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“Saints, Monks and High Crosses on the Banks of the River Shannon”
Review of Clonmacnoise

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US$ 530.70*
and up
Ireland's West Coast: 3-Day Drive to Cliffs of...
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 August 2011

I visited Clonmacnoise in mid August. The weather was sunny with a chilly breeze blowing in from the nearby river. The site is situated in beautiful surroundings, on the lush green banks of the River Shannon. On approach Clonmacnoise with its round towers and high crosses is spectacular. It is hidden away in a pretty much unspoiled area making it easy to imagine how it might have been in the past.

The History
Clonmacnoise is an Early Christian site founded by St. Ciarán in the 6th Century AD. The site includes buildings from many different eras. There are ruins of a cathedral, several churches and two quite impressive round towers. There is also a graveyard that dates back to the time of the Early Christians, with its high crosses (replicas as the originals are house in the visitors centre), and grave slabs from the same time. One of the main attractions is the 'Whispering Arch' which one person speaks in a low voice at one end and can be heard as clear as day by the person at the other. It works!

The attraction has a tourist centre, which an audio visual tells the history of Clonmacnoise, there are also exhibitions of the local flora and fauna along with the original High Crosses. There is a cafe and a picnic area, weather permitting.

I took the official tour which was a little laden with facts and figures. It was a bit more tailored for specialists than the general public, however there was a few interesting stories, which lightened it somehow. My overall impression was that it was a pleasant enough attraction, however it was more for people who are interested in history and the Early Christian Era, but everyone can appreciate the beautiful scenery!

There is a nominal fee of €6 and concessions for students, seniors and groups. As it is a little out of the way it is best accessed by car or if you are starting from Athlone it is worth checking with Viking Tours, who sail from Athlone, however they do not go to Clonmacnoise on a regular basis. It is well worth checking this one out as it is a great family day out! There website is www.vikingtoursireland.ie

1  Thank Mialorgil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (836)
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"high crosses"
in 88 reviews
"shannon river"
in 57 reviews
"celtic crosses"
in 41 reviews
"monastic site"
in 35 reviews
"guided tour"
in 32 reviews
"video presentation"
in 15 reviews
"small museum"
in 19 reviews
"well worth a visit"
in 33 reviews
"visitor center"
in 22 reviews
"beautiful setting"
in 9 reviews
"short video"
in 10 reviews
"ancient monastery"
in 7 reviews
"banks of the river"
in 13 reviews
"round tower"
in 13 reviews
"whispering arch"
in 12 reviews
"rich history"
in 7 reviews
"coffee shop"
in 20 reviews

520 - 524 of 836 reviews

Reviewed 18 August 2011

I knew Clonmacnoise from calendars of my childhood and I imagined it as a serene quiet place. It still is fairly quiet but now, with a visitor centre which is of minor interest, there is an entry charge which is the same as the entry charge for the Alhambra in Granada (which I had visited the previous month). Basically, at Clonmacnoise you are paying to enter an old graveyard with a few walls from an ancient monastery. Because of the visitor centre and the car park the sense of tranquility I sensed from the calendar pictures was completely gone. I felt ripped off.

4  Thank Philipat24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2011

We got there about 3pm, no coach groups in sight, just a few visitors. Listened to an informative and fun guided tour (great fun) and wandered around by ourselves on a gloriously sunny day. The site is situtated just by the Shannon RIver and watching the few boats and the several swans float by was just so peaceful. Talked to a fellow visitor who was a fireman on duty when Pope John Paul visited. His visit was supposed to be a secret, only 30 000 people turned up :) Clonmacnoise is a remarkable place, spiritual in feel, and well worth a visit.

Thank LindaWheatley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2011

While I understand that alot of work goes into preserving this site I was disappointed having finally reached it that I had to pay €6 per adult to have a quick, unguided walk around the ground.

The ruins are beautiful, there's no doubt about that but everything else was grossly underwhelming.The coffee shop was overpriced and grubby, which is a common feature of attractions like this unfortunately. What I couldnt believe however was how tortuously boring the short film explaining the site was. Clonmacnoise was the stuff of exciting legends from everyones primary school days - kings, cheiftans, viking, monks, miracles....yet the film was excruciating?!! If you go - dont bother with the video and just enjoy the ruins!

1  Thank ConstantTraveller21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 January 2011

Clonmacnoise Monastery is one of those places I would have never expected to love that much. I visited Ireland mainly for Dublin, and when our host at the B&B suggested we went on a day trip to Offaly to see Clonmacnoise, I was a lil doubtful.

All my doubts vanished when I faced the majestic and massive beauty of this site. I was speechless. If you want to be brought back in time and find yourself in a dreamy-like place, do not hesitate to visit this beautiful historical site.

Due to the very rainy weather we have found in Ireland in April, I strongly suggest to visit Clonmacnoise in the Summer! (But try your luck and don't miss this beauty, all year round!)

Thank PLHsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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