Travel Guide Ireland: Ennis, Co.Clare

Eating

Sweet ‘n’ Green

When I was meeting a friend for lunch she promptly suggested we go to this new health cafe. I am always happy and eager to check out new spots and this place sounded right up my sweet street.

It lives up to the name- it is pretty sweet and its definitely on the whole Green buzz – if Green means health food and nutritious.

There is something on the menu for everyone – vegans, veggies and non-veggie and it all sounds delicious. We had the soup (always vegan + GF- it was sweet potato, squash and carrot). It was just the warming bowl I needed and the perfect thickness to keep me sustained for the rest of the afternoon 🙂 My lunch date went for the Yoga Bowl and it looked fab – quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, greens, dahl and all the things one wants in a bowl.

Soup and the Yoga Bowl – yummy!

The staff are lovely, the space is bright and fresh and there are more cosy seats downstairs. There is a table with tasty sweets and energy balls for the plant based ones. Coffee is locally roasted Anam Coffee.

Really nice spot for a chat, coffee and/or lunch.

The Height Cafe

I popped up to take a peek at this cafe, I had heard about and I loved it. It is hidden away at the end of the corridor upstairs at Carraig Dom and you can’t really see the lovliness of it until you step in the door.

My kind of cafe – mis-matched furniture and unique tables , mine had a world map table cloth so it felt very homely to me. There are some games stacked up in the corner, art pieces along the walls, window views looking down on the street and all in all just a cosy little spot to nestle into – whether it be for a coffee and some of the amazing homemade cakes they have on show along the counter, some of the wholesome freshly cooked lunch plates (some tasty vegan plates available) or perhaps an affogato coffee or as I had a barley coffee latte (I can only allow myself so much coffee for resreach purposes but this coffee alternative latte was almost like the real thing, so good!)

Fooamy caffeine free barley coffee.

A really warm place and when you sit inside you feel like you are in your own little bubble and I guess the fact that you only really see the whole space when you step in the door- it does have the sense of stepping out of the hubub and into a little pocket for a bit as you enjoy your treats.

Mondo Coffee Shop

I resisted a coffee in the other cafes I visited over the day because I wanted to save it for a Mondo coffee experience. Oh it was worth the risk of being decaffeinated for a prolonged period of time because this was one of the smoothest oat capp’s I have had in a long time.

You know how you get accustomed to your coffee or nice coffee and you forget the distinctions between one cup to another ? Well this time I actually went “Oh mmm” after my first sip – so that is a good sign.

This place is all about the coffee and you can see their shelves lined with different 3FE variations and all your coffee-loving-brewing-bits and bobs.

Small space with a few sweet bits to accompany your brew if you so wish, but a nice little peaceful respite tucked along a stone alleyway which is adelight to step into from a day meandering the buzzy streets.

Can you feel the coffee love?

Peckish Vegan Cafe

I’ve added and posted about this 100% vegan cafe before so it must be included for the plant eaters out there.

This was a cafe that was quite ahead of it’s time I imagine to open it’s doors with such a ‘radical’ message – no animals used here- and in a small Irish town.

If you want to be assured that you will find something savory or sweet or perhaps a beer or glass of vino and it will be suitable for any dietary or lifetsyle choices then here is your spot.

Along with the cafe there is a zero waste store attached to it where you can stock up on grains and pulses, nuts and organic fruit and veg as well as plenty more single use plastic reducing bits. There is also a great health store next door run by the same people called Meanwell Wholefoods so you can get anything else you need in here.

There are a few other great heath food stores in Ennis and all really well stocked:

Open Sesame

Ennis Health Store

Height Of Health

Culture and Arts

Glor

I had been seeing this place pop up with some interesting events and it intrigued me to find out exactly what goes on here. I was impressed and delighted I made the very short walk out of the main street to take a look around.

It seems to be an art space, a theatre and screening space as well as the host for other events that suppport and inspire interest in the arts and culture.

