Kilfenora public meeting (Tuesday, 7pm) on proposed ‘Burren Drive’

Fáilte Ireland are proposing to create a ‘Burren Drive’ – a tourist driving route linked, but separate to, the Wild Atlantic Way.

A public meeting is being staged to consult the North Clare community about this on Tuesday 13 November at 7pm in the Burren Centre. (A duplicate meeting is being held in the Wild Atlantic Lodge on Wednesday in Ballyvaughan.)

 Anyone is welcome, although Fáilte Ireland would appreciate being told if you are coming by sending an email to

The meeting will be attended by Hogarths – a landscape architect consultancy hired by Fáilte Ireland to help design the ‘Drive experience’.  In their words, they wish to be able to tell a story that will make a drive through the Burren come alive for visitors and increase benefits to local people by encouraging responsible engagement with this unique place”.

Hogarths are seeking advice from the community about what those who may use the drive – whether  tourists or locals – might need and expect.

  • What will interest and intrigue them?
  • What is essential or valuable for them to know about the environment, history and folklore of the Burren?
  • What information and pictures do we have in the community that could be used to tell this story? (Please bring anything along you may feel will be useful.)
  • Members of the Community may also need to advise Fáilte Ireland and its consultants of things NOT to do if designing a tourist drive through the Burren.

This meeting is connected to the consultation Fáilte Ireland undertook last year in Kilfenora and elsewhere about extending the marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way inland.

An important question for the Kilfenora Community is how WE should communicate about our village to attract the kind of visitors that we want – ideally people who will stop and stay and spend money, rather than pass through briefly in large coaches (typically on their way to the Cliffs).

Come and make your views heard – we don’t often get consulted about significant tourism initiatives that affect our daily lives!

Some useful facts

Since the inauguration of the Wild Atlantic Way, Clare’s performance in terms of revenue per visitor to Co Clare has actually declined as has its position in comparison with the other counties on the Way – Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Donegal. The numbers of visitors is increasing but revenue is not – particularly in respect of foreign visitors, ie the ones most likely to use the proposed Burren Way. The figures below are the latest available from official sources.

  • Clare had the lowest spend per overseas visitor (€211) in 2017, down 5 % from 2016. By comparison the figure for Cork in 2017 was €393, Limerick €403 – and Galway’s income increased 100% to €352. This is despite a 20% increase in Clare’s overseas visitor numbers.
  • As regards domestic visitors (who on average spend more than overseas tourists), Clare fell from first place to third (2017 vs 2016), with a drop of 18% in revenue to €238 per head. Numbers of visitors fell by 14%. Again, this compares badly with the other coastal counties.

Why is Clare doing so poorly, given all the wonderful tourism features the county possesses?  Is this a failure in marketing of Co Clare? Why in particular are overseas visitor numbers increasing fast and revenue declining just as fast?

The answer in part is obvious to anyone living in North Clare. As Fáilte Ireland knows, there has been a vast surge in coach traffic to the Cliffs of Moher, deriving from Dublin and Galway. No surprise then that the income per head in Galway has rocketed. Possibly the actual decline in domestic visitors has something to do with being put off by this traffic increase – although that is speculative as no analysis has yet been undertaken by Clare Council or Fáilte Ireland.

Thus the challenge for the proposed Burren Drive is this – will it either help or make worse the tourism revenue figures for Co Clare? Will this just mean more people staying and spending in Galway, Limerick and Kerry having driven through the Burren on a day trip? How can Clare Co Council and Fáilte Ireland genuinely help local communities reverse the clear downward trend?

Kilfenora ‘time capsule’ 2017-2067

The Kilfenora Timeline is creating a Time Capsule which is intended to be re-opened in 2067.

  • Every household is invited to contribute to a record of the village and parish in 2017, which will be opened by villagers in 2067 to reflect on what has changed (or not!)
  • Physical items entered by each household must be compact – for example, a family tree on an A4 page, up to 3 photographs, an account of each household (on 1 A4 page)
  • Alternatively or additionally, households can submit a USB memory stick (also known as a flash drive) with as much information as that can hold – photos, documents, music, video.

