlord of the earl, asserts his sovereignty in 1171. Towns, abbey churches and castles are built.

16th–17th centuries

Henry VIII is the ?rst English monarch to call himself “King of Ireland”. He attempts to introduce the Reformation, but Catholicism is too ?rmly entrenched. Farmland is con?scated from Catholics and handed over the Protestant settlers. During the reign of Elizabeth I, two major revolts are put down. Resistance is centred in Ulster. After 1654 Catholics are only permitted to hold land west of the River Shannon. In 1690 William of Orange, a protestant, defeats his Catholic father-in-law James II at the Battle of the Boyne. Although the rights of Catholics are guaranteed, the Catholic majority has little power or political in?uence.

18th–19th centuries

The Act of Union (1800) abolishes Ireland’s parliament

and establishes the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. A patriot, Daniel O’Connell, calls for the repeal of the act, to no avail. The potato famine strikes Ireland mid-century. A million people die and another million emigrate.

20th century–present

Nationalist groups join forces to found the Sinn Fein movement in 1905. They proclaim an Irish republic in the Easter Rising of 1916, but the insurrection is crushed and its leaders executed. Civil war breaks out and Ireland is partitioned in 1921. Six Protestant counties remain within the United Kingdom while the others unite as the Irish Free State. Sectarian violence continues in the post-war period, as the problem of Northern Ireland eludes solution.


From the stony wonderland of the Burren to friendly Galway City, the wilds of Connemara and the mystical Aran Islands, the west has enough attractions to keep visitors busy for a month. The counties of Mayo and Donegal are as wild and remote as anywhere in Ireland. Huge cliffs alternate with lonely beaches washed by the cleanest waters in Europe. Literary pilgrims come to the gentler landscapes of Sligo, in the footsteps of Nobel Prize-winning poet W. B. Yeats.



A Viking settlement on an island near the mouth of the River Shannon, Limerick was taken over by the Normans and strengthened by the building of King John’s Castle, whose walls re?ect in the river next to Thomond Bridge. Bridge Street crosses the narrower Abbey River to Irish Town. O’Connell Street, Limerick’s main thoroughfare, still has vestiges of 18th-century Georgian elegance; some of the terrace houses rival Dublin’s best, while others have fallen into disrepair.

In about 1200, determined to bring his Norman and Gaelic lords to heel, King John ordered the construction of the biggestfortress yet seen in the west of Ireland. Its greatest tests came in four terrible sieges more than 400 years later. The castle has been well restored, and a colourful exhibition and video tell the story of the city from Viking times to the present. Walkways over the castle’s foundations reveal the remains of pre-Norman houses discovered in recent excavations.

Protestant St Mary’s Cathedral was begun in 1172, and has been frequently rebuilt since; the Romanesque doorway is probably the only original part. Inside, the 15th-century choirstalls are a rarity in Ireland.

The Hunt Museum in the elegant 1769 Custom House has ?ne Bronze Age jewellery and weapons, early Christian metal work, Irish and European silver, a bronze horse by Leonardo da Vinci and paintings by Renoir, Picasso and Jack B. Yeats.

A massive 15th-century rectangular keep, Bunratty Castle was restored in the 1950s and 60s; its great halls and other rooms are furnished with pieces from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Medieval-style banquets are staged nightly for tour groups, with entertainment including folk music and dances.

Bunratty Folk Park is a village of replica and original buildings from all over the west of Ireland. In summer a céilí, or traditional Irish evening celebration, is held nightly in the great barn.

At the Craggaunowen Project, on a side road west of Quin, replicas of ancient buildings including a crannóg (lake dwelling) are set in the grounds of a 16th-century tower house. A section of a togher, or wooden track across a bog, is not a replica but part of an Iron Age original, and a 3,500-year-old dugout canoe is another extraordinary survival. On display in the tower is the Brendan, a hide-covered boat which was sailed across the Atlantic in 1976, to show that the legend of St Brendan’s voyage in about 565 might be true.

