Ballyportry is situated a mile from the village of Corofin in County Clare, on the Corofin-Gort road, which skirts The Burren. It is an hour’s drive from Shannon Airport and about a four hour drive from Dublin.
Ballyportry is situated to the South of Galway Bay, between Connemara and the Kingdom of Kerry. It is located in the Burren part of County Clare and is 21km (12 miles) inland from the Atlantic Ocean and the Wild Atlantic Way. It is within an hour of Shannon airport and less than 4 hours drive from Dublin. The county town of Ennis is within 20 minutes of the castle and the nearby villages of Corofin and Kilfenora are well supplied with local shops for everyday supplies.
The nearby National Park of the Burren can be appreciated with an expert guide or explored on your own by hiking along the trails. The limestone geology is famous for the beauty of the wild flowers that flourish in the cracks of rock and carpet it in vibrant colours in the long days of the summer months on this northern latitude. Mediterranean and sub arctic flowers bloom side by side, warmed by the Gulf Stream that flows up the Atlantic Coast.
The nearby Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands are a daylong expedition. They are best appreciated by boat in a trip that can include sea angling from the tiny harbour of Liscannor. The small nearby town of Ennistymon offers a choice of tea rooms, a good second hand bookshop, an art gallery and the magnificent waterfall that cascades through the middle of the hilly town. Lahinch, well known for golf links and situated in the middle of Liscannor Bay is a surfing destination, famous for surfers who can be spotted at all times of the year as they skim through the waters of Liscannor Bay.
Loop Head lighthouse is at the tip of the peninsula of County Clare, and a favourite unspoilt destination of wildness and peace. It is at the mouth of the Shannon Estuary and about a leisurely hour and a half drive from Ballyportry. Bicycles can be hired in the Victorian seaside town of Kilkee to take a circular 20k route to the lighthouse and the less frequented nearby cliffs. The golf course of Doonbeg is at hand.
The city of Galway is about an hour and a bit from Ballyportry. The road passes by the leaning round bell tower of the gentle remains of the medieval monastery of Kilmacduagh, and past Coole Park, once the home of Lady Gregory and where the Nobel Prize winning poet W.B.Yeats penned his verse ’The Wild Swans at Coole.’ Galway City is renowned for the pleasure of strolling around a medieval street pattern and the informal atmosphere with bookshops. A good destination is Sheridan’s Cheese shop and upstairs wine bar that stocks all the renowned Irish cheeses. The Corrib River, a salmon river, flows through the city with ducks and swans at its edges.
For those with a taste for traditional music Clare is full of musicians who play in pubs up and down the county. The Gaelic games of hurling, one of the fastest ball games in the world, is played in the long evenings of the summer months and great pride is taken in the success of the Clare hurling team. Pitches can be found in every village throughout the county. The game culminates in September with the All Ireland Final in Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium.
12 recommendations during your stay at Ballyportry Castle
- Drinks before dinner on the second night of a stay in the Great Hall at the top of the tower house, with a blazing fire and the shape of the ogive windows outlined on the wall by a setting sun.
- Scrambling up Mullaghmore with children and friends.
- A shark fishing expedition with Skipper Willie O’Callaghan on his 42’ boat ‘ True Light’ out of Liscannor.
- A day trip by boat from Liscannor or Doolin to Inishear, the nearest of the Aran Islands.
- On a stormy day, taking a drive to the Atlantic to look at the streams of water being driven UP the Cliffs of Moher.
- Buy steaks from Michael Hynes, the local butcher, and cook them on the high flame of the gas cooker with Kinvara new potatoes and onions from Tom Hogan’s shop at the bottom of the hill.
- Dancing the ‘Clare Set’ at an evening in Vaughan’s set dancing barn in Kilfenora.
- Surfing like a seal in the slower moving Atlantic waves of Liscannor Bay and Fanore.
- Jumping into freezing cold Atlantic waves from the sandy beach at Fanore or Lahinch.
- Listening to the best of traditional Irish music beside a good fire at a session in the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna.
- A walk with the expert guide Gordon D’Arcy in some of the many hidden parts of The Burren.
- Watch the sun go down on Galway Bay before turning for home and the now familiar silhouette of the 500 year old Gaelic tower house of Ballyportry.