So you’re in the swing of experiencing ‘real’ Ireland… you’ve enjoyed Irish cuisine, danced the night away in an Irish bar and enjoyed all the capital has to offer? You’ve probably even visited a peaceful Irish village, marvelled at the sweeping countryside and slept under a traditional thatched roof by now… but you’ve missed a trick until you visit Clonmacnoise on the banks of River Shannon. If the beautiful name itself doesn’t scream ‘Ireland’ enough to persuade you (Irish: Cluain Mhic Nois meaning ‘meadow of the sons of Nos’) then perhaps the rich artefacts, extensive ruins and ornate celtic crosses on show at the site will.
Fraught with history, on arrival at Clonmacnoise the interactive visitor centre exhibits information on what you’re about to see stating an estimated origin in the 6th century: almost impossible to comprehend when you see the well-preserved state of the ruins. On taking a walk around the three high crosses, a cathedral, seven churches and two round towers, you’ll soon become wowed by the sheer size of the monastic site, where inhabitants from around the world once travelled to devote themselves to the study of religion. Had a culture shock yet? How about if we told you the oldest Pilgrims path in Europe is believed to run into the site!
It’s suggested you leave around 3 hours to enjoy all this picturesque place has to offer. When you’re all historied-out, Tiplr recommend picnicking at the banks of the River Shannon whilst a backdrop of the monastery melts into the skyline. It doesn’t get much more beautiful and Irish than that.
This tip is also a part of the Experience : Ireland • Cycling the Emerald Isle