At the southern end of Lough Derg, Killaloe, with its 13-arch stone bridge, is the starting point for many Shannon cruises. In its 12th-century St Flannan’s Cathedral, the Thorgrim stone is part of an ancient high cross, uniquely marked with both ogham script and Viking runes. St Flannan’s Oratory nearby has the barrel-vaulted ceiling and steep roof typical of early Irish churches.

The 130 sq km (50 sq miles) of Lough Derg make it the biggest of the Shannon lakes and a favourite of birdwatchers and anglers. Holy Island in Scarriff Bay is covered with monastic ruins from the 6th to the 17th centuries including high crosses and a capless round tower.


County Clare

Clare was in the vanguard of agitation for Irish rights and independence, supporting the Land League in the 1880s and electing Daniel O’Connell in 1828. For over 40 years Eamon de Valera was MP for East Clare. Tourism and European Union funds have brought an astonishing amount of new building.

The Irish coast outdoes itself at the Cliffs of Moher, up to 200 m (660 ft) high. Thousands of seabirds nest in the crevices and their cries compete with the ceaseless wind and roaring sea. Crowds gather on summer days but even a short walk will leave them behind.

Northwest Clare is an austere plateau of bare limestone, deeply ?ssured by the action of rainwater. Called the Burren fromboireann, “rocky land”, it’s a perfect example of karst landscape. Hundreds of stone forts, tombs and networks of walls are scattered over it.

At Kilfenora, the Burren Centre features the geology, plants, wildlife and archaeology of the region. Nearby to the northeast, Ballykinvarga is the most impressive of the Burren’s Iron Age rock forts. East of Kilfenora, the road towards Ballyvaughan passes through ?ne examples of limestone “pavement”, as ?at as an air?eld but slashed by deep chasms. Look for signs to Poulnabrone, a great dolmen topped by a huge ?at stone; it dates from around 3300 bc.

The ?shing village of Doolin is known for its folk music scene, centred on the pubs. Offshore, the low outlines of the Aran Islands hover like a mirage in the mist; a ferry service operates in summer.

A ?shing village turned to tourism, Ballyvaughan has several restaurants and hotels. Inland, Aillwee Cave was an underground river channel until the end of the last Ice Age, so stalactites and stalagmites have had little time to grow. More interesting are the hollows that were scraped out long ago by hibernating brown bears.

Aran Islands

Three low limestone outcrops off the coast in Galway Bay, the Aran Islands are actually a geological extension of the Burren. Tiny in size and population, they preserved ways of life which were vanishing from the rest of Ireland. Now they are changing too; ?ights arrive daily, and ferries disgorge crowds of summer visitors.

Inishmore, Inis Mór in Gaelic, means “the Big Island”. With a length of 15 km (9 miles), this is by far the largest of the three. The ferries dock at Kilronan, where bicycles can be hired. The less active can take a pony-trap or minibus tour. The villages are on the north coast, where lanes meander between stone walls enclosing little ?elds. Most of them were once bare rock: the soil was built up from layers of seaweed and sand. At Kilmurvy, 7 km (4 miles) west of Kilronan, a track leads to the south coast and the prehistoric fortress of Dún Aengus. Perched on a 90-m (300-ft) vertical cliff, its massive semicircular walls end only at the very edge of the precipice. It is presumed to date from the Iron Age, perhaps 100 bc, and may once have been circular—the rest having dropped into the sea in cliff falls.

Inishmore is dotted with the ruins of monastic sites and old churches: the 12th-century St Ciaran’s Monastery is just off the coast road west of Kilronan. West of Kilmurvy, the so-called Seven Churches amount to scattered ruins and the restored church of St Brecan. Back at Kilronan, the Aran Heritage Centre has superb photographs and displays on the history and culture of the islands.