I love the sound of the Documentary Day this coming Saturday (Jan 12th) – one that is being screened is ‘Walk With Me’, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch ” is a cinematic journey into the world of mindfulness and the Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Filmed over three years and with unprecedented access, this visceral film is a meditation on a community who have given up all their possessions for a monastic life in rural France.”

Also being shown is the Katie Taylor Documentary and The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid.

Sounds like a great way to spend a January Saturday and there is a cafe on-site where you can grab some food or drinks before, after or inbetween.

Check out some of the other excellent events that are coming up here over the coming months and check out the ‘Artists Resource Room’ – a space for artistic dialogue. Be sure to pop in when you are in town.

Clare Museum

This is a gorgeous little museum right in the heart of the town, just off the main streets. It really paints a picture of life in Clare through the ages and in the present and it captures the heart and essence of the strong link and relationship between this special county and the elements that surround it.

The earth, the water, power and faith. Each of these elements and symbolic words are woven into the life of Clare and the stories that are formed around them. It is really beautiful actually to stop and read and listen. To take the time to make that connection between the formation of a community and the land and essence of that which surrounds it.

Water for example, such an important aspect of Clare life – drawing surfers from all over the world and country, blessed wells dotted around the county – with over 40 in the Burren area alone and the thriving land that is used to grow local produce.

I sat and listened to the aural installation with stories from Voices of Clare and talking about much of the different aspects of life here- the spirituality, the philosophy of life from local farmers, arts, music – it was a real joy and left me more in love with this land than before.

Ennis Music Project

Ennis, being in Clare, is of course bound to have a support system and a space encouraging the art of learning and musical expression! What life in Clare really reminds you to do!

This is a youth led project ” that brings together young people from all backgrounds to express themselves through the creative mediums of Music, Film, Photography, Arts, Design, Digital Media and to increase their personal and group life skills. “

What a wonderful project and it runs in conjunction with Clare Youth Service. It is so important to have services and projects like this which cultivate, nourish and encourage our youth to explore that musical talent or interest. There is so much community, healing and support that comes with it.

Yoga

Yoga With Rosie

I’ve met and attended workshops with Rosie numerous times since coming back to the Irish Yoga Community. I was always drawn to her authenticity, openness and honest nature and you can very much get a sense that she teaches and offers her classes so that everyone feels welcome.

Myself and Ms.Yoga with Rosie

Rose has over 20 years yoga practice behind her and has been teaching full time around Clare for the past three years. From teaching kids in schools, adolescents, workplace yoga, retreats in Morocco and Inis Boffin and most recently has added the delicious sounding Yoga and Acupuncture to the bliss you can offer yourself through a yoga class and some much needed time out.

Rosie teaches in Ennis and you can check out her current schedule and upcoming events Here.

Dromore Woods

If you want to take a walk in nature, in stillness and be in the expansiveness of Wild Atlantic Way then come to Dromore woods. I came here during the summer months and it was pure bliss. Walked for some time through the woods, sat and lay on rocks over looking the still lake watching the bird life pass by. It was so quiet and peaceful.

There is a different feeling here than that of a Burren walk or along the cliffs and I enjoy that experience of them all. This is something bit special and it is not far at all from Ennis.

The majestic Dromore Woods

I went here on my way from Galway (I went the non-motor way route and there is a sign for it just before you come to Barefield. There is also a sign for it as you enter Ennis). It is well worth a trip and would be the perfect combination with a lunch and walk around Ennis town after some nature time.

Markets

Chapel Lane Market

I spotted the sign for this weekly indoor food and craft market that takes place in the community centre in the heart of Ennis.

You can find locally made soaps (vegan friendly too), handmade art pieces, jams and chutneys, jewellery, clothing and handbags/wallets, paintings , hand painted lampshades, crochet pieces and more.

It is always nice to visit and support local craft markets when you can and there is always something you can pick up and you make a local crafter or baker or artist very happy 🙂

Ennis Farmer’s Market

Every great town has a farmer’s market and Ennis is no different. You can find this market at Roslevan Shopping Centre every Friday from 8am.

