If you’re debating staying in Ennistymon in Clare, you’ve landed in the right place.
Ennistymon is a beautiful, historic market town, located on the banks of the River Cullenagh, in County Clare.
Historic buildings line every street, while the cascading river flows under bridges and alongside the roads. It’s a fantastic place to stay, with a wealth of impressive Clare attractions to visit nearby.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from things to do in Ennistymon to where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows about Ennistymon in Clare
Although a visit to Ennistymon in Clare is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Located in County Clare, west Ireland, Ennistymon is located on the edge of the Burren. The Atlantic coast is less than 4 km away to the west, while the larger town of Ennis lies around 25 km southeast.
2. The name
While Ennistymon is the town’s official name, it’s more commonly spelled Ennistimon. The name is said to be derived from Inis Diomáin in Gaelic, which translates to ‘Diomán’s island’. However, the more common translation is the arguably more fitting, ‘Diomán’s river meadow’.
3. A fine base for exploring Clare
With its location on the edge of the Burren, Ennistymon is an ideal base for exploring the mysterious and unique landscape on one of the Burren walks. It’s also close enough to Lahinch Beach to enjoy the sea, while a wide array of sights, including the Cliffs of Moher, are easy to reach. Disover loads more things to do in Ennistymon below!
Ennistymon is a thriving market town, with a bustling local economy. Numerous independent shops line the streets, each decorated in a way that stays true to the history of the town.
You’ll find bookshops, bakers, butchers, hardware shops, cafes, restaurants, and pubs, each offering a warm welcome and fascinating products.
It’s known for its cascading river, known locally as ‘the Falls’, as well as the colourful buildings and buzzing atmosphere. Unlike other towns that focus more on tourism, Ennistymon is alive and thriving under its own steam. Don’t worry though, visitors are always warmly welcomed!
Things to do in Ennistymon (and nearby)
One of the beauties of Ennistymon / Ennistimon is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Clare.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Ennistimon (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Grab something hot (and tasty) from the Cheese Press
Boasting the best cheese toastie in Ireland, the Cheese Press has attained something like legendary status in Ennistymon! Seeing and tasting is believing, and I’d say it’s more than a fair claim!
They use locally baked sourdough bread, Mature Coolattin Cheddar, their own sun-dried tomato pesto, and home-made black olive tapenade.
Combined, and pressed hot, it creates a wonderful experience that you’ll long for the rest of your days! Their store also offers a variety of locally produced goods, including cheeses, chutneys, and dried meats.
They also boast one of the best cups of coffee in the land, so it’s well worth seeking out one lazy morning.
2. Then explore the town on foot
When you’re ready to burn some energy, there’s a lovely circular walk around the town that you can enjoy. The historic town walk takes you down some of the town’s oldest streets, and along the river bank. Along the way, it takes in a variety of sites, including numerous historical churches and houses, graveyards, and bridges.
You’ll also see the famous Falls, and can enjoy relaxing amid the soothing sounds of cascading water. In total, the walk covers just shy of 5 km, with several places to stop along the way, including shops and cafes.
3. Soak up the views of the falls from the bridge
You can enjoy some soothing views from the main bridge in Ennistymon. The cascading falls tumble alongside small green pastures, while an array of trees overhang from the bank.
Looking back, the river flows gently, like something out of an old painting, alongside tree lined banks and historic buildings.
From the bridge, you can also get a good look at some of the riverside houses and parks, and plot a nice walk for later.
4. Take a spin out to Lahinch (4-minute drive)
Lahinch Beach is just a short 4-minute drive from Ennistymon. It’s a superb beach for a wide array of activities.
It’s known for surfing, and you’ll find a number of places offering beginner lessons and board rental if you want to give it a go. On a warm day, it’s also a fantastic place for swimming, or simply relaxing on the soft sands.
Lahinch town is another popular tourist destination, and boasts numerous fantastic cafes, pubs and restaurants. A nice cup of coffee while you watch the surfers in the bay is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.