Less than 5 km (3 miles) long, Inishmaan, the middle island (Inis Meáin) gets far fewer visitors than the others, and life seems to have changed less. Men still go ?shing, off the shore, from small craft or out on the handful of bigger boats. The main prehistoric sites are the Dún Conor fort on the central ridge and a Bronze Age tomb.

The smallest, Inisheer (Inis Oírr), is flat apart from a rocky outcrop topped by the irregular Creggankeel ring fort re-used in the 15th century as the outer wall of O’Brien’s Castle.


The site of Galway City, between the River Corrib and Galway Bay, was forti?ed by the Normans, with massive city walls to keep out the ?erce Gaelic tribes. Thus protected, Galway’s merchants ?ourished. Restrictions on Irish trade in the 19th century hit Galway hard, and famine made matters worse. The depression began to lift in the 1960s and now the city is as cheerful as you could wish.

On the corner of Shop Street and Abbeygate Street, Lynch’s Castle is the best preserved of the townhouses built by prosperous traders. Dating from around 1600, the four-storey house with its elaborate stonework now serves as a bank. Just off Shop Street, the Church of St Nicholas is the largest medieval church in Ireland, dating from about 1320. Inside is the striking Lynch Tomb with its ?ame-like stone tracery.

Narrow High Street and Quay Street lead to a section of old city wall known as the Spanish Arch, adjoined by the localmuseum. Upstream, an old salmon weir gave its name to a bridge over the Corrib; in a good year plenty of salmon still make their way upriver to spawn. Wolfe Tone Bridge leads to the Claddagh (“the Beach”), formerly a Gaelic-speaking ?shing village which gave its name to the Claddagh ring design of hands clasped around a crowned heart.

Southeast of Galway City, near Gort, Coole Park was the home of Lady Gregory, playwright and life-long friend of W. B. Yeats. He was a frequent visitor, ?rst coming here to convalesce in 1898. The house was demolished in 1941, but the gardens are now a public park. Literary pilgrims come to see a great copper beech initialled by Yeats, his brother Jack, Shaw with an elaborate GBS, Sean O’Casey and more.

Thoor Ballylee, down a lane to the east, is a 16th-century tower which Yeats bought in 1916, and where he was living when he was elected a senator of the new Irish Free State in 1922 and when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature the following year. The shop has a comprehensive stock of books, almost anything related to Irish writing.

In a tranquil setting on the banks of the Shannon, Clonmacnois was one of Ireland’s most important monasteries. Founded in about 545 by St Ciaran, it was often sacked by the Vikings, then by Irish enemies, and ?nally destroyed in 1552 during the Reformation. The ruins include two round towers: O’Rourke’s Tower near the landing stage and MacCarthy’s Tower by the northern boundary, unusually with its entrance at ground level. According to monastic records it dates from 1124. The cathedral, near the entrance, was started in the 10th century, but the striking north doorway topped by a statue of St Patrick dates from the 14th century. Opposite the west door, the tall, eroded Cross of the Scriptures is carved with scenes from the life of Christ and the Last Judgement on the west face and the foundation of Clonmacnois by St Ciaran on the east face. The tiny 10th-century church where Ciaran is said to be buried stands in the middle of the site.

Few villages as small as Clonfert can boast a cathedral. St Brendan’s dates from about 1200, and its Romanesque doorway is one of the sights of Ireland. Six concentric arches stand on inward-sloping columns, their capitals carved into pagan-looking animal heads, all surmounted by an intricate tall gable.



What now looks so picturesque was once the scene of great suffering, as too many people tried to subsist by growing crops on the poorest of soils. Almost all the land was either mountain or bog. Coming from Galway City, the main road picks a narrow path between the two. On the left is a wild waste of peat, swamp and a thousand little lakes. On the right are the Maumturk Mountains and then the cluster of peaks known as the Twelve Bens (or “Pins”) of Connemara; the highest being Benbuan at 730 m (2,395 ft).

A quiet spot that comes alive in summer, Clifden has several good restaurants where you may ?nd local salmon, lobsters, oysters and mussels.

