Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Killaloe | Former Medieval Capital, National Patrimony of Ireland.

Killaloe is a very pleasant, charming town representing in all its true, splendour the magic Irish spirit, well known to be the former medieval Capital and National Patrimony of Ireland with its legendary meaning, emblematic stages of the most rooted Celtic culture, a stupendous site which was the iconic stronghold of King Brian Boru, one of the most epic figures all time in the history of that eternally, fascinating northwestern European country facing Great Britain.

If the magnificent Dublin, major centre that wonderful nation is since a long time the beating administative, political  heart of  Éire, that centre situated on a scenic western shore of the charming lake Lough Derg and bathed by the Shannon river in the marvellous County  part of the historical province of Munster could be considered the indisputable soul of the most compelling, appealing  Gaelic history of that extremely attractive land.

An endless  list of suggestive legends, narrations, stories next to a magic  atmosphere encircling that very captivating centre located at 182,0 kilometres south west of the stunning Irish capital and just 24,0 kilometres from the bustling city of Limerick are other special features of Killaloe.

Unforgettable sunsets illuminating that enchanting environment formed by placid waters, verdant plateaus, low scenic green hills are images highly inspiring at first sight and it is enough to take a look along its fascinating bay to understand why Ireland in just some seconds is able to bewitch everyone.

Incomparable landscapes are the great frame of that extraordinary with protagonist the Irish countryside with its vivid green tonality, a symbol of that marvellous nation, superb details are extremely alive around that municipality of approximately 1,300 inhabitants facing the twin town of Ballina on the eastern shore of the local waterway .connected by Killaloe Bridge.

All around the municipal boundaries the presence of a magnificent intact nature speaks for itself, the true, superb enchantment of Ireland is more alive than ever in that site with a unique scenery born to donate special feelings to every visitor.

That territory surrounded by an indisputable mystical aura reminiscent old times could be main protagonist as scene in every successful novel or literary work.

It is enough to spend a day in Killaloe to breathe something of magic also in its streets with the presence traditional, lively Pubs, coloured houses, attractive green park, enjoying a walk along Royal Parade in its scenic core with the view of the iconic, imposing  St. Flannan´s Cathedral with its majestic stone tower highlight of an architectural masterpiece to understand why that site is so loved by many visitors who find it always able to transmit something to remember forever.

Great, friendly local people, a very good range of very comfortable Hotels and accommodations among them some very stylish and cosy B&B,  a traditional, exquisite gastronomy are other wonderful features of that centre delighting the visitors who feel extremely welcome enjoying a very pleasant stay tasting delicious specialities ready to satisfy the most demanding palates.

Very good communications, an uncontaminated and relaxing atmosphere are additional qualities

You can easily reach from Killaloe in a very short time many places of great historic interests very suggested for all people who are planning a significant, cultural tailor made tour around Ireland.

A total absence of pollution makes Killaloe a great climatic destination, no traffic, noise, perfect destination to recharge batteries but in the meantime with extreme tranquillity you can visit places very close which always offer something of very interesting because Ireland is an everlasting mine of surprises.

For al those who are searching to combine pleasant holidays and outdoor activities, that town is absolutely appropriate. 

Cyclists and mountain bikers will find in that county an Eden, trekkers the same with the chance to explore beautiful forests or walking on historic paths with the opportunity to discover picturesqueue corners reflecting the deepest Celtic fascination of an environment which could be compared to a dreamland.

Also for that Killaloe and its immediate surroundings are  special attractions for the most passionate photographers who will find an extraordinary Paradise highly inviting, staying hours taking pictures to a land boasting tonalities simply unique very difficult to see in other parts of the European Continent.

The Lough Dergh offers the beautiful chance of a lake cruise, in addition on that waters basin the visitor can practise other recreational activities such as sailing, swimming, fishing while the Shannon river offers the opportunity for rowing and kayak. 

All that is undoubtedly a very captivating fan of superb options for many people who desire to fill a stay with many things to do.

In the County of Clare many are other attractions such as the stunning Cliffs of Moher, very recommended are the small coastal fishing villages of Kilkee, Doolin and Kilbaha but also in the immediate proximity the village of Ballina next to the tiny centre of Scarriff are very enjoyable places to visit without hesitations.

