This short video shows you a variety of Clare's attractions and heritage, and scroll down for more videos of some of our superb local activities.
Distances to some nearby villages, towns & cities:
Ballyhannon Castle is situated close to the centre of Ireland, so by staying here you are ideally based to explore anywhere in Ireland in a day, and most conveniently the West and South coasts which are known the world over for their beauty of landscapes and warmth of Irish hospitality. From the countless picturesque villages to the bustling cities of Limerick, Cork and Galway, or from the wild countryside from Dingle on the famous Ring of Kerry to Connemara to the mighty Shannon River and unique flora and fauna of the Burren national Park, there is simply nowhere else quite like it. Ballyhannon Castle is perfectly positioned on the West of Ireland in Co. Clare –
the heart of the west coast.
The Property is at the end of a long private avenue (cul-de-sac), just off a minor road which connects to the main Limerick to Galway motorway, also serving Shannon International Airport approximately 15 minutes away, and allowing easy access to everywhere on the west coast. It is approximately:
5 minutes from the local villages of Newmarket-on-Fergus and Quin, with its famous Quin Abbey; also minutes away are Knappogue and Bunratty Castle, providing top-class medieval entertainment where traditional pageantry and banquets are held weekly (and nightly in high season).
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park - (10 minutes away), with its Heritage Visitors Centre consisting of a Medieval village beside its famous 15th century castle.
The Burren National Park - (40 minutes away) with flora and fauna unique only to Ireland, underground rivers and caves, all open to the public. This local landscape has been a source of fascination and enjoyment for visitors, both local and international, for generations.
The Aran Islands (from which Aran sweaters get their name) - a short ferry-ride from Doolin (less than an hour away), and are one of the native Irish-speaking areas of Ireland, and Europe's most westerly point. Inishmór is the largest island, home to the impressive Iron Age fortress of Dun Aengus, while Inisheer’s atmospheric beauty has attracted countless writers and artists over the years, and has history dating right back to a 4th century monastic settlement.
The Cliffs of Moher - (60 minutes away) ranked as Ireland’s most famous and visited sight, and pipped at the post in the competition to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world. They rise over 700 feet high, stretch 5 miles along the coast and display wild and rugged coastline. They are home to thousands of screeching puffins and you can take a coastal walk to see unparalleled views of the Atlantic seascape. The O’Brien tower at the top of the cliffs offers views of the Aran Islands.
20 minutes south on the motorway is the famous city of Limerick. For those interested in shopping, eating out or nightlife, this historic city is dominated by the awesome 13th century King John's Castle, once the most formidable English fortification in Ireland. Limerick is where the famous Hunt Museum is located, home to one of Ireland's finest collections of Bronze Age, Celtic and Medieval treasures.
10 miles in the other direction is the beautiful Ennis, County Clare’s largest and cultural town, voted the “Tidiest Town in Ireland for 2005”. Ennis is the home of traditional Irish music, plenty of pubs with live traditional Irish music sessions nightly, cobble-stoned streets lined with great restaurants and shops, and has a market day on Saturday. Founded in Medieval times, the countryside surrounding Ennis is home to a host of abbeys, ruins of castles and ancient monuments, and the beautiful 13th century Ennis Friary.
A 60 minute drive north on the motorway is Galway City, the unofficial “capital of the West” and a delightful prosperous city brimming with history and filled with top class shopping precincts, theatres, pubs and restaurants. Its vibrant cultural life includes a year-round calendar of events such as the Galway Arts Festival, the famous Galway Races at the end of July, the Jazz Festival in February, the Cuirt Festival of Literature at Easter and the Galway International Oyster Festival at the end of September.
90 minutes from Ballyhannon you'll be in the wild and rustic countryside of Connemara .
Activities in Clare:
Cliffs of Moher
Golf (world-ranked Lahinch Golf Club, Ballybunion Golf Club, Doonbeg Golf Club & Dromoland Castle Golf & Country Club literally a stone’s throw away)
Pitch & putt
Incredible sightseeing (e.g. beaches, cliffs, mountains, the Burren, and world renowned Connemara where the movie “The Quiet Man”
was shot – starring John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara – which won an Oscar for Best Cinematography!)