5. Give kayaking a crack
If you’re looking for a more unusual way to get to Lahinch beach, why not try kayaking along the river?
Paddling down the Inagh River is a great way to enjoy the good weather, and a fantastic chance to give kayaking a crack in calm waters.
Trips can be arranged at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon. You’ll be shown the basics, before heading down to Lahinch bridge. They also offer stand up paddleboarding, another exciting alternative!
6. Get blown away (literally) at the Cliffs of Moher (17-minute drive)
The Cliffs of Moher are perhaps Clare’s number one attraction. If you’re staying in Ennistymon, you’ll be glad to know that they’re a mere 17-minute drive away from town.
The cliffs are absolutely stunning to behold, stretching for 8 km, and towering more than 200 metres above the crashing Atlantic Ocean.
A visit to the top can be pretty wild, as the wind is known to blow fiercely. You can see them via the visitors entrance, on the Doolin Cliff Walk or on the return journey from a visit to the Aran Islands.
7. Explore the colourful little town of Doolin
Doolin is one of the most well-known towns in Clare, and many consider it the heart of traditional music. Home to numerous pubs, each boasting lively trad sessions most nights, it’s a fantastic place to soak up the craic and get your feet tapping!
The little riverside town itself is beautiful, with several historic buildings, and quaint cafes to enjoy. There are plenty of great restaurants and pubs to enjoy a good feed.
8. Take a ferry to the Aran Islands
The Aran Islands lay just off the coast of County Clare, and ferries run several times a day from Doolin Pier. There are 3 Aran islands to visit (Inis Mor, Inis Oirr and Inis Meain), each with their own character and offering something a little different.
However, all 3 are rugged, with numerous walks and cycle routes to check out along the way. You can’t take your car to the Aran Islands, but they’re best explored slowly anyway.
You’ll find the occasional small villages to explore, as well as ancient ring forts, castles, and gorgeous beaches and views out to sea. If you find yourself thirsty, the local pubs are amazing!
9. Explore the Burren on foot
Ennistimon is located on the edge of the Burren, an epic landscape of karst; limestone slabs that make up much of the rocky area.
Home to a veritable treasure trove of ancient sites, castles, amazing landscapes, and quaint villages, it’s an incredible place to explore.
It is possible to drive through the Burren, but to get close and personal, we recommend walking one of the many paths and trails.
There are plenty of well-signed walking routes crisscrossing the Burren, suitable for any level of fitness and ability. From short circular trails through ancient woodlands, to the immense 5-day Burren Way, there’s something for everyone.
10. Head for a nosy around Spanish Point (19-minute drive)
Spanish Point is just a 19-minute drive south of Ennistymon, and it’s well worth the trip, especially if you’re a fan of the sea.
The small seaside town has a huge sandy beach when the tide is out, though it gets washed away completely as it comes back in again. However, located in a sheltered bay, the calm waters are a perfect place for a little sea swimming.
With a large car park, toilets, and showers, the beach offers all the amenities you need for a great day out. In town, there are plenty of good places to get a hearty meal or enjoy a coffee in the sun.
There’s plenty of things to do in Spanish Point (there’s also lots of things to do in nearby Miltown Malbay, too!).
Ennistymon is becoming an increasingly popular destination for holidaymakers looking to escape the crowds of more well-known Clare resorts.
A number of guesthouses and b&bs can also be found throughout the town, offering a warm welcome, cosy rooms, and more often than not, a sumptuous breakfast!
Pub accommodation at Daly’s Bar is a great choice for those looking to soak up the culture of the town and enjoy live music sessions.
Restaurants in Ennistymon
When hunger strikes, there are loads of amazing places to fill your belly in Ennistymon. In fact, this corner of Clare punches well above its weight when it comes to food.
Below, you’ll find some of our favourite restaurants in Ennistymon, from An Teach Bia to Oh La La and more.
