Kilfenora is a village with a known history stretching back over 1500 years.
It is known as ‘the city of the crosses’ on account of the profusion of ancient celtic crosses found in and around St. Fachnan’s Cathedral (dating from 1058). Having a cathedral supports Kilfenora’s claim to be the smallest city in the world – along with choosing the Pope in perpetuity at its bishop. Click here for more details and pictures.
The Burren Centre, open from 16 March to 31 October, is located in the main square, and provides visitors with a comprehensive introduction – through film and exhibition – to the unique landscape of North Clare, so beloved of walkers, historians, archaeologists, geologists, botanists, speleologists, photographers and artists.
Shops and services
Kilfenora has two grocery shops – Howleys and O’Gormans. Apart from essentials, these variously stock or supply hardware and agricultural items, as well as some food products from local producers.
High quality countrywear can be obtained from Nagles outfitters, and a range of crafts, postcards, CDs, books and guides are available at the Burren Centre.
The Burren Centre Tea Rooms provides meals and snacks throughout the day during its open season.
The village Post Office is located across the road from the Tea Rooms.
Connole’s garage is available for re-fueling and repairs.
Vaughan’s serves food and has a barn where céilís are staged 1-2 times a week.
Next door is the Kilfenora Hostel, where walking tours into the Burren can be arranged.
Nagle’s pub is famous for its music sessions, held on Saturday nights through much of the year.
Linnane’s pub has sessions in the summer, serves food, and is known as ‘Kitty’s Corner’ in honour of the late Kitty Linnane, who played piano with and managed the Kilfenora Céilí Band for 40 years.
Festivals and Father Ted
Kilfenora stages a music festival every year at the end of April. It also very successfully hosted the Clare County Fleadh for 3 years (2009-11), smashing all records in 2011 for the number of competitors at a county fleadh in Ireland. A particular feature of Kilfenora festivals is the staging of an open-air céilí in the Square. Click here for more details and pictures.
Various events celebrating the making of the popular TV series ‘Father Ted’ have been held in Kilfenora, featuring the locations where filming took place. Click here for more details and pictures.
St. Patrick’s Day is a particularly good time to visit Kilfenora, to witness the rustic parade and enjoy great music all day.
Mass at the Catholic St Fachnan’s church in Kilfenora is normally 10am on Sundays, and a service is also held at nearby Inchovea church at 7.30pm Noughaval at 6.30pm on Saturdays. Father Ned Crosby is the parish priest. Occasional Church of Ireland services are held at the Cathedral.
Update April 2014: Mass in Kilfenora has changed from 11am to 10am on Sundays.