21 Feb Ennis, County Clare
North of the narrow streets of the old town stands the Court House, a Classical building of 1850-52 with original interior finishes. The ruined friary near the centre by the river, was founded by Donough Cairbrearch O’Brien in 1242, and surprised in 1543. An incongruous top storey with ugly spirelets has been added to the slender tower. The south transept, with its stepped gable and graceful window tracery, and the row of twin and triple windows in the choir are fine. The choir shelters (north side) the MacMahon monument (circa 1470), altered in 1843 and restored in 1953; the Inchiquin Tomb on the south side, and other good sculpture. There is a vaulted sacristy or chapter room but only fragments survive of other buildings. The Cathedral (RC) dates from 1841-43, the interior was reordered in 1975.
Monuments in the town commemorate Daniel O’Connell, MP for Clare, (1823-31) who is posed on a tall classical column, and the “Manchester Martyrs” (Alan, Larkin and O’Brien), executed in 1867 for their violent rescue of prisoners in Manchester Gaol.
Among Ennis’ citizens where the artist William Mulready (1786-1863), the precocious poet Thomas Dermody (1775-1802) and the actress Harriet Smithson (1800-54) who married Hector Berlioz in 1833. Eamon De Valera represented the country from 1917-59.
Ennis is a hidden gem with a rich history, contact us now to arrange your Ireland tour.