It seems to happen almost overnight! One day Ennis is a quiet town in winter, going about its business – the next, posters go up, people are on the streets and the pretty, winding... more>
It seems to happen almost overnight! One day Ennis is a quiet town in winter, going about its business – the next, posters go up, people are on the streets and the pretty, winding streets take on a new splash of colour and life! Festival season has come to town! Just as the first daffodil marks the arrival of early Spring, so the Ennis Book Club Festival heralds the beginning of a string of fabulous celebrations and special interest festivities that continues right through summer – and truly promises something for everyone. Whatever your passion and however you choose to explore this fascinating little part of the world – you’ll find it embraced in fine form, here in colourful, creative, musical, fashionable Ennis! And enjoying a stay at Rowan Tree Hostel gives you a comfortable, quality and sociable gateway to it all!
Each year The Ennis Book Club Festival, held in early March, seems to burn bigger and brighter – a fabulous mix of readings, discussions, comedy and fun focused on all things books! And of course, plenty of big name authors sharing their thoughts and work. This year’s chapter of the festival was no different. As usual, lots of guests checked in to the Rowan Tree Hostel, while our sister restaurant, Rowan Tree Café Bar, hosted its legendary ‘Books and Buns’ Morning. Another highlight at the café was a Festival Club evening – a sociable event where guests mingled with authors and enjoyed the typical great local food for which the Café Bar is famous – from St Tola’s Goat’s Cheese to traditionally cured fine meats.
Coinciding with the Festival is the West Clare Drama Festival in Doonbeg – where three act plays by Irish and international writers are performed and compete for nomination to the All-Ireland Finals. There’s no better way to sample the culture and Ireland’s passion for story-telling – and it’s just a short drive out of Ennis.
The next stop for the ‘festival bus’ is St Patrick’s Day – and Ennis is all about the craic! Each year there’s a fabulous parade through the town, showcasing the very best of local clubs, culture, interests and groups – from Irish dancing to hurling. The whole town is a party!
And talking of tradition, you’ll be stuck for choice when looking to sample something ‘typically Irish’. Take the Annual National Concertina Convention for example – a salute to the instrument’s special place in the local music landscape. There are concerts, performances, workshops and socials – and a chance to just enjoy this essentially Irish passion… all within walking distance of our hostel.