There is something wonderful about seaside villages — and it all comes down to the soundscape. My fascination with that noise began with a reading of E. Annie Proulx’s wonderful book The Shipping News which brought the reader into that space where the crashing Atlantic against the rocks of Newfoundland became a character in the narrative. And so it is here in Liscannor, this beautiful space looking out on that same ocean, where the sound of the waves plays an equal part of everyday life.
Any break along the coast of Clare is the visual equivalent of putting a large shell to your ear and letting yourself get lost in the sound. As such, Liscannor is an ideal location for a short break away, easily accessible, taking me just over 80 minutes to get from Galway to there.
And what a welcome awaits in a quirky hotel that offers so much more than the usual — The Cliffs of Moher Hotel in the village was built to a high spec just over a decade ago, and in the interim has constructed a fine reputation for comfortable accommodation, fine art, great music, and delicious food served in the Bloody Craneshill Gastrobar which has been winning rave reviews for its quality and affordability.
When you head to the west coast for a break and let that fresh air wash over you, there is nothing more fulfilling than to get back indoors and sample the fare on offer in an inviting setting. What a treat awaits even the most demanding of palate.
The immediate area around the Burren is a haven for gastronomy and a lot of the food served here comes right from the locality — from the Burren lamb to the seafood right off the trawlers for the heartwarming chowder, to the St. Tola Goats Cheese produced by the Garvey family in Inagh just down the road.
This is a part of the world that welcomes creativity and encourages it, and this is evident in the standard and presentation of cuisine on offer. You can spend your while in the gastropub admiring the contemporary art that adorns the wall, illustrating the well of artistic talent that understandably flocks to the region for inspiration, bonhomie and a real sense of nurturing community.
You can see this on the dancing faces of the traditional musicians who perform at The Bloody Craneshill where guests and diners enjoy the finest sounds coming from the magical fiddles and accordeons of local musicians, continuing the excellent tradition that Clare enjoys in this field.
The bar stocks a wide range of premium Irish whiskeys and a selection of craft beers, including O’Hara’s IPA, Connemara Gold from the Independent Brewery in Connemara and of Foxcatcher Red Ale from the local ‘Western Herd Brewery’ in Kilmaley, Co Clare.
And this appreciation of the arts and things local extends to the bedrooms — each room boasts several examples of Irish creativity, to match the views that stretch out across the landscape. At every turn in this hotel, you are reminded of things that are created locally.
All 23 rooms have en suite marble tiled bathrooms with luxury toiletries, new ultimate flotation beds with sumptuous layers of memory foam ensuring a wonderful night’s sleep, making sure you are wellprepared for another day of things to do in this picturesque part of the west.
The contemporary touch is completed with state of the art flatscreen TVs and Nespresso machines in each room, so if the weather is inclement, you have the option of chilling out in comfortable and warm surroundings.
The six rooms on the second floor come with balconies that allow you cast an eye out over Liscannor Bay, to see those waves that proved deadly to the Spanish Armada 450 years ago, at the start of the wonderful marine history of this place.
It was in this village that the engineer John Philip Holland was born in the 19th century — he later went on to develop some of the first submarines uses by the US Navy and the Royal Navy, and there is a visitor centre opened in his memory in the village.
Another note worthy of mention is that Liscannor is often referred to as “the Pope’s own parish,” since an 19th century ruling that prevented Irish bishops from being in charge cross-provinces. This means that Pope Francis is technically the Bishop of Kilfenora, although he never visits, with all of the administrative work carried out by the Bishop of Galway.
Central to the success of the Cliffs of Moher hotel are the dedicated staff who go the extra mile to make sure that guests have a wonderful time in their care. Guests rave about how helpful Ronan, Helen and Sebastien and others are — about how they cannot wait to get back there again.
Breakfast is equally delicious — worth it just for some of the best scones, porridge, berry pancakes and full Irish breakfast you will find anywhere.
There are some great bargains breaks available at the Cliffs of Moher — Every weekend from Nov-Feb (except 27/28th December 27/28, for €99 B and B (room for two ) or €149 Bed, Breakfast, Dinner. You can also book the Saturday and then get optional extra B and B on the Friday for €75/room (two sharing )
You will thank yourself if you treat yourself to a break at the Cliffs of Moher Hotel. Enjoy.
For details see www.cliffsofmoherhotel.com
FIVE REASONS TO STAY AT THE CLIFFS OF MOHER HOTEL
Location — Not possible to get any closer to the Cliffs, and the Burren and Ailwee are just a short drive away.
Food — The menu at The Bloody Craneshill is exceptional and great value.
Staff — You feel cared for the minute you walk through the door.
Music — Traditional Music every Saturday all winter 7.30-10 p.m. with some of Clare’s best musicians.
Art — A stay at this boutique hotel is like visit to a gallery.