At Killary Harbour, a deep, narrow inlet winds nearly 15 km (10 miles) inland between the mountains. Killary’s lower slopes are etched with traces of long-abandoned potato ?elds. Today the crop is shell?sh, grown on frames in the sheltered water. Near the head of the inlet, the Leenane Cultural Centre puts on occasional demonstrations of sheep-shearing, spinning and weaving.


County Mayo

The main road into Mayo from the south heads for Westport up the valley of the Erriff, famous for salmon ?shing. An even more beautiful route follows the north side of Killary Harbour, then cuts through the mountains along the Bundorragha river. Passing Doo Lough, hemmed in by mountains, the road meets the coast again at Louisburgh, a town of neat houses and holiday cottages.

The peak of Croagh Patrick, at 765 m (2,510 ft), looks almost conical, like a volcano. St Patrick is said to have spent the 40 days of Lent here in the year 441 praying for Ireland’s deliverance from paganism. Ever since, it has been a place of Christian pilgrimage. It takes about an hour to climb the rough track to the top where the view on a clear day extends south to the mountains and lakes of Connemara, and north across Clew Bay.

Pretty Westport was laid out in 1780 by James Wyatt, with an octagonal centre and a wide main street leading down to the River Carrowbeg. The 18th-century Westport House has beautiful plasterwork, furniture and paintings, and a children’s zoo in the grounds; cold dungeons under the house are all that’s left from an earlier castle. At Westport Quay, old warehouses have been turned into restaurants, bars and shops.

Newport on Clew Bay is dedicated to sea angling. The Georgian mansion, Newport House, is now a hotel, known for its cooking as well as its elegant interiors.

Achill, Ireland’s biggest offshore island offers stunning views, vertiginous cliffs and pristine beaches, but the golden eagles which gave the island its name are a rare sight now. Many old cottages have been replaced by spacious modern houses and summer brings a rush of Irish visitors across the bridge from the mainland with sailboards and ?shing equipment.

Keel has a long, beautiful beach and a golf course in the dunes. Keel Lough gives novice windsurfers a chance to practise before trying their skills on the bay. The lane inland from Keel leads to the lower slopes of Slievemore, 670 m (2,200 ft). An hour’s hard walking will take you to the top where the views to the north are breathtaking. West of Keel, Croghaun is almost as high, and a 550-m (1,900-ft) precipice to the northwest is even more spectacular, forming Europe’s highest sea cliffs.

Near Ballycastle is the site of Céide Fields. Here, on exposed cliffs, farmers slicing into a peat bog began to expose a maze of white stone walls, which proved to be the ?eld boundaries and building left by Neolithic people over 5,000 years ago. The peat had built up as the climate turned worse and blanket bog claimed the area. Paths criss-cross the site and a pyramid-shaped visitor centre explains its importance.

Since 1879, when a vision of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John was seen on the end wall of the village church, Knockhas been a place of pilgrimage. Pope John Paul II came for the centenary and hundreds of thousands attended the papal mass. The local priest, Father Horan, proposed building a runway long enough to take jumbo jets. In 1986, Horan International Airport opened. The end of the old church has been enclosed by a glass extension, with statues simulating the 1879 vision. A cavernous modern basilica can hold 20,000 people.


County Sligo

You’ll soon be made aware that this is The Land of Heart’s Desire described by W. B. Yeats and his artist brother Jack. But it won’t only be their admirers who will want to visit the beauty spots that inspired them. In a gentler landscape than Mayo to the south or Donegal to the north, the massive mountains of Ben Bulben and Knocknarea stand out all the more.

Sligo Town stands on the River Garavogue between Lough Gill and a broad, sheltered bay. The Norman lords Fitzgerald and de Burgo seized lands in the area in the 13th century; the ruined Dominican Friary in Abbey Street was built at that time and wrecked in 1641 during the Civil War. The town you see now was mainly an Anglo-Irish creation in the 18th and 19th centuries. The tourist of?ce in Temple Street has a map of the sights.