Horse-riding next door at Castlefergus Riding School
Fishing (lake, river & sea), with lessons & angling guides, and a 'Fishing for Kids' one-day course
Shooting at nearby Dromoland Castle, when in season, and clay pigeon shooting year round
Walking & cycling trails, historic town walking tours, and bike hire
Cruising on the River Shannon (incl. lakeboat & mini-cruiser hire)
Learn to sail, canoe, kayak, row, powerboat and windsuff, for children and adults, from beginners to intermediates
Scuba-diving (Kilkee bay, 40 minutes away, is reputed by divers as one of the best diving sites in Europe)
Surfing and kite-surfing lessons at Lahinch beach, only 30 minutes away, is the “surfing capital of Ireland”
Adrenalin fuelled activities of Laser Tag (also known as Laser Combat or Laser quest) and Zorbing (also known as Sphereing or Orbing)
Mountain & Rock Climbing
Birdwatching, nature & indigenous wildlife
Caves (Ailwee caves and Doolin caves)
Irish dancing (get lessons from Riverdance dancers themselves!)
the Willie Clancy Summer Festivalruns from 7 - 14 July 2012 when you can learn of the traditional culture, arts, language and literature that County Clare is renowned for during this weeklong exposition. The festival is held in memory of the famous local piper Willie Clancy.
Feakle International Traditional Music Festivalruns from 8 - 13 August 2012, celebrating the best of the Irish traditional music especially the distinctive style of east Clare with five days of traditional music, song, dance and theatre with workshops, lectures, concerts, ceili's, set dancing, sessions and open-air events. Besides providing a platform for local musicians to demonstrate their musical heritage, the Festival is noted for bringing together musicians from other traditional backgrounds to share in a unique musical experience.
East Clare Walking Festivalfrom 5 - 7 October 2012 will be a 2 day event and will centre around sections of the East Clare Way, which is a National Waymarked Walking Route. All walks will be guided and will take in some of the great natural wild beauty of East Clare. There will be walks near Slieve Aughty and Slieve Bearnagh including the magnificent scenery of Lough Derg and Lough Graney. All walks will be graded and there will be something suitable for walkers of all abilities and ages. So, put the dates...5th-7th October 2012... in your diary and come along and visit East Clare
Watersports such as canoeing, kayaking, wakeboarding, sailing, and rowing traditional Irish boats known as 'currachs'
Dolphin Watching in Carrigaholt
Loop Head Lighthouse tour and nature/cliff walk
Bunratty Castle with medieval banquets, historic village & folk park
Aran Islands - ferries operate regularly daily from Doolin
'Birds of Prey' centre & displays
'Fishing For Kids' in Killaloe
Flight simulator - experience this skill on a full-scale Boeing 737-80 Flight Simulator at the nearby Atlantic AirVenture Aviation Centre (the only one of its kind in Ireland)
Traditional Irish music (Ennis is the nearest town, 10 minutes away, and is the “Traditional Irish Music and Irish dancing capital of Ireland”, which hosts national & world championships)
Craic” in real Irish village pubs in nearby Quin village down the road –
all serving wholesome home-made food and plenty of Guinness!
Genealogy - trace your ancestry!
Wellness - spas, thalassotherapy and leisure centres, yoga & the Alexander Technique
Ecology & ecofarms
Farms - visit real life farms and experience Irish agriculture and farm animals first-hand in a safe environment on Farm Heritage Tours
Get 25% discount off standard entrance rates at many of our local attractions & activities by clicking herefor
the new FREE Discount Card, and here for the list of participating attractions & activities!
For a general overview of the activities and adventure on our doorstep here in Clare, have a look at this short video (and click here for Activities & Adventure in Clare, and here for What's On in Clare). The West of Ireland is a mecca for outdoor adventure and activities. See more at http://www.discoverireland.ie/Clare ALL available within an “ass’s roar”
of Ballyhannon Castle... the list is endless!!
