The Land of Céad míle Fáilte

by Trish Clark /
Trish Clark's picture
Dec 03, 2009 / 0 comments

Most travellers don’t need much of an excuse to visit Ireland, but those who do could possibly use Celtic history and the Irish culture, tracing the family tree, the fine crystal, the rolling green countryside, horseracing, Gaelic football, Irish pubs or folk dancing, literature, art or music. However, not quite in fitting with traditional Irish attractions is the rather unorthodox Irish leisure activity of ‘surfing’.  If you happen to be in Ireland during the warmer months and down on the south-west coast in County Clare you will find the Aloha Surf School on the sandy Fanore Beach, near the quaint harbourside village of Ballyvaughan. This is where the locals hone their boardriding skills and where families come to enjoy a day at the beach and frolic in the rolling Atlantic surf. And you can feel very safe here on weekends in June and every day in July and August when the flags go up and the local lifesavers are on patrol. Fanore Beach is in an area called The Burren - an ancient, vast and stony expanse full of rare plants and birdlife and walking trails which attract ramblers, hikers and outdoorsy types. 

The Burren

  The Burren, Ireland. Photo ©PMUDU

 Doonagore Castle near Fanore Beach, Co. Clare. © Patryk Kosmider
Doonagore Castle near Fanore Beach, Co. Clare. © Patryk Kosmider

Around the Burren

After a hard day’s trek on The Burren or catching the waves at Fanore Beach a warm and homely B & B could come in very handy – especially one with a little luxury, ensuite facilities and a warm Irish welcome thrown in. The high standard of accommodation at The Burren View B & B will restore the spirits of any exhausted trekker or spent surfer and a generous, hot Irish breakfast is served each morning. Take-away lunches are available if required. The guesthouse has an inviting outdoor sitting area, a large communal TV room and a separate guest’s entrance. And it is only a few minutes drive into the village of Ballyvaughan where there a couple of traditional Irish pubs, tea shops, and restaurants. Click here for best rates and availability.

Burren View B&B

 Photos courtesy The Burren View B & B

And if you haven’t met Mr or Mrs Right yet and happen to visit Ireland in September when it is possibly too cold for surfing in Fanore, the nearby town of Lisdoonvarna hosts an annual, month-long Matchmaker Festival for single men and women of all ages.

Those already ‘taken’ might enjoy the Cuckoo Festival in the pretty village of Kinvara, a 15 minute drive east, which is held over the May Bank Holiday weekend. The name is a little misleading as the festival is actually a celebration of traditional Irish music and takes place in the local pubs, restaurants, and halls.


Kinvara. Photo ©


Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, can be expensive, especially the hotels and guesthouses in the centre of town. A hotel located near a DART (train) Station in an inner suburb could be an inexpensive alternative. One such place, the Ballsbridge Inn on Pembroke Road, in the suburb of Ballsbridge and within walking distance of the Lansdowne Road DART (train) station is worth considering. Click here for best rates and availability.

Hotel Ballsbridge

Ballsbridge Hotel

Photos courtesy Hotel Ballsbridge Inn

This 3 star hotel is about 15mins on foot in to the centre of Dublin and the single twin/double and family rooms are comfortably furnished, ensuite and air-conditioned. An elevator operates to all floors. Public facilities include a pub and restaurant, cafes and a shop for take-away coffee, small food items and odds and ends. Parking is available for a small charge €10.50. The hotel has a 24hr front desk and some rooms have facilities for disabled guests. Kids under 12 stay free when using existing bedding. Numerous pubs, shops, and restaurants can be found in the surrounding area. Good value.

As they say in Ireland, Céad míle Fáilte—One hundred thousand welcomes!

 Pub in Temple Bar, Dublin. Photo Holger Leue

 Pub in Temple Bar, Dublin. Photo Holger Leue

  St Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin. Photo Johnathon McDonnell,

  St Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin. Photo Johnathon McDonnell,


Trish Clark is author of Good Night and God Bless: A Guide to Convent and Monastery Accommodation in Europe, Vols I and II, both published by Hidden Spring, an imprint of Paulist Press NJ. She writes a monthly column for as the European Accommodation Editor. You can find her at