Castles Rocks & Coast
County Clare is full of history with numerous castles,churches and archeological sites as well as having a fabulous coastline .
Castles & Churches
Dysert Castle & Monastery
Within walking distance of Burkedale House Dysert O’Dea Castle and its surrounding 25 original Archaeological field monuments are a must see on your visit to Clare.
The authentically restored 15th century Dysert O’Dea castle, the stronghold of the O’Dea clan, houses the Clare Archaeology Centre
Dysert O’Dea Church, founded by St Tola in the 8th Century, with the present structures being around 12th century. Its most famous feature is the Romanesque Doorway. Near the church’s north western corner stands the remains of a Round Tower.
The High Cross, situated east of the church, dates from the 12th century and is one of the finest examples of its kind in Ireland.
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Bunratty Castle (30mins from Burkedale) is a must on your trip to Ireland. The spot on which this castle stands has been occupied for over 1000 years. From the Vikings to the Normans, great Irish Earls and noble Lords and Ladies. Graciously restored in the 1960’s and furnished by Lord Gorts magnificent collection of medieval furniture and furnishings, this is your chance to experience a window on Ireland’s past and explore the acclaimed 15th century Bunratty Castle. You can also book for a medieval banquet.
Knappogue Castle near Quin (40mins from Burkedale) offer medieval banquets where you are greeted at the main door of the castle by the Earl’s Butler and the Ladies of the castle where you proceed to the Dalcassian Hall. Mingle with the Castle Entertainers and savour a goblet of mead (honey wine). Enjoy music of the harp and fiddle followed by Medieval choral singing from the Ladies. The Earl’s Butler wittily recounts the history of the Castle finishing by explaining the ‘Rules of Chivalry’ practiced at Knappogue Castle and the dire consequences of breaching them!
Craggaunowen near Quin (40mins from Burkedale) is Ireland’s original award winning Pre-historic Park. Explore the roots of the people, homesteads, animals and artifacts of our Celtic ancestors of over 1,000 years ago which have touched and shaped how we live today.
Quin Abbey, in Quin, (40 mins from Burkedale) was built between 1402 and 1433 by Sioda Cam MacNamara, for Fathers Purcell and Mooney, friars of the Franciscan order. Although mostly roofless, the structure of the abbey is relatively well preserved
The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (also known as Ennis Cathedral), is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe. It is located in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. The site of the cathedral was donated to the diocese in 1828 for the construction of a parish church for Ennis. Building works were commenced and continued with slow progress, and the unfinished church was first used to hold Mass in 1842. The church was then dedicated to saints Peter and Paul a year later.
Ennis Friary (15mins from Burkedale) established in County Clare in the 13th century, was once renowned across Europe as a centre of learning. Throughout medieval times, the O’Briens were the principal patrons of these Franciscan friars and likely the reason they settled in Ennis Town.
Among the remains, visitors can view various 15th and 16th century sculptures, the figure of St. Francis displaying the stigmata, an image of Ecce Home, the McMahon tomb and more.
Kilnaboy Medieval Church
In the small village of Kilnaboy (10 mins from Burkedale), visitors can view the remains of a 16th-century church that was repaired in 1715. The structure has several notable features, including Sheela-na-gig (medieval fertility symbol) over the door and a cross on the church gable. There is also a round tower nearby.
Located in near Bell Harbour, (35mins from Burkedale) Corcomroe Cistercian Abbey is thought to have been founded by Donal Mor O’Brien in 1182, or possibly by his son, who brought monks from Inishlounaght around 1195. Though the domestic buildings have largely vanished, visitors can see the remains of the church and gatehouse. Inside, there are a number of important effigies, including that of King Conor O’Brien.
The abbey is known as Sancta Maria de Petra Fertili, or St Mary of the Fertile Rock, which is appropriate for its location near the head of a lush, green limestone valley.
The Burren National Park
The Burren National Park (Views from Burkedale,) is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous Grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/Hazel Woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying Springs, Cliffs and Fen.
