Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ireland Revisited: Clare

Day 18 of 35: Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kilkee harbour, panoramic view.

This day was devoted almost entirely to a meander through County Clare, partly informed by our 2006 stay in the strange and beautiful karst of the Burren. While there were two specific goals of our daytrip, we mostly wanted to just explore in freeform style, having seen the main tourist attractions (the Cliffs of Moher and the Poulnabrone Dolmen) on the earlier trip.

The first specific goal was to drive across the wilder southern fringe of the Burren, less frequented by tourists than the northern, Galway Bay area. The other was to try to find the hamlet of Killeinagh, near Ennistimon at the Burren's southwestern edge. The Killeinagh quest was spurred by our longtime internet friend Veronica Peterson; one of Ronnie's great-grandfathers, Patrick Shannon, grew up on a farm there. She says of the place that it "comprises 47 acres, pop. 16, all Shannons." When we found Killeinagh, we found that it also comprises great beauty.

Two major unanticipated, unscheduled delights were the gorgeous western coast of County Clare (which we angled off our loosely-plotted course from Limerick to Ennistimon to see) and the ancient Kilmacduagh ruins near Gort (which we didn't know existed until its tall, tilted round tower hove into view around a bend in the road.)

We traveled this loop clockwise on this day, a total driving distance of somewhat less than 200 miles (the long lake inside the loop at the east is Lough Derg; click anywhere inside the image to see it at a legible scale):

A few photos from the day follow here; many more are available of the full day on the usual website (linked here and below) and of the Killeinagh area on the slideshow we put together for Ronnie Peterson. Please click on any photo here to see it significantly larger:

The village of Moneygall, home of one of President Obama's great-great-great grandfathers, and a place the President would visit in person nine months later. A cropped version of this photo was then used in a White House publication as an illustration... but there's more to the story of this photo and the White House than just that!

Boats resting in Kilkee harbour.

Farmland along the western coast of County Clare. As you can see, the weather co-operated in spectacular form for us on this day.

Our highway from Ennistimon through Killeinagh to Kilfenora in the heart of the Burren.

Lickeen Lough, a popular fishing lake among local residents.

Kilfenora in the heart of the Burren.

Leamaneh Castle. The original tower house, which constitutes the right-hand corner of the structure in this view, was built in the 15th Century by one of the last High Kings of Ireland; the remainder dates from the 17th Century. This grand ruin is now mainly associated with Red Mary O'Brien.

Karst hills in the southern extremes of the Burren.

Abandoned boat on the shore of Lough Bunny (photo by Diane Harrington.)

Kilmacduagh ruins and graveyard.

More images from this day are available in this collection on

Next: August 22, 2010 -- Clonfinlough and Its Stone
Previous: August 20, 2010 -- Sparkling Stories, Sparkling Wine
Beginning of the series: Prologue, August 2


Ronnie said...

Such a delight to visit that lovely spot again! I don't remember noticing that there was a Veronica in Andrew Shannon's family - but it was a nice little extra. Thanks again, my friend ---

Sherwood Harrington said...

You're welcome! And thank YOU again for providing clues for some fascinating excursions on this trip that we never would have experienced otherwise.