Burren Perfumery and Floral Centre:
Co. Clare's amazing Burren national park is about twelve miles north of Ennis and among its 150 square miles of unique limestone are more than seventy per cent of Ireland's wildflowers. Therefore, forty years ago, Burren Perfumery was founded to make perfumes, balms, creams, and soaps from the surrounding organic materials by hand. Visitors are invited to explore the workshop, chat with the staff, watch a video presentation that details the manufacturing process, and browse the perfume shop. There is also a tea room that makes lunches and cakes on site.
On the mouth of the River Shannon, forty miles from Ennis, is Carrigaholt Castle. Built in 1480 by the MacMahons, it watches over the riverway that is now home to over two hundred Bottlenose Dolphins, including calves. Carrigaholt Dolphinwatch is an eco-centred organisation that is committed to preserving the natural lives and habitat of the dolphins in the Shannon, and in peak-season it carries out up to four boat trips a day, with a likelihood of sighting the creatures of over 98 per cent.
West Clare Railway:
Towards the western end of Co. Clare, near to the small hamlet of Moyasta about thirty miles from Ennis, is the West Clare Railway. Once one of Ireland and Co. Clare's most vital transport links, extensive excavation, track laying and fencing has helped restore the works into an accurate representation of the rail line at its height, with the legendary Slieve Callan steam engine brought out from its museum retirement and meticulously re-engineered into full working order, the West Clare Railway has become a top pick for families and school trips to experience a fun and educational day out.
Twenty miles up from Ennis, near Ballyvaughan on the north Clare coast of the Burren, is the Aillwee Cave complex and Bird of Prey Centre. Reputed to be one of the oldest caves in Ireland, the entrance sits high on a mountainside that overlooks Galway Bay. Guided tours take visitors into the caves that stretch over 2000 feet into the earth, crossing chasms and visiting the mystical frozen waterfall. On the same site is the Birds of Prey Centre, founded to help with the conservation of the Red Kite and the Asian White-Backed Vulture, which was built so visitors could interact with and find out more about these majestic birds.
Gleninsheen Wedge Tombs:
Gleninsheen is just south of the Aillwee Caves, in the Burren, and has been there since 2000 to 3000 BC. The ancient grave sites of Gleninsheen include several cairns and three wedge tombs. The box shaped tombs are around three feet wide and ten feet long, and made up from a single stone at the back, two on each side, with a large thin slab placed on the top. Any human remains have vanished over time, but a fine torc of solid gold was found and sent to the National Museum Dublin, thought to date from 700 BC.