Killaloe and Ballina, Co. Clare: Travel Reminiscences

Killaloe and Ballina, Co. Clare: Travel Reminiscences

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

Looking back through my Ireland posts of 2009, I see I haven’t done a post on Bunratty Castle itself, only the Folk Park, a re-creation of 19th century Irish life

Sooo .. instead of moving on with our trip to Galway through the beautiful Cliffs of Moher and The Burren, a fascinating contrast in landscape, I’ll share Bunratty Castle and a short trip we did up to Killaloe

Copy of IMG_2833


Starting with Killaloe, even though we drove to Bunratty Castle first and then kind-of followed the River Shannon to Killaloe which lies close to where the River Shannon emerges from Lough Derg

I cannot remember in which town or village this was taken:  I didn’t know what it meant at the time and had to look it up  …..   The “snug”, is typically a small, very private room with access to the bar that has a frosted glass external window, set above head height. You used to pay a higher price for your beer in the Snug, but nobody could look in and see you. It was not only the well-off visitors who would use these rooms. The snug was for patrons who preferred not to be seen in the public bar. Ladies would often enjoy a private drink in the snug in a time when it was frowned upon for ladies to be in a pub. The local garda would nip in for a quiet pint, the parish priest for his evening whiskey, and lovers would use the snug for their clandestine visits……


I must have enjoyed the villages, towns and countryside without taking any photographs as my sequence of photos jumps to the town of Killaloe from Bunratty Castle with only the ‘Snug’  pic in-between.   I do remember it rained off and on 😉

Killaloe was the birth place, in 941, of Brian Ború , the High King of Ireland, who united all the Irish tribes against the onslaught of the Vikings in Ireland in the 10th century.  He was crowned at the Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary.  In 1014 he was assassinated by a rogue Viking while praying and giving thanks on his victory after the Battle of Clontarf.  This year, 2014, marks the 1000th anniversary of his death.  In Limerick from 18th-24th August there is a Harp Festival as part of the celebrations. Brian Ború is ‘celebrated as a patron of the arts and is often thought to have played the harp.  Although the so-called Brian Ború harp now kept in Trinity College, Dublin has long claimed to be the harp of Brian Ború, it actually dates from 14th or 15th century’.   (From what I can gather, harps are sometimes known as Brian Ború’s)

Travelling through Ireland in October has it’s disadvantages as we found quite a few places closed for the winter season.  This was the case with the Brian Ború Heritage Centre, situated in a converted boat house on the 17th century bridge which separates Killaloe from its twin town of Ballina, on the opposite bank


I didn’t take a photo of the Heritage Centre, as I thought at the time it was an insignificant building, but it’s from there these photos were taken (in-between rain showers!)   .. hence I didn’t take many

P1090181-Killaloe (canal)

Interestingly, a canal was constructed in the 19th century around the bridge to avoid a ridge of rocks, as Killaloe became the hub for transportation of goods and passengers to Dublin.  Today the canals are well-maintained and used mainly for pleasure boating, cruising and fishing


We drove over the bridge into the town of Ballina which is well-known for it’s ‘better pubs’ such as Goosers on the waterfront ..


River Shannon from the banks of Ballina

P1090175 P1090176-Ballina

St Flannan’s Cathedral, built around 1182, is said to be Killaloe’s grandest building..


I must have enjoyed the drive back again to Adare 😉  no more pics!!!    I may expand a little on Bunratty Folk Park, when I do the Castle …  next post on my Travel Reminiscences

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