All contributions should be placed in an envelope indicationg teh name and location of teh household and given into teh Post Office in Kilfenora by Friday October 6.

The Time Capsule will include a copy of a film being made by John O’Donnell of the Kilfenora Culture Night held on 22 September.

If you have any questions about the Kilfenora Timeline Capsule, call Lisa Carkill (087 742 6757) or Nuala Mulqueeny (086 832 2099) or email

Double celebrations in Kilfenora 8.10.16

Celebrations were long and late and very merry in Kilfenora on Saturday 8 October 2016.

First, the Kilfenora GAA football team won the Clare intermediate club final for the first time since 1992. They drew with Kildysart 10 apiece two weeks earlier at Cusack Park, Ennis. Then they won a magnificent victory in the replay at the Hennessy Memorial Park stadium in Miltown Malbay, by a goal and nine points against nine points for Kildysart. They will now go on to compete at Munster level and go up to the senior competition.

There was much parading of the cup at the stadium and later in KiIfenora., and much partying in Linnanes and Nagle pubs, and then in Vaughans pub and barn, where the celebrations were for Michael Davoren’s 80th birthday.

Of course there was great music, given Michael’s history as a musician – a one time member of the Kilfenora and other céilí bands. The Four Courts Band played first, followed by Michael himself fronting a group of Kilfenora musicians followed by various musical Davoren family members. The merry throng also enjoyed a hog roast outside in the surprisingly warm October night.

Pictures of the celebrations can be seen below

 

Variety concert in Kilfenora

On Saturday 3 September, there will be a variety concert in Kilfenora Community Hall starting at 8.00 pm.

There will be music, singing (individual, choir), dancing and theatrical sketches, featuring the Kilfenora community’s varied talent, of all ages. As many will know from previous such occasions, there will be many reasons both to be impressed and to laugh.

Admission is €5 (families €10). Proceeds will be devoted to the Hall’s charity fund.

Here is glimpse of some of Kilfenora’s talemt on show, at the Marketplace gig rig at the Fleadh in Ennis on 19 August.

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Fleadh 2016 – music in Kilfenora

Clare’s villages will be buzzing with music during the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis, ideal for those escaping the crowds or who are staying out of town.

Kilfenora – one of Ireland’s most famous locations for traditional music – is of course no exception, with a number of its young musicians competing for honours in the All-Ireland championships.

Known variously as the City of the Crosses (visit ancient Kilfenora cathedral) and the home of céilí music, our centuries-old music tradition is on show in the Kilfenora Céilí Band Parlour, a special exhibition space and audio-visual experience in the Burren Centre in Kilfenora Square. Formally opened by Ireland’s President in March 2015, this is the only museum in the world (that we are aware of) dedicated to living musical artists. Among many exhibits is the certificate recording Kilfenora’s Guinness Book of Records win for the largest céilí band ever. Experiencing the Parlour is a must-do for traditional music lovers visiting Clare.

Meanwhile each evening during the Fleadh week, renowned musicians from County Clare and beyond will be playing in Kilfenora pubs. Visiting musicians are welcome to join in.

Linnanes pub will host a traditional session each night (approx 9pm) from Monday 15th to Friday19th, where you can hear many of the distinctive tune sets made famous by the Kilfenora Céilí Band over its 106 year history (so far!) And who knows, sessions may pop up there at the weekend too.

Nagles pub will host sessions on Friday 19th-Sunday21st August (9.30 pm).

Friday – Joe Fitzgerald (accordion, vcls), Des Mulkere (banjo, flute, vcls and stories) and friends

Saturday – Donie Nolan (accordion, vcls), Noel O’Donohue (flute), Pat Marsh (bouzouki)

Sunday – Colin Nea (accordion), Brendan Organ (bouzouki) and friends

Meanwhile, Vaughans pub barn hosts a céilí every Sunday with the Four Courts Céilí Band. Bring your dancing shoes.

09 - Anne, Shona & James

Harp concert in Kilfenora Cathedral 14.7.16

In Kilfenora’s ancient Cathedral at 8.30 pm on Thursday 14 July, the celebrated Irish harpist Dr.Janet Harbison gave a free recital of old and new music on the Irish harp together with the Limerick soprano Siobhan Egan.