Rohan Gillespie’s modern statue of a rumpled W. B. Yeats stands in Stephen Street, north of the river. The County Museum in Stephen Street has a suitable Stone Age bias. Naturally the museum has a Yeats Memorial room, with ?rst editions, photographs and letters. The adjoining Library and Municipal Art Gallery has paintings and drawings by Jack B. Yeats, their father John Butler Yeats and Jack’s daughter, Anne Yeats, all noted artists. Across the river by Douglas Hyde Bridge, the Yeats Memorial Building has another Yeats collection and an audio-visual display about the writer.

Looming behind the windswept beach at Strandhill, Knocknarea is a ?at-topped mountain 329 m (1,078 ft) high, crowned by a huge cairn, or pile of rock. Legend says it’s the grave of Queen Maeve. A queen of Connacht in the Amazonian mould, she probably lived in the 1st century ad, but the cairn may be a passage tomb from about 3000 bc, although no serious excavation has been attempted. The best route up is from the south, a 40-minute walk and worth the effort for the views alone.

Carrowmore, a vast Stone Age cemetery southwest of Sligo, comprises dolmens, small passage tombs and stone circles, about 60 in all. They date from 3000 to 2000 bc, and no doubt were positioned for the view of Knocknarea, clearly visible to the west. A walk across green ?elds takes you to some of the sites, on both sides of the road.

The lovely Lough Gill southeast of Sligo is famous as the setting of Yeats’s The Lake Isle of Innisfree. Boats which make trips on the lake sometimes stop there. On land, the road on the north shore gives the best views; take the signs for Hazelwood and Half Moon Bay, where there’s a sculpture trail with works by Irish and international artists.

With its sandy beaches, golf course and backdrop of purple mountains, Rosses Point is Sligo’s resort on the north side of the bay. The ?at Coney Island in the mouth of the bay, reached by a causeway at low tide, is a feeding ground for ducks, geese and wading birds.

Just as he speci?ed in a poem, the grave of W. B. Yeats stands near the door of Drumcliff church, north of Sligo, and he wrote the epitaph inscribed on the plain headstone:

Cast a cold eye

on life, on death

Horseman, pass by!


County Donegal

A long, rugged coastline facing the Atlantic culminates in the most northerly point of Ireland at Malin Head. There’s still a substantial Gaelic-speaking minority.

Donegal Town was the principal base of the O’Donnell clan, led by the Earl of Tyrconnell. After the Flight of the Earls in 1607, their estates were seized and awarded to English and Scottish colonists. Donegal town went to Sir Basil Brooke, who transformed the 16th-century O’Donnell tower house by putting in big mullioned windows and adding a Jacobean gabled wing. Inland, the pretty Lough Eske is famous for its ?shing.

The road west, tortuous and narrow, is forced away from the coast for much of the way, notably by the cliffs of Slieve League, dropping steeply from the 601-m (1,972-ft) summit to the sea. Its northern slopes are less precipitous, but they are bleak and boggy so the fertile green of Glencolumbkille with its brightly painted houses is all the more welcome. The Glen of St Colmcille (or Columba) was a favourite with the saint who was born not far away at Lough Gartan. It has been a focus of pilgrimage ever since, although some of today’s secular pilgrims spend more time in craft shops than holy places.

Ardara, at the head of the bay to the north, is known for knitted woollens and homespun tweed, much of it still made in people’s homes. Displays in a visitor centre explain the processes and the history.

At the Lakeside Centre at Dunlewy, an old weaver’s house, you can see the carding, dyeing, spinning and weaving of local wool to produce the famous Donegal tweed.

Glenveagh National Park, almost 10,000 ha (25,000 acres) includes the peaks of Errigal and Slieve Snaght, as well as several loughs. Glenveagh Castle is a Victorian Gothic mansion set in ?ne gardens on Lough Veagh.