All those places are great for all the history lovers who can know and learn more about a fascinating culture part of the former Medieval, National Patrimony of Ireland which apart its appeal also boast impressive, architectural treasures.

Events and Festivals in Killaloe are other highlights linked to the most traditional Celtic culture representing an additional touch of flavour in a delicious recipe.

All that is naturally a great option for Tour Operators, Travel destination Managers who have that country as one of their main outgoing products inserting without hesitations that town in their tours programming something of great for the joy of many potential clients attracted by the incomparable fascination of that Nation offering them a more than significant stage like that.

Killaloe is a destination very appropriate for individuals, groups but also perfect for other operations which will be undoubtedly more than successful for a brilliant Travel Incentive because in that land many are the chances for playing golf, horse riding, visiting farms and planning gastronomic routes.

An intensive Educational trip to know live that corner of Ireland is of course a notable instrument to create an ample fan of stunning itineraries which will conquer the appreciation of a multitude of people with an infinite chance to create a multitude of alternative packages for every taste and preference.
The beautiful and picturesque local natural environment with large meadows, scenic hills highlighted by vivid green colours are fabulous unmistakable symbols of the land of St. Patrick which find in that site one of its most charming picture.

That enjoyable post card represents in all its stunning proflle the most complete Irish profile in which in addition the Celtic spirit seems more alive than ever enjoying a dreaming holiday in a country very difficult to forget and extremely easy to remember as one of the best experiences a traveller can live all once in a life.

That place is undoubtedly more than an icon for all the inhabitants of that Nation for all what it represented in the course of its history and for the several events which took place in its boundaries.

The current town lies on the shore of the River Shannon river which has always played an important role as a very important source of life since the times of the most ancient settlers who inhabited that territory in the bronze age using the shore of that waterway as place to establish their first settlement.

Some of their main activities were fishing, small trade and according to archaeological excavations in the proximity of that relevant watercourse the finding of various artifacts confirmed  that shoreline was inhabited since that era.

That Irish municipality boasts a relevant and ancient history because it was one the most  famed cultural cradles of the current Republic, a relevant piece of history of a land in which the first Gaelic tribes since several centuries ago settled there and also for that Killaloe received the award of National Cultural Patrimony of Ireland.

In the 6th century the construction of an emblematic Monastery erected by an iconic figure called Saint Lua on the island of Shannon became one of the most famous monastic centres of the entire country elevating the prestige of that centre in a period in which a large part of the population embraced the Christianity abandoning the pagan faith absorbed by the ancestors. 

The establishment of that Sacred temple represented a very significant chapter for the long chronological Irish historic stages regarding the Religious aspect which always played a more than considerable role in that land. 

In medieval times in that site as in all Ireland the descendants of the ancient Celtic Priteni, Builg, Milesian tribes formed different Clans continuing to keep alive the memories of their a predecessors with their costumes, traditions, culture but also with their codes of honour.

In several communities were established very defined hierarchies, organised system of defence of the domains, marked borders to protect the territorial boundaries of lands which were often protagonists of disputes and clashes.

Those times were also highlighted by occasional, temporary alliances between a Clan and another sometimes for convenience to defeat a powerful contender provisionally sharing a conquest with an allied at the expense of a feared enemy defeated in a battle which in that case had a sort of descent in the ranking losing reputation.

All that continued also during the landing of the Vikings in the late 8th century who settled at the beginning the eastern Irish coast but expanding very quickly their influences all around that island occupying large and vast territories.  

Historically that Scandinavian presence on that coastline started in 795 with a conquest of many domains in other geographic areas approximately five years later with a large presence endured until the 12th century.

At the beginning the relationships with the local Celts were pretty tolerant including the Norsemen entered in the sympathies of some influential Clans. 

 The Men of the North established an important Realm and in the first period of occupation those times were also highlighted by a cultural interchange and trade with advantages for the economy of the locals who could receive goods practically unavailable in Ireland transported by the long Drakkar, those big ships used by the Vikings in their trips by sea.