After a welcome from the Rev Bob Hanna, the concert featured traditional and O’Carolan melodies and some of Harbison’s own works, such as excerpts from her much lauded composition  ‘Lion of Ireland’ originally performed with multiple harps, voices and bagpipes at Limerick’s St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Brian Boru Millennium in 2014.

Janet was accompanied by Siobhan Brady (Limerick) and Morgana Rudan (Modena, Italy) on harps. Siobhan Egan added some much loved favourite songs, and Kilfenora resident, film-maker Alan Cooke, read one of his poems.

Variously praised as ‘Ireland’s First Lady of the Harp’ (BBC Sean Rafferty), ‘The Queen of the Irish Harp’ (American Folk Harp Journal), and ‘Ireland’s National Treasure’ (President Michael D.Higgins), multi-award-winning Janet Harbison is a seasoned international stage performer and composer, founder of the Irish Harp Orchestra movement and until recently, director of the Irish Harp Centre in Castleconnell, Co Limerick.  Harbison had just directeda harp summer school at the Boghill Centre, Kilfenora, and plans to run more courses in North Clare in future.

Yoga in Kilfenora – come and join

Come and try yoga in KIlfenora Hall – stretch, breathe and exercise gently.

All welcome – both beginners and those who have used yoga before. It’s easy to start, and great to learn nand continue at home.

Sessions will take place at 19.30 on Thursday evenings and 10.00 on Friday mornings. Choose which time suits you.

The cost is a mere €70 for 6 sessions of 1.5 hours – you can come along and try for free (but the first session is not free if you commit to continue).

For more details contact yoga teacher Susie McNaughton on 086 735 4461 or

Yoga 2

St Patrick’s Day in Kilfenora

Twill be a lively St Pat’s in Kilfenora on St Patrick’s Day, 2016.

The parade will start at 12.00 from the back of Vaughans pub, progress up Main St to the Square and turn left round the Father Ted roundabout onto the Lisdoonvarna Road, and then return back again to Vaughans. As always there will be a prize for the best float – although everyone’s a winner just taking part. Floats should gather well in advance of 12.00.

There will be the traditional gathering of distinguished North Clare musicians at Kitty Linnane’s grave by the Cathedral, and a session starting at the Linnanes pub after the parade. All the Kilfenora pubs will be lively of course.

Meantime a cake sale will be taking place in Kilfenora Hall – proceeds will be donated to the maintenance of this vital community amenity.

Finally, the traditional Michael Hegarty memorial football match has been revived, featuring past and present members of Kilfenora’s football teams. This is being held at the Deanery playing fields (out on the Doolin Road) at 3.30 pm, to mark the opening of the Club Room at the Sports pavilion with a showing of photographs.

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RTE Céilí House broadcast from Kilfenora 13.2.16

The recording in Kilfenora of RTE 1’s Céilí House programme presented by Kieran Hanrahan, made in January in Linnanes pub, will now be broadcast on Saturday 13 February at 21.00.

This has changed from Saturday 20 February due to the coverage of the upcoming Irish general election.

The recording features a range of great musicians from North Clare – young and old. This includes the current Kilfenora Céilí Band, along with musical legends such as Chris Droney and Michael Kelleher, young talent such as Jessica Nea with her father Colin Nea – All-Ireland winners both – and many more. See February’s North Clare Local newspaper for a range of pictures taken during the recording.

The programme also features the young Kilfenora Comhaltas céilí band that has been competing (and winning) in recent times. Note that they will compete in the finals of Ceol an Gheimhridh in Dromcollogher Co. Limerick on Sunday 14 February at 16.00. (This is at Munster level – there is no further stage.) See here for a previous news report about their victory at the Clare county final. This is a tough competition – the last Clare winners were Crusheen in 2009.

Buttons & Bows concert in Kilfenora

The Kilfenora Trad Fest will stage a special one-off concert on Saturday 29 August 2015, featuring the highly popular Buttons and Bows – an un-missable opportunity to see an internationally-renowned Irish trad act in the intimate setting of Kilfenora’s Community Hall (main street, Kilfenora).

For details about the band and how to obtain tickets, click here.

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