At Lough Gartan, the Colmcille (St Columba) Centre at Church Hill honours the saint with an exhibition on the conversion from paganism to Christianity which he helped to bring about. You can walk to the place where he was born into a chieftain’s family in 522, marked by a giant cross, and other sites connected with his life. West of Church Hill village, Glebe Gallery was formed by the artist and collector Derek Hill and given to the Irish nation in 1981. Apart from his own paintings, you can see works by Degas, Renoir, Picasso and Kokoschka, and by the naïve school of artists which he discovered (and in effect founded) on Tory Island off the Donegal coast.

Letterkenny at the head of Lough Swilly is the commercial centre and county town of Donegal. The 19th-century Catholic cathedral is the chief landmark, and in August the Folk Festival brings in performers and fans of traditional music and dance.

On a 244-m (800-ft) summit between Lough Swilly and Derry, near the border with Northern Ireland, stands the ancient stone fort known as the Grianán of Aileach. A road climbs almost all the way; then a short walk takes you to the hilltop site. It dates from some time in the Iron Age, perhaps 500 to 200 bc, although there’s evidence of earlier ramparts. Destroyed around 1100, it was restored in the 19th century. It has chambers in the walls and double staircases up to the gallery, which runs round the inside of walls 5 m (16 ft) high.

The Inishowen Peninsula between Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle is the northernmost tip of Ireland, although not in Northern Ireland. Buncrana is a sheltered loughside resort favoured by holidaymakers from Derry just across the border. AtCarndonagh, by the wall of the old church below the village, you’ll ?nd a 7th-century cross decorated with Celtic knot designs and with guard stones on either side carved with primitive ?gures.

Malin Head is as far north as the Irish mainland goes, though from the cliffs you can see the little island of Inishtrahull, deserted since the last inhabitants were taken off in 1930. Several ships of the Spanish Armada came to grief on this coast; the wreck of the Trinidad Valencera was found offshore to the east.


Dining Out

Traditional Irish cooking is mainly found in the home, but turns up on some menus in the form of thick soups or an Irish stew (mutton or lamb chops, carrots, onions, herbs and of course potatoes). Colcannon is a meatless stew of potatoes, onions and cabbage.

There’s a good choice of hard and soft varieties of local cheese, and some superb farmhouse cheeses mainly to be found in the better restaurants. Look for Cashel Blue from Tipperary, semi-soft Gubbeen from west Cork, Knockalara made from sheep’s milk and a tempting range of goatsmilk cheeses.

Pastries, pies and ice creams are the mainstays in the dessert department. Carrageen moss is boiled with milk to make a delicate jelly, served with fruit and cream.

A wide range of beers is available, including imports, but stout is the local favourite—Guinness or other brands.

Apart from the “e”, Irish whiskey differs from Scotch in another way: in the malting process the sprouted barley is heated indirectly, avoiding the taste imparted by peat smoke. All ?ve main brands produced in the Republic of Ireland come from one huge French-owned distillery at Midleton in County Cork.



Creative crafts are ?ourishing; for original designs in metalwork, ceramics and glass, look

in the Kilkenny Design Centre. Traditional crafts such as basketry and wood-working have been revived. Ornaments carved from jet-black bog oak, preserved for thousands of years in peat, were a favourite souvenir with 19th-century visitors; you can ?nd antique and modern examples. Jewellers make use of Celtic patterns in enamel and silver brooches and earrings. The Claddagh ring is a clasped hands-and-heart design, originally from Galway

Aran sweaters in natural wool are never out of fashion, and knitters on the Aran Islands can’t keep up with the demand, but mainland workers make a product of equal quality.

Practical Information


The best time is between May and September. Fully exposed to the Atlantic, the area gets a considerable amount of rain, though showers don’t often last long. The Gulf Stream ensures a relatively mild climate, even in winter. The average temperature in July–August hovers around 15°C.


The Euro, divided into 100 cents. Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, 1 and 2 euros; banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.


Usually included in hotels and restaurants. if not, add 10–15 per cent of the bill.