The situation changed when the continuous, large expansion of those Nordic settlers became pretty insidious for the Gaelic Clans who saw undermined their influences looking at as they were overshadowed by people coming from abroad easily increasing their domains. 

Those neighbours frequently come at the borders of their secular territorial properties becoming a potential enemy including more than a rival clan, a massive intrusion at home classified later as an invader to fight. 

That tolerance and coexistence lived at the beginning disappeared just some decades after of the landing of the Norsemen and since then born in the locals the first strong signals of struggle against a partial foreign ruler which could change the history created by their predecessors.

Killaloe was in those times one of the territories ruled by the legendary Brian Bórhuma Mac Cénnetig, simply known as Brian Boru, a relevant, charismatic figure, venerated admired all around the present  County Clare but including highly regarded outside that territory.

That former humble village was his birthplace where he was born in 941 but his native land had a notable transformation when was erected a fortress called Béal Boruma or Kincora Palace, an impenetrable stronghold, official residence of that powerful leader which gained soon relevance in many corners of  Éire.

It was in those times that Killaloe became the beating heart of the entire County. a sort of pioneer and major pillar of the former Kingdom of Ireland respected by a multitude of Celts of other tribes for its strong spirit of unity.

That charismatic, legendary King according to the documentations recorded by the most distinguished Irish historians had a very strong influence over ordinary people, Monarch, leader but always a man very close to the needs of the population supporting a prosperous life for his vassals. 

Despite that character was considered as a very good Sovereign he was also well known for his untamed warrior spirit, Irish legends and narrations depicted that character almost invincible, protagonist of thousands of battles including in advanced age.

Brian Boru was beloved by his tribe which considered him as an immortal ,very popular in all Ireland from north to south and in addition extremely feared by enemies.

Once he saw the increasing emergent Viking power at the border of his land with a real risk to mutate the history of a land he heroically started to defend the local Gaelic culture keeping alive the pride of a community with a very marked identity rooted in secular traditions and costumes.

Brian Boru was witness of the fast and dangerous expansion of those Scandinavian settlers who much more established new camps and villages ruling strategic towns and the hostility towards them increased when they became indisputable owners of the major part of the most important harbours along the entire eastern Irish coastline, the gateway by sea towards the rest of Europe facing the nearest Britain.

After several disputes and consequent harsh frictions for the domain of those coastal territories by many Celtic clans with unsuccessful operations and numerous defeats in clashes against the Vikings that country lived periods of constant alarms all around its counties.

That Gaelic King convinced the major part of the tribes to establish a strong alliance forgetting rivalries and conflicts promising unity, welfare and prosperity, all messages which attracted the sense of patriotism of the majority of the Celts who immediately accepted without hesitations the leadership of that charismatic character who in his speeches constantly generated a fervent enthusiasm.

All the Clans were simply astonished by the strong personality of that figure and they celebrated a sort of proclamation in which that man was officially elevated as King of the Celts of Ireland.

Automatically his birthplace and residence Killaloe with that honour achieved the title of capital of all the Irish lands. Since then that leader strongly feeling all the local support was ready to declare war to the Norsemen in the name of an Irish Unity.

It was since those times that Killaloe became the beating heart of the entire County becoming a sort of pioneer and major pillar of the former Kingdom of Ireland admired and venerated by a multitude of Celts of other tribes.

The Vikings were not pleased of the escalation of that dangerous Gaelic condottiere including they tried to destabilise his success establisihng a sort of alliance with other Men of the North the Normans, ancestors of the future conquerors of Ireland to stop the ascent of that enemy.

Despite hard clashes and many difficulties with many Celt fighters died with Clans which lost their major exponents,  the resistance of that untamed leader was continuous, persistent reaching coast to coast with his army villages and towns.

Worth a mention that King Brian Boru was in that period over 70 years old but despite his age with a strong determination led the Celts to release many territories hamlet by hamlet.

All that increased in the population a very high patriotism never saw before, in addition that epic, legendary Sovereign advanced towards Dublin which was in those times a relevant Viking stronghold and nobody in the entire Ireland could think that someone could intimidate the Norsemen at home in that way.

