Situated on the banks of the River Shannon, Killaloe is well known as the birthplace of Brian Boru (c. 941 - 1014), the High King of Ireland,(1002 - 1014). While Brian was High King, he ruled from Killaloe making it the "Capital of Ireland". Brian Boru's fort is 10 minutes walk along the path from the Killaloe Hotel.
The towns of Killaloe and Ballina are amongst Ireland's most picturesque attractions and are linked by a 13 arch bridge, which links not only the two towns, but also the counties of Clare and Tipperary. Both villages host restaurants, galleries, pubs, and shops as well as a Sunday Farmers' Market.
• St, Flannan's Cathedral
As a strategically located crossing point of the River Shannon, Killaloe has held an important place in church and state affairs throughout the centuries.
An example of this is the historic Cathedral of St. Flannan, just a stone’s throw from the bridge, in the centre of the town. The building itself, which features exquisite Romanesque arches, gothic detailing and an arabesque ornamented font, was completed in 1225, though it is thought to be built on the site of an oratory that goes even further back.
• St. Lua's Oratory
Lua, who gives his name to the oratory, was of a noble family in the Limerick area and trained for the priesthood in Bangor Co. Down, not far from Belfast, which is also where St. Columba studied. In 1929, when the Dam at Ardnacrusha was being commissioned, the level of Lough Derg was raised by 18 inches. It was therefore decided to relocate the oratory to where it stands today, near the Catholic Church in Killaloe. The oratory has been beautifully reconstructed and gives an excellent insight into the way life was lived by priests and monks of middle ages.
• St. Cronan’s Church, Tuamgraney – 15min
This is one of the oldest churches still in use in Ireland, having been founded in the 10th Century. It is said that High King Brian Boru worshiped here before heading up to Dublin to fight The Vikings at Clontarf in 1014.
• Bunratty Castle and Folk Park – 25min
Bunratty is a 15th century castle, restored and maintained to a very high standard. It’s open during the day for you to explore, along with the Folk Park adjacent to the castle. In the evening there are various entertainment experiences, including a medieval banquet in the main hall and a farmous dinner with entertainment.
• White Tailed Eagles/Sea Eagles. Eagles became extinct in Ireland in the late 19th century. In recent years populations of Golden Eagles and White Tailed Eagles have been re-introduced, with some success. Ireland’s first breeding pair of White Tailed eagles set up home on Bushy Island close to Mountshannon, in 2010. In 2013 they successfully hatched the first eagles on this island in over 110 years. Mountshannon is 20 minutes drive from Killaloe.
• Knappogue 45min
A restored and extended 15th century castle which, along with its extensive grounds, is open to the public from May to September. There is also a mediaval banquet experience.
• Cliffs of Moher
Located 90 minutes drive from Killaloe, these dramatic cliffs rise vertically to a height of 214metres (702ft).
• The Burren
Well worth combining with a trip to the Cliffs of Moher, this unique, karst limestone landscape is home to flowers and plants unknown anywhere else in Ireland.
• Craggaunowen/The St. Brendan – 45 min
This fascinating place offers several attractions.
- A crannóg. A faithful reconstruction of a lake dwelling, on which many people would have lived from prehistoric times up until the middle ages.
- A ringfort. A fascinating glimpse at how our forebears lived, Many people don’t realise it, but Irish families and communities lived in this ring forts like this over many centuries.
- A Tower House, Norman Castle. Climb the stairs to the top for a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape
- The St. Brendan. In 1976, explorer and historian Tim Severin set out to demonstrate how the legend of St. Brendan the Navigator’s journey across the Atlantic Ocean in a leather boat was possible. He made it to St. John’s Newfoundland. The boat he sailed in is preserved here at Craggaunowen.
There are several other attractions here including: a Fulacht Fiadh, or ancient Irish cooking pit; a herd of Wild Boar and flock of highly unusual goats, thought to be a remnant of the type of goats farmed in prehistoric Ireland.