The word “Burren” comes from an Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a rocky place. This is an extremely appropriate name when you consider the lack of soil cover and the extent of exposed Limestone Pavement. However it has been referred to in the past as “Fertile rock” due to the mixture of nutrient rich herb and floral species.
In 1651 a Cromwellian Army Officer named Ludlow remarked, “of this barony it is said that it is a country where there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury them. This last is so scarce that the inhabitants steal it from one another and yet their cattle are very fat. The grass grows in tufts of earth of two or three foot square which lies between the limestone rocks and is very sweet and nourishing.”
The highest point in the park is Knockanes (207 metres) which continues as a curving terraced ridge to Mullaghmór to the south. East of this ridge is an area of extensive, low lying limestone pavement containing a number of semi-permanent lakes. West of this ridge the pavement sweeps down to partially drift-covered ground which gradually rises again to reach the foot of a rocky escarpment. To the south of the park the limestone bedrock disappears under a layer of glacial till. This till area is far more intensively managed for pasture and silage.
Mullaghmore (20 mins from Burkedale)is Clare’s ‘sacred mountain’, a 180m limestone hill in Glenquin, in the Burren. It is part of a hiking trail called the Mullaghmore Loop in the Burren National Park.
Caherconnell Stone Fort
Situated 30 minutes from Burkedale Caherconnell Fort, has so much to do. Explore the ancient Irish ring forts or experience the past first hand at the Archaeology Field School. Delve into the intrigues of prehistoric Irish Bronze Age burial boulders and mounds, ancient Irish field systems, prehistoric dwelling sites and many stone cahers (ring forts).
Caherconnell Stone Fort is also home to The Burren’s leading sheepdog demonstrations which is a particular favorite with us.
The Burren Perfumery
The Burren Perfumery is a small, west of Ireland-based company making cosmetics and perfumes inspired by the landscape around us. Everything is made on site, by hand, in small batches.
Relax in the rose covered Tea Rooms, which serve a mouth watering selection of organic cakes, scones and pies. Homemade soups with freshly baked bread, selections of local cheeses and salads all made with organic vegetables from local suppliers accompanied by herbal teas from the garden and coffees from around the world.
The Wild Atlantic Way
The “Wild Atlantic Way” is Ireland’s first long-distance driving route, stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, offering visitors an opportunity to truly discover the west coast of Ireland. There is plenty to stop and see in County Clare all within easy reach of Burkedale House
Cliffs of Moher
The Aran Islands are located just off Galway and Doolin. A true Irish experience awaits, locals speak Irish as well as English in a setting of Celtic churches of historical significance including World Heritage site Dun Aonghasa which is set on dramatic 300 ft ciff edge.
You can travel by ferry to any of the 3 islands from Doolin
Located just off the coast at Kilrush(45 mins from Burkedale) Scattery Island is truly a unique visitor experience on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Visitors to the island are amazed at the wealth of historic sites, which includes five Churches, a Cathedral, a magnificent Round Tower, Napoleonic War Artillery Battery and a working Lighthouse.
Your guided walking tour (also available in French, German, Italian & Spanish) will immerse you in the island’s rich history. Scattery also offers a great family day out and our junior VIP’s get their very own treasure trail map to explore the island their own way! Pack a picnic or even enjoy a swim while you’re there.
Today the island is completely uninhabited, and you can explore its ancient historic sites and experience its unspoilt natural beauty in peace and tranquillity.
Loop Head Pennisula
Loop Head is a slender finger of land pointing out to sea from the most westerly point of County Clare, on the Wild Atlantic Way. Cinched between the ocean on one side and the Shannon Estuary on the other, this tiny peninsula would be an island but for a meagre mile of land connecting it to the rest of Co. Clare. Despite its isolation, its people are far from insular, having spent hundreds of years welcoming strangers by water. In 2010, Loop Head became a European Destination of Excellence in aquatic tourism. It’s also right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way, 2,500 kilometres of the finest coastal scenery in Ireland.
Loop Head epitomises what the Wild Atlantic Way is about: panoramic cliff views, abundant local seafood, your choice of aquatic activities, and plenty of quiet beauty spots where you can pause and wonder at this unforgettable part of the world.