Historic narrations tell that Sigurd Hlodvirsson the Viking King of the Orkney Islands with the other Nordic Monarch Brorid former ruler of the Island of Man totally feared by all those conquests with protagonist that old warrior already considered a sort of national hero decided together to move all their troops towards the current Irish Capital to face that brave enemy.

The final act culminated in 1014 with the famous, epic battle of Clontarf, a current suburb of Dublin which was the episode corresponding to the prelude of the Viking capitulation but also the event was the last day of life of that heroic leader who died there.

According to historic documentations Brian Boru was not killed in a duel or in that harsh battle which decided the destiny of the reunification of Éire but murdered by Brorid at night in his tent while he was resting and praying waiting for the day after to continue to conquer the last Viking bastion : Dublin bay.

Despite the sad death of the revered  Brian Bórhuma Mac Cénnetig. Killaloe was elevated as a sort of national icon transforming it since then as the medieval Capital of the Celtic Reign until the the 11th century.

After that heroic conquest with a pretty long prosperous, wealthy life  in the 12th century the entire Ireland fell under Anglo-Norman influence with a massive land in 1169 in the bay of Bannow in the county of Wexford.

Killaloe which had an important historic past with also the construction of the Cathedral of St. Flannan despite that relevant monument and the former powerful prestige gained in its glorious centuries of successes never returned to its old golden ages suffering a sad decay.

That centre had a notable decline due to that other centres started to have much more relevance for desire of the new governors.

Despite that many locals probably remembering all the chronological stages related to a legendary past with the release of the Irish territories facing a powerful enemy always remained hostiles for centuries to the new rulers trying to repeat those events against a new invader.

That corner of Ireland loyal to the sentiments and memories of their old, beloved, iconic King always present in histories and legends narrated generation by generation kept alive that sense of freedom and Independence culminated later with the efforts of an entire population.

All that was strongly confirmed and reflected after centuries under English rule especially in  the mid 17th century when Oliver Cromwell who was proclaimed Lord of England and  Scotland found a very strong resistance in that specific area corresponding to the Munster Province, concretely in the territories of Clare County. 

As historic detail narrated that famous, powerful English leader spent approximately 10 days in Ballina on the other shore of the river Shannon before to reach Killaloe crossing that waterway.

As in the past the descendants of the Clans organised a sort of guerrilla facing the rulers all around those lands, all that created several problems for the British troops which did not know very well the territory with some corners that often did not appear in their maps.

Some decades later that centre and all the surroundings of Limerck were also place of clashes between the Williamite followers of King William III who deposed King James II and the Jacobite led by Patrick Sarsfield, 1st Earl of Lucan supporting two different sides for the throne of Great Britain with the land transformed in a focal point of several battles with conflicts between Catholics and Protestants.

The 19th century was highlighted by the establishment of the Company Shannon Steam Navigation which had its main headquarter in Killaloe developing a canal gaining the strength of the rapids of the river in proximity of the municipality permitting the first, relevant navigation along that waterway.

The local history will continue with the struggle of Ireland to reach its autonomy obtaining the independence declared and recognised by the United Kingdom in the 20's of the 20th century.

All those historic chapters are undoubtedly very captivating in a tangle of legends, historic events and all those chronological stages are also very useful to come in deeply contact with the local culture.

Ireland is a very special country in which every centre including the smallest villages or hamlets always have something of very interesting to narrate with a multitude of episodes, hidden secrets, linked to those battles, places or determined fgures who in different periods made something of important.

Killaloe has so many and for that it is a pleasure to discover its immense fascination in a visit.

The core of the town is mainly arranged behind Canal Bank and Royal Parade in proximity of the emblematic St. Flannan´s Cathedral facing the lively Main Street from one side and the animated Abbey Street at south two very important municipal arteries consisting in the bustling heart of the municipality.  

New Street is another important  axis connected to the Green in a point where it meets Main Street and also Thomas Street leading to the northern extra radius of the municipal boundaries.

That centre is furthermore connected to Ballina by a historic bridge which in the 11th century was a former wooden construction while the current you can see nowadays was arranged  in the 18th century consisting in an imposing stone structure highlighted by 13 arches which were originally 17 but four of them disappeared during a process of restoration.

