Kilfenora - a national treasure
Kilfenora is famous for 3 things, at least? Firstly it’s a cathedral town having its 13 parishes amalgamated and elevated to a diocese in the 12th century which means the bishop of Kilfenora is in fact the current Pope. Secondly, at least one of the original 7 stone High Crosses was carved back then,possibly the one that was removed to Killaloe in 1821,to commemorate that great event. But, you can still see the remnants of the others and a fine 13ft high solitary example in the field beside the cathedral access via the graveyard. The cathedral was built in 1058 on the site of the earlier 6th century St Fachnan’s monastery. A glass roof was erected in 2004 to protect the many and varied stone carvings. It is still used occasionally for Church of Ireland although all denominations are welcome to visit....
And thirdly, the Kilfenora Ceili Band undoubtedly the best in Clare and probably the best in Ireland, if not the world, hail from this small town. They celebrated 100 years in existence in 2009 (mere babies compared to the cathedral and crosses!) Many famous families are associated with this national treasure including Sharon Shannon who along with her sister Mary plays regularly with the band everywhere from local pubs to Carnegie Hall. It's impossible to actually describe the music or the kind of stuff they play as it transcends cultural tradition, technical ability, anything ordinary in fact? you will just have to watch the video....
And if that has you tapping your feet and clapping your hands you should head for Kilfenora any sunday or (St Patricks Day is a good bet) but definitely around the end of April for their music festival. Apart from almost a week of traditional music workshops, visiting bands ect, there will be a free open air ceili in the square (opposite Vaughan's Pub) on the Sunday, details below.
Please note ‘sessions start Wednesday and finish Monday....’
Yep, don’t expect to sleep in the meantime!