Gourmet Food & Social Life in Clare:
Get a 'flavour' of the gourmet and social life of County Clare, with its fun atmosphere and 'enjoy life' attitude that'll make you feel your vacation was just too short! Have a look.
Clare - The Home of Irish Music!
Our traditional Irish music resonates our heritage and culture, and Clare is the home or 'epicentre' of Ireland's traditional music scene. In this clip, 'Blackie' shows you some of the music 'hotspots' while displaying his own amazing talent. Let us know if you, like many of our guests down the years, would like Blackie and friends to play for you privately at Ballyhannon Castle!
Watersports in Clare - flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and Ireland's largest river and lakes!
Ballyhannon Castle is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and lots of rivers and lakes inland, and Clare is a county that encourages watersports with Lahinch beach internationally recognised as the 'surfing capital of Ireland'. Check this video out for ideas: from relaxing kayaking and sailing to the new adrenalin sports of wakeboarding and tubing! Find out more things to do at http://www.discoverireland.ie/Things-To-Do/
Adventure - Outdoor and Indoor Activities for all the family!
From team-building in Adventure Centres to crossing rough terraine in Land Rovers, there's something for all ages in Ireland by way of indoor and outdoor adventure activities. Mom and dad can climb Ireland's highest mountains while the wee ones hone their skills on climbing walls! Find out more things to do at http://www.discoverireland.ie/Things-To-Do/
Walking - See the 'real' Ireland off the beaten track!
When watching this clip you can almost smell the heather! See the breath-taking vistas and examples of the amazing forest, mountain, coastal and pilgrimage trails on offer on our doorstep. Find out more things to do at http://www.discoverireland.ie/Things-To-Do/
Cycling - For those more active!
Ireland's scenery is so beautiful the French brought a stage of their Tour de France here! Cycling pursuits have literally exploded in Ireland, with dedicated trails through forests, over mountains and along our coastline. Find out more things to do at http://www.discoverireland.ie/Things-To-Do/
Horse Riding - our 'neigh'bours!
Ride out on our sandy beaches, or pop over the wall to our neighbours at Castlefergus Riding School where they cater for all ages and skills. Young and old alike can walk or gallop across the Ballyhannon countryside under expert tuition and supervision, or get lessons in their state of the art indoor arena. Ireland is the world's leader in the Equestrian industry, and Ballyhannon Castle is smack in the middle of 'horse country'! Find out more things to do at http://www.discoverireland.ie/Things-To-Do/
Angling - in Ireland's lakes & rivers
See the joy of angling in the lakes and rivers of Ireland's midlands from the eyes of some seasoned fishing holidaymakers. For more information visit www.discoverireland.ie/lakelands or www.discoverireland.ie/angling
Fishing - Sea Fishing, Coastal Wildlife Spotting and Offshore Sightseeing
Thinking of a family fishing trip? Get an idea of what it would be like with this video of a family sea fishing and coastal wildlife spotting in Kenmare, on the Ring of Kerry, when granny, parents and kids alike enjoy learning to catch fish. For more information visit www.discoverireland.ie/onthewater
Heritage - Archeology & The Burren Natural Park, The Cliffs Of Moher, & Doolin for the Craic!
With this video you can take a quick visit to the Burren National Park, and view its unique artic/alpine/mediterranean mix of wildflowers, limestone pavement, archeological monuments and megalithic tombs older that the pyramids! The nearby famous Cliffs of Moher are Ireland's most visited tourist attraction, and were shortlisted in the competition to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders Of The World. All our guests at Ballyhannon Castle visit these amazing creations of nature as they never disappoint, and are less than an hour's drive from us, but not without stopping off on the way home for a pint in Doolin and enjoying the craic (and even popping across to the Aran Islands from the pier in Doolin) before heading back to the castle. Fore more information visit www.discoverireland.ie/clare