St. Flannan´s Cathedral is definitely one of the most important local symbols since medieval times a great point to start the visit, consisting in a relevant Religious building started in the late 12th century and ended in 1225 but totally destroyed and re-established over the foundations in the 14th century in a space which also included part of the ruins of the stronghold of King Brian Boru. 
Apart its immense historic value worth a mention that it was for a period a Protestant Church so in that case it has a double relevance because it was historically seat of two different Religious faiths, the Catholic and the Anglican.

That beautiful stone Cathedral consists in a double high structure developed on a wide polygonal plan covered by gable roofs flanked by an imposing square tower built on a square base using stone as main material which was mainly used for many Religious constructions erected in those times in the County of Clare.

The design is loyal to the architectural canons, executions of lines of the Churches elevated in Ireland in the Middle Ages despite there are some details reflecting a passage between a classical Romanesque to a marked Gothic style as the height of the structure and some decorative elements.

Very relevant is a stylish layout of one side of the structure presenting splendid long stained glass windows on the eastern wall respecting the traditional style of the medieval architecture developed in the country in that period.

Simply beautiful is the portal, a masterpiece with a frame of fine vaulted lines depicting animals and nature, a superbwork highlighted by those figures represented in those artistic masterpieces by local Masters something which became very rooted influencing other artistic schools in the next centuries often visible in other Monastic sites of the country.

You will notice the perfect balance of the two constructions composing the Cathedral characterised by long stone sloping roofs perfectly in harmony with the high tower dominating both boasting well marked identical outlines. 

In addition you will appreciate a perfect placement of the elements in the front side greatly inserted in specific points highlighting the symmetry and the aesthetic profile of the entire Ecclesiastic complex. 

Other notable attractions are visible in the interior where you can admire some Runic inscriptions engraved on a stone dated the Viking period , probably transported in that place after a conquest and a beautiful stone Cross dating back the 12th century and around that architectural marvel as usual in many Irish Churches was established a cemetery. 

That wonderful building was declared National Monument, it boasts a capacity of approximately 400 people and its relevance is much more highlighted because it is one of the three Cathedrals in the United Dioceses of Limerick and Killaloe.  

In recent times it had some restorations focused to refurbish the Romanesque portal and the medieval high cross that nowadays show the splendour of the past.

On the northern flank you can see a small Chapel which was the original sanctuary of the founder of the Abbey and it said that place was also the former residence o the iconic St. Flannan before to be transformed in what you can see today

It is a captivating stone building developed between the early 11th century and the mid 12th century highlighted by a huge gable roof flanked by a low stone wall and with a long history to narrate.

That distinctive construction called  Cill Lua in Gaelic language, also known as Oratory of Saint Lua was probably the site where was established the former structure probably erected in the 6th century by that emblematic Irish monk who was also known as Mo Lua and Da Lua but his true name was Lughaidh  elevated Saint later. 

That character was in addition the founder of the former village named Cill da Lua which arose near that site taking the denomination of that former Ecclesiastic seat and the history of that emblematic character is very interesting with many legends surrounding him. 

Son of a noble family of the surroundings of Limerick he started his studies of theology in the distinctive Monastery of Bangor in County Down not far from Belfast, the major centre of the current Northern Ireland.

The first historic stage which characterised that man are pretty mysterious, including enigmatic, a bit unknown also for the most eminent Irish historians who are well known to be great and superb researchers. 

The story said that he travelled as a missionary all around the country including reaching the southern coasts of Ireland near Cork and Bantry. 

 He lived for a long time as a hermit before to reach his last destination where he built the oratory on Friars´Island, place in which he became Christian Abbot but about that mystical past with several stages and changes of residences there are not many information or very marked traces of that holy figure who in his kind made history.

His landing in Clare County was pretty similar to that of St. Patrick in Skerries (I wrote a post regarding that place if you are interested) including when he converted the local pagan Celts to the Christian religion taking nature as main allied during his mission.

