With a population of around twenty-five thousand, ENNIS is by far and away Clare’s largest town. It began its life in the thirteenth century as a small settlement grouped around a long-disappeared O’Brien castle. Nowadays, it’s a buzzing town, set on both sides of the River Fergus, and still largely based around its medieval street pattern and the central, often traffic-clogged artery, O’Connell Street. Though there’s little to see here apart from the ruins of a medieval friary, to the north of O’Connell Street, the town is thoroughly enjoyable in its own right, with plenty of decent restaurants and, above all, a thriving traditional music session scene.

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