Kilrush , County Clare

This bustling market town was laid out by the Vandeleur family , whose nearby mansion was burned down in the 1920s. there are some pleasant walks East of the town in Kilrush Woods. The Kilrush Heritage Centre focuses on local history , paying particular attention to nearby Scattery Island. Boats leave for Scattery from Cappagh Pier , a mile South of the town.

The Island , inhabited until the late 1970s , contains the ruins of five churches , a holy well and a 122ft round tower , reputedly Ireland’s tallest and oldest. The tower has one unique feature , an entrance at ground level , which may explain why the Island was frequently pillaged by the Vikings.

St. Senan , who founded a 6th century monastery here , is said to have been a staunch misogynist , who , according to tradition , even in death displayed his loathing of women by cursing any female who walked on his grave to remain childless. This ironically rather endeared him to many women and until the 1930s they travelled to the Island just to walk on his resting place , known as St. Senan’s House or Bed.

Kilrush is steeped in history and is a real hidden gem and a must see on your Ireland tours.