Shannon, Ireland: Guide to Liverpool’s latest destination to fly to
With flights from Liverpool to Shannon, Ireland returning in May for the first time since 2014, YM Liverpool has rounded-up some tips to enjoy a picturesque portion of the Emerald Isle.
Words by Lawrence Saunders
Flying in to Shannon Airport is the perfect landing point for exploring some of the most treasured tourist spots on Ireland’s spectacular west coast – a region steeped in culture and natural beauty.
In an hour and a half or less you could be toe tapping along to traditional Irish music in Galway, marvelling at the awe-inspiring beauty of the Cliffs of Moher or dolphin spotting in the Shannon Estuary.
Where to stay
Daly’s House, Doolin
This four-star family-run B&B in the heart of the charming village of Doolin serves as the perfect base for exploring the Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail which includes the majestic Cliffs of Moher – Ireland’s most visited attraction.
Well-known for its cracking full Irish breakfast, Daly’s House was last year named by comparison website trivago as one of the country’s top 10 best value-formoney hotels.
Head out into the garden for unbroken views of the nearby Doonagore Castle before taking a stroll into the village for an evening of traditional music.
Dromoland Castle Hotel, near Newmarket-on-Fergus
Money no object? Want to sample the celebrity lifestyle for a night? The five-star Dromoland Castle resort is 20 minutes’ drive from Shannon Airport and boasts a visitor’s book which reads like a who’s who of music, film and sport.
Everyone from Johnny Cash and Richard Burton to Jack Nicholson and James Hunt has pitched up at this sprawling 410-acre County Clare estate over the years.
Whether John Travolta came to sample the fine dining or the renowned falconry experience is unclear, but a night’s stay at one of Ireland’s top hotels is certainly worth experiencing if only once.
Where to eat
The French Table, Limerick
This authentic French restaurant has been earning rave reviews ever since it opened on the banks of the River Shannon in 2008.
Head chef Thomas has spent more than 15 years cooking in well-to-do restaurants on the continent and it looks to have paid off with the 2018 Michelin Guide praising this eatery’s menu, which combines classic Gallic flavours with the freshest locally sourced produce.
The Cloister, Ennis
Housed in a renovated 13th Century friary, this sophisticated bar and restaurant is the brainchild of Dermot and Noreen Fetton – a duo well respected in hospitality circles thanks to their work at Dromoland Castle.
Alongside awarding-winning chef Paddy Collins, the pair have crafted a menu brimming with charming contemporary creations which don’t cost the earth.
For €25, the three-course set menu is a particular stand-out with highlights including sautéed mushrooms and spinach on brioche, parmesan cream sauce and slow roast beef striploin with brandy and cracked black pepper sauce.
What to do
Ted Tours, Co. Clare
Follow in the footsteps of Craggy Island’s hapless priests with a tour of locations featured in the hit ‘90s sitcom ‘Father Ted’.
Starting from the Burren Hub in Kilfenora, the excursion visits the scenes of some of Ted, Dougal, Jack’s most infamous moments.
For a few extra Euros you can even take tea and cake at Father Ted’s parochial house with the real-life Mrs. Doyle.
Go on, go on, go on – book your tickets now.
Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare
Built in 1425 on the site of a Viking trading camp dating back to 970, Bunratty Castle is regarded by many as the most complete and authentic medieval castle in the whole of Ireland.
Situated just a 10-minute drive from Shannon Airport, the castle was restored to its former medieval glory in 1954 and now contains an array of 15th and 16th Century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art.
Stick around until nightfall to experience the famous medieval banquets which take place all year round – complete with a period specific menu, a good sing-along and plenty of craic.
2018 Fleadh Nua, Ennis
Nearly every town and county in Ireland holds its own summer festival celebrating the country’s love of music and a good time.
Started in Dublin in 1970, the Fleadh Nua – which means New Festival – is seen as the precursor to the lot.
The 2018 edition starting on 20 May in Ennis promises to be the biggest and best yet – chock full of concerts, traditional Irish music sessions, recitals, Irish dance competitions and street entertainment – all spread over nine wonderful days.
“Head out into the garden for unbroken views of the nearby Doonagore Castle before taking a stroll into the village for an evening of traditional music.”
Spotlight on Galway
Our very own Galway guide Caitlin Foley from ThisIsGalway.ie gives YM Liverpool the lowdown on where to eat, drink and be merry in the City of Tribes – just over an hour’s drive from Shannon Airport. A regular bus service also operates from the airport to the city.
Get your head down
“If you’re looking to stay in the city centre, the Corrib House Guest Accommodation is a charming, Georgian-style townhouse with dramatic views of the River Corrib and the Salmon Weir”, says Caitlin.
“The 19th Century house has been beautifully restored in a traditional style, and their brunch is something of a local secret.”
Grab a bite
If it’s a caffeine hit you’re after, then Caitlin highly recommends Badger and Dodo and its Corkroasted beans.
Restaurant-wise, Galway is overflowing with culinary hotpots and Caitlin reckons it can be a tough decision to choose just one.
“Kai Restaurant in Galway’s bohemian West End is a great option for weekend brunch and dinner, offering award-winning locally-sourced Irish food, along with some of the best homemade cake around,” she says.
Fancy something more laidback? Caitlin suggests you try Handsome Burger inside the pub, Caribou.
“Their rosemary chips are unreal, the burgers are deadly and they even have an Indian-style veggie burger,” she adds.
Explore the city
Caitlin reckons a Saturday morning is best spent checking out the Galway Market outside St. Nicholas’ Church for hot fried doughnuts and huge portions of curry.
If its live entertainment you’re after then she recommends catching a traditional session at The Crane Bar, or a gig or comedy set at the Róisín Dubh.
Meanwhile, if the sun is shining, Caitlin suggests you join the locals for “a few cans at the Spanish Arch, or a plunge into the sea at Blackrock in Salthill”.
All images courtesy of Tourism Ireland.