Some legends related to that beloved Saint said that he he was an Irish twin of St. Francis of Assisi, that famous Religious figure from Umbria because he talked to animals, birds and it said when he died they surrounded him to protect his body forming a sort of shield not permitting people to approach and also that is very suggestive and interesting.

Saint Lua was also well known to be always ready to help humble people in the name of Jesus Christ, in addition he was the master of St. Flannan who was one of his most loyal disciples taking from him several theological teachings but also how to face psychologically the humans with different problems.

Another historic monument confirming the relevant local patrimony of Killaloe is certainly Saint Flannans´s well situated in proximity of the Cathedral in the former garden of that emblematic Sacred temple.

 For a period in the past that font was used as a Sacred site for Religious rites celebrated next to it such as outdoor Ecclesiastic events, mass and official baptisms.

That monument is part of a venerated complex with the Oratory and the Cathedral linked to the most devoted sacred pilgrimages in Ireland which have in that centre a very special   distinctive destination for all what those places represented during several, historic stages very rich of important events linked to the advent and development of the Christianity in the country.

Next to the well highlighting furthermore the fascinating Irish culture you will notice the presence of a stone statue depicting the pagan Goddess Sheela Na Gig adored by the ancient Celts as protector of fertility since the times of the Milesians, considered not just a common divinity for that but also a loyal friend in life to fight the evil and difficulties.  

Another notable presence in that place capturing the attention of the visitor is a statue without head also included in the historic patrimony heritage of the town and also about that there are legends, suppositions as one telling is that is of someone who lost the honour and respect and for that it was depicted in that sculputre.

The legendary, epic manor of King Brian Boru which was called  Béal Boruma  originally reached the shore of the Lough Derg.True history or legend it said that fortress was established in the concrete place in which arose the first settlement established in the Iron Age, exactly in a point of the lake where a ford crossed the Shannon river.
On some of the rests and foundations of that famous stronghold was built part of the Cathedral approximately three century later and during its history it was restored, enlarged and partially rebuilt in several occasions.

Those works according to recorded information were mainly due to many clashes among the O´Connor, O´Brien, Connaught and MacLochlainn Clans who often severly damaged that fortress. 

The name of that manor also known as Kincora Palace was elevated as residence of that Monarch and that word “Boruma” it said it derived from a tribute or a sort of toll to pay to cross the river linked to the name of that Sovereign.

That fortified building was originally erected in a very strategic position to defend the town considered one of the most imposing medieval constructions in the history of the entire Nation but despite a good number of dates it is pretty difficult a virtual reconstruction of that legendary site.
That iconic fortress according to historic documentations consisted in a sort of huge fortified palace with a very established organised, defencive rectangular perimetral system with high walls and it is also relevant a further historical detail linked to the Vikings who penetrated in the interior who conquered other forts of Ireland but never Kincora Palace.

Other historic information narrate that place was inhabited for the last time in the early 12th century by the Clan O´Brien and destroyed by the Clan O´Connor after many years of disputes and consequent battles.  

The local Tourism Information Centre is hosted in the Brian Boru Heritage Centre, another very interesting site which worth a visit, the right place to know deeply in a great historic illustration step by step all the most significant periods of the town including some of its curiosities.

It is very suggested and you will learn more why Killaloe for a long period represented a sort of cultural epicentre for Ireland when it was core and main cradle of the most fervent Celtic spirit , apart that, during the visit you will have the chance to discover many details focused to the period in which it achieved that  prestigious tiltle in the Middle Ages as former medieval Capital of Ireland.

Historic documentations and audiovisuals introduce the visitor to the chronological events since the foundation of the Monastery which meant the beginning of the advent of the Christian Religion in those lands.

In addition you can visit a section dedicated to the Viking period reminiscent the famous battle of Clontarf with protagonist that national hero born in the town.

Other very interesting historical explanations are linked to the development of the town on the river Shannon in different periods with a special reference to navigation and trade along that waterway which created new activities becoming among the most important economical sources of the local community in more recent times.

In Pier Head you can see a brick building preserving within its walls an old well called Tobermurragh Well. Reality or legend it said that it was the font in which Brian Boru was baptised and obviously also that place is extremely regarded by many Irish people revering that icon considered one of the symbols which made the history of their motherland.