1. An Teach Bia
For a hearty Irish meal, this is a superb little restaurant! They offer lunch and dinner, with a range of dishes, including staples such as Irish stew. There’s also plenty of fresh, local seafood on the menu, while the lunch menu offers excellent soup and sandwich deals. Affordable, tasty, and with large portions, this is one of my personal favourites — just look for the pink building!
2. Oh La La
This is one of my top places in Ennistymon for a late breakfast. Specializing in crepes and galettes, they offer a huge variety of toppings, sweet and savoury. If you’re staying at the attached hostel, this place is a must for breakfast! High quality ingredients and friendly staff, with a wonderful outdoor terrace, mark this out as one of the town’s hidden gems.
3. Market House Ennistymon
This family run deli, cafe, and artisanal butchers is a fantastic place to stop by for a lip smacking lunch. With partnerships with a variety of local artisans and farmers, all the ingredients used are sourced locally, offering a real taste of the Burren. They provide an array of delicious sandwiches, pastries, pies, salads, and much more. They also do a mean cup of coffee, and have a range of tasty organic wines and cordials.
Byrne’s offers a cozy atmosphere, great service, and incredible food. Local seafood plays a central role in the menu, but there are plenty of other options as well. Quality locally sourced ingredients make up an array of dishes from around the world, as well as numerous Irish classics. The outdoor patio area is a great place for a nice drink before and after the meal, and the location in the heart of town couldn’t be better.
Pubs in Ennistymon
After a hard day of sightseeing, you’ll no doubt need somewhere to rest and enjoy a pint or two. Fortunately, Ennistymon doesn’t disappoint.
1. Cooley’s House
Roaring fires, flagstone floors, and a lively hustle and bustle, Cooley’s House is a real gem of a pub. Small and cosy, it’s an authentic Irish pub, with regular live trad music sessions, and plenty of banter at the bar. The locals are a friendly bunch, and a warm welcome is a given. Plenty of beer, bar snacks, and a good craic, what’s not to love?
2. Eugene’s Bar
You can’t miss Eugene’s Bar as you stroll through Ennistymon, just look for the building covered in signs and paintings, and you’re about right. The stain glass windows, endless knick-knacks, and small but cosy atmosphere, all draw you in to this incredible little local. Though small, it’s full of nooks and crannies, and houses an impressive collection of spirits.
3. Pot Duggans
With a crackling fireplace and simple yet stylish decor, Pot Duggans puts you in mind of an old-style tavern. A warm welcome awaits, along with good beer, a selection of spirits, and a hearty dinner. More of a food pub than a drinking one, it’s still a fantastic place for a few pints. On a sunny day, check out the terrace and the riverside tables.
4. McInerney’s Bar
McInerney’s is a laid back bar, with regular music sessions and a darts board. You’ll certainly get a good pint of Guinness, and while there’s no food, you’ll find all the usual bar snacks. The outdoor courtyard is a nice, quiet place to sup a pint or two and enjoy the atmosphere.
5. Daly’s Bar
Another fantastic pub to enjoy traditional music sessions and the crackle of a comforting fireplace. Fairly small and cosy, it has a buzzing atmosphere, with several nooks and crannies. The wooden arches and stone walls add a homely feel, and it’s a great place to get talking to the locals over a quiet pint. There’s also accommodation upstairs.
FAQs about visiting Ennistymon in Clare
Since mentioning the town in a guide to Clare that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Ennistymon in Clare.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Ennistymon worth visiting?
Yes! Ennistymon is a fine little village to stop off in for food if you’re exploring the nearby coast. It also makes a charming little base base for exploring this corner of Clare.
Are there many things to do in Ennistymon?
Great food and lovely trad pubs aside, there’s a nice walk in the town and the beautiful falls to admire. While there aren’t many things to do in the town itself, it’s the endless nearby attractions that make this a beautiful base to explore from.
What are the best places to stay in Ennistymon?
This’ll depend on your budget, but one of my favourite places to stay is at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon. There’s also plenty of B&Bs and a hostel, too!