After the Cliffs of Moher, everyone on our tour was pretty much tired out! Our guide Gillian clearly understood this because we made no stops on the way to our hostel! That night, we would be staying in the town of Ennis!
Ennis is the largest town in County Clare and the 11th largest in all of Ireland! It is on the River Fergus, which offers some splendid views! We didn’t have much time to actually explore the city, and this is the only downside of being on a tour. You are on a set schedule – which means the you might not have time to explore the cities that you may want to see more of. But as we said countless times before, this is just another reason for us to return to Ireland and delve deeper into its hidden treasures!
As we were arriving in Ennis, Gillian was telling us a tentative plan for the night: get to the hostel, go eat dinner, then head out for some live music and Irish dancing! We were a tad over excited for the Irish dancing since we had been anticipating it since we had been in Galway! Not only this but Ennis and County Clare in general, is known for its abundance of traditional Irish music!
Our hostel for the night would be the Rowan Tree Hostel. It was a lovely escape from some of the smaller, cramped rooms we had stayed in. The hostel was right in the centre of Ennis, so it was close to all the pubs, shops and lovely town sights.
Our room held 8 people but it was airy and large enough so we didn’t feel like there were so many of us sleeping in one room! After unpacking what needed to be unpacked and finally taking a much needed shower, we set out to explore Ennis.
We decided to grab some snacks for our bus ride tomorrow and what better place to do this than the local Tesco! If we haven’t already mentioned before, Tesco became the place where we could find good, cheap lunches to take with us everyday! (And delicious cheese and onion Pringles – which we became addicted to and have not been able to find here at home!!)
Walking to Tesco, we saw a bit of Ennis but most stores were already closed, seeing as it was almost dinner time! We grabbed our snacks for the following day and headed back to our hostel. Walking along Francis Street, we saw some lovely sites, like this local Roman Catholic Church built in the Gothic style!
For dinner, Gillian organized our whole group to have dinner at the little restaurant adjoining our hostel! Who would have thought we would be eating Mediterranean food in a town in Ireland! The Rowan Tree Cafe Bar offered a delicious selection of food at very affordable prices. We decided that since it had been a long day, we deserved a glass of wine! To accompany it, I had the Baked Wicklow Brie – a lovely platter of Brie with Pear Chutney and crusty loaf!!! Unfortunately, I was so hungry I didn’t even get to take a picture of it… You’ll just have to trust me when I say it was delicious ;). Natalie and another trip mate shared a salad and the Pizza Margheritta. It was just as delicious as my Brie platter, I would know I took a bite =D.
After satisfying our stomachs and relaxing for a bit, we made our way to what would be the highlight of our evening!!! Following Gillian’s advice, we headed over to the Knox Pub for an evening of traditional Irish music and dance. As mentioned before, in Galway we had been robbed of the opportunity to try Irish dancing and this night in Ennis would be the night we learned how to do it.
After obviously – having a pint or two, we headed up to the empty part of the Knox Pub so that Gillian could give us a crash course on how to dance like the Irish! Although we were amazingly uncoordinated, it was probably one of the most fun nights on our tour. Don’t let anybody tell you Irish dancing is a breeze… its upbeat tempo and constant need for coordination with your own limbs and everyone else’s, can make you out of breath in seconds!! Of course by the end of Gillian’s lesson, we were all well on our way to becoming experts in the art of Irish dancing :P.
County Clare is known for its amazing abundance of traditional music hot spots, especially in Ennis. Gillian knew this and we were able to sit in a very cozy setting to listen to some live local musicians playing some great trad music! It was amazing to say the least and almost made me want to stay in Ennis and just learn how to play alongside them!
For me, that was probably the best part of the trip, getting to meet some excellent musicians and have them take requests from our small group in such an excellent setting as the Knox Pub.
Our evening in Ennis was one to remember, that’s for sure, and although we didn’t get to see much of the town, we know we will be returning sometime in the future to explore further!!!
Up next on Day 6 of our Shamrocker All Ireland Rocker tour, we head to Killarney for the night. Get ready to learn about some “beautiful beaches, sheer cliffs and stunning views!”
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