You can pick yourself up some homemade sourdough bread from Sunflower Bakery (Mmmm is there anything better than proper fresh sourdough), local eggs, Organic veg from local suppliers, Sliabh Aughty Honey and skin care products , soap , homemade lunch options like quiche and veggie lasagne. You can obviously get yourself a tea blend or a coffee and take in the market feel and yeah just looks like a lovely local community market worth supporting,

Festivals

I knew there were more festivals I needed to add to my Festivals In Ireland Guide! (Updating after I finish this!)

Ennis Street Arts Festival

Very cool ! Check this out for something fun and different and creative to bring a bit of life – in many ways! – to the streets.

This festival is in it’s THIRTEENTH year (How have I never heard of it!) and is celebrated for a week along the Ennis streets every July.

You can participate, attend some fun, exciting and creative workshops, listen to (or play some) music or just let yourself be entertained by some of these street art wizards.

the 2018 theme was ‘Urban Wildlife’ – things such as bees, hedgehogs and bats which you may get a glimpse of in this Clare urban hotspot – or it seems it could also apply to the human wildlife that one may come across in Ennis 🙂

Ennis Street Arts Festival. Photo: Source

Workshops could include making lanterns for the festival parade, watching documentaries in Glor, listening to music on the giant gramaphone (I got to enjoy this in Galway and it’s class!) and much more. This sounds like a fantastic reason to spend a few days (or the whole week) in Ennis. At the very least base yourself amidst the Urban Wildlife, enjoy the acts and fun and also get to explore the stunning surrounds that County Clare can offer you – all within a short distance from Ennis.

Ennis Trad Fest

(Nov 7th – 11th 2019)

Sooo as I mentioned before, and as we all know! – Clare is a musical hub, maybe THE musical hub and soul of Ireland ? (This may not go down well with some haha). Anywho, Ennis will not let you down when it comes to the musical scene.

Trad music is alive and well and there is a whole festival in it’s honour to liven up the winter months. You can basically spend the whole year festival hopping around Clare (Think Doolin Folk Fest, then Feakle Trad Fest, then I’m sure Lisdoovarna has something and Kilkee then on to Ennis as the nights close in)

You can follow the ‘Session Trail’ for different gigs and sessions across Ennis locations, attend Instrument masterclasses and just soak up the craic and life that will be around these medieval streets and check out the other pop-up free and special events throughout the week.

Ennis Book Club Festival

Ennis Book Club Festival!!! Yes please. I spotted this when I was in Glor yesterday and just thought “Of course! Of course they have a book club festival.” Deadly!

It really does sound great – 2019’s line-up sees talks with authors like Sean Rocks, Conor O’Cleary, ’10 books you should read’ with Yoga guru and novelist Paula McGrath, Rick O’Shea Book CLub special and a live Sunday recording of The Sunday Miscellany radio Show in Glor.

Doesn’t this all sound super? It’s coming up in March.

Also check out The Beyond Borders Bookclub which takes place once a month (on Thursdays) during the winter months. There will be a panel discussion from this bookclub at this years festival (between 1st – 3rd March) to hear and learn about books from different places and cultures in a relaxed setting.

There is so much more that I can / want to add to this and so much more to discover. Ennis is a fabulous town and so close to Galway (and Tuam). I love how it marries the old, the new and the arts and culture vibrancy so well.

Sweet N Green Menu and cakes

It reminds me a little bit of walking around Wexford town – which is always a good sign to me. Whether it be a trip for lunch and a walk around the streets, a shopping trip (there are so many boutiques here and local jewellers Seoidin are one of my favourite – or to experience some of the fantastic festivals and events that are always on the go here.

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As you can tell I am a fan of County Clare.

Check out my Ennistymon Travel Guide and a general Clare Travel Guide from last year. Many more discoveries and trips to do here.

Also check out the array of awesome and alternative festivals happening in Clare over the next 12 months in my Festival Guide.

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Check out my other Yoga Travel Guides

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