That monument apart its extraordinary, cultural value is also very famous because for long time before the construction of a new system of water distribution was the main source of delivery of drinking water for the entire town.

Very captivating and I suggest you a walk along Kincora Harbour, the local Marina, inaugurated in 2001, it boasts over 100 berths with a capacity to host boats of different size,a perfect place to start the navigation from the Lough Derg up to the Shannon River also reaching the Irish western coast via Limerick enjoying the great view of the estuary of that scenic watercourse.

Facing a charming bay beneath a picturesque hill with houses and cottages scattered on its slopes you can see a good number of vessels moored along its banks also for that charming image it is also a very photographed point of the municipality.

On the lake you can enjoy a cruise on the Spirit of Killaloe, a boat offering the visitor the chance to admire beautiful landscapes with the opportunity to know the beauty of some suggestive, natural corners along the shore that splendid waters basin which will delight you for great panoramic views towards the town from a different perspective.

The presence of the river Shannon and that lake are together an excellent incentive to practise water sports such as canoe, kayak, fishing, sailing among others.

Trekking, mountain bike and cycling on road are other great outdoor activities to enjoy in the local area thanks to the presence of beautiful, large verdant spaces highlighted by captivating itineraries with also fabulous mixed and dirt trails for mountain bikers.

For all the passionate trekkers there are very interesting routes across the nearest hills offering a splendid natural environment with magnificent views simply unique admiring places highly fascinating, a great experience to discover the genuine, natural beauty of the splendid Irish countryside.

There are furthermore some very interesting trails reminiscent chapters of extreme historic relevance consisting in paths on which walked St. Lua, Brian Boru and the ancestors of the old families O´Brien and O´Connor.

I suggest you some visits in the immediate vicinity some places which can fill your enjoyable stay, the nearest Ballina is very close, it is enough to cross Killaloe Bridge  and you can enjoy from its boundaries pleasant views on the Shannon river.
That small centre is situated on the eastern shore of the lake so a great occasion to take several pictures of that waters basin from another perspective.
Its name in Celtic language is Béal an Átha and it celebrates with Killaloe the Annual Brian Boru Festival in early July every year highlighted by a hurling match, a competition between two teams formed by those two twin centres. 

Despite its reduced size it has a pleasant dock with some scenic houses on  a low hill overlooking it and it is a place very relaxing and peaceful.

There are legends also about that place as that a former bridge connecting those two centres was erected by King Brian Boru, some evidence were found of a bridge linking Pier Head to Cullinagh in Ballina.

That centre of 1860,0 inhabitants was mentioned in a book dated the 8th century titled The Life of St. Flannan in which that holy figure who was consecrated Bishop in 639 narrated that his father Turlogh often reached that place crossing the river enjoying there long walks.

A further historical link is related to Oliver Cromnwell, that famous English Statesman who after the several difficulties to cross the Shannon river decided to establish in the 17th century in Ballina a sort of pioneer ferry service between those two centres. 

At one kilometre from that place you can reach a site called Templeachally and on Birdhill Road you can see some medieval rests  of a Romanesque Church elevated in the 12th century in a place in which was also established a burial ground.

Scarriff on the western side of Lough Derg is another place I recommend you to visit, it is a pleasant small centre with a lovely harbour, some cosy pubs and a beautiful countryside all around its boundaries.

It is another site reflecting with its genuine image the true Ireland, well known to organise different kinds of Festivals. In that centre in addition you can also see the Sacred Heart Church, a beautiful Religious building highlighted by a splendid stone tower with mullioned windows and a wonderful pyramidal roof.

According to historic documentations by heraldic historians, Killaloe and its surroundings are  famous to be linked to some prominent, distinguished American families as Kennedy.  famous worldwide for the active politic life of some of its exponents as John Fitzgerald Kennedy 35th President of U.S.A.

The ancestors of that notable dynasty reached the United States of America from that Irish area and also the great grandfather of another notorious former American President, Ronald Reagan, Michael was also native of those places.

Killaloe is also a great destination for cultural events of notable relevance. July is a special month apart the previously mentioned dedicated to Brian Boru it also celebrates the Festival of Traditional Irish Music considered a very important appointment with performances of several talented artists, an appointment highlighted by the presence of the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

That event calls people from every corner of Ireland and it also reached popularity abroad thanks to an excellent promotion with a consequent very consolidated reputation year by year.

Fiction and literature also were inspired by that town and Anthony Trollope, a notorious English novelist of the Victorian times created two of his works such as Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux with that centre as protagonist.

Also music dedicated something to the town, the English songrwriters Robert Patrick Weston and Bert Lee wrote in 1917 a comic song titled Paddy's McGinty Goat which was later performed by other artists such as the bariton Mick O' Brian, Val Doonican and including reaching popularity in Canada where it was recorded in 2003 by a musical family group called The Ennies Sisters.

The town offers apart its many historic attractions also a very lively social life with a good number of bars, traditional Pubs, ideal places to spend pleasant times enjoying a cool beer, a cocktail and with the chance to listen great music, about that worth to be mentioned The Anchor Inn, O´Donovan´s Bar, Molly´s Bar, Liam O´Riain´s Bar among others.

The delectable local gastronomy is deeply rooted in the most traditional Irish cuisine and obviously you can taste the typical, delicious Irish stew something you can not miss to try considered one of the main highlights next to the very tastefully and always fresh Salmon which as in all the country is of excellent quality prepared in different styles.

The famed Irish Fish & Chips is another culinary icon highlighted by the exquisite Cod, the superb Haddock is a further delight, meals pretty common anytime as lunch or dinner.  

Bacon and Cabbage is another local speciality with a secular tradition while the popular Coddle is a further very notorious plate consisting in a special stew combining sausages, bacon, barley, potatoes and onion.

Of high quality is the local Lamb presents in stews, roasts but also baked and seasoned with aromatic herbs. Boasting a superb reputation is the Mutton meat which is also relevant part of the oldest Irish culinary art prepared in succulent casseroles with carrots, onion, thyme, potatoes and parsley.

Very famous is also the Dresheen, a national Black Pudding very appreciated by many people, also well known is the  Boxty, a kind of potatoes pancake often combined to other specialities.

Ireland is a paradise for beer lovers in particular stouts with the famed Guinness, Beamish and Murphy’s. very famous worldwide. There is also a superb tradition in the production of a supreme Whisky and do not miss a cup of famed Irish coffee.

The International Airport of Shannon is situated just 60, 0 kilometres away and the Bus Network Company Bus EireAnn connects Killaloe to Limerick, Galway and also to the capital Dublin

 With that presemce of services you can have brilliant chances regarding a great Fly & Drive choosing different start points or using that other kind of transport. I added some links below with recommended accommodations and something more useful for your plans if you have the intention to visit Ireland soon, do not hesitate to contact mer if you some additional information.

That place packed by emblematic, historic icons, a magnificent nature highlighted by scenic landscapes, suggestive legends are all together an immediate invitation to plan a trip without hesitations.

In that land typical, traditional Celtic spirit is as immortal embraced by centuries of superb historical stages with that incomparable, captivating touch of mysticism, hidden secrets and a multitude of curiosities which all together make that Nation unique in its kind.

That town is a magnificent destination with all of those enchanting features and much more offering the brilliant chance to discover that very distinctive Irish emblem which was the former medieval Capital and also National Patrimony of Ireland.

With a lot of things to offer in a wide fan of options including those important events celebrated in its boundaries, leisure, culture with that unforgettable scenery characterised by a great, incomparable atmosphere will charm you.

If you desire to enjoy a destination representing 100% the magic, fascinating Ireland has always something to transmit, a great point of departure is starting from places as Killaloe because you will live since the beginning a marvellous experience to remember forever.

Francesco Mari

Recommended Accommodations in Killaloe

Lakeside Hotel and Leisure Centre
B&B Carramore Lodge
B&B Glocca Morra
B&B Lakeland House

Recommended Restaurants in Killaloe

The Anchor Inn Restaurant
Cherry Tree Restaurant
Molly´s Bar & Restaurant
The Lantern House Restaurant
Goosers Restaurant 

Useful links

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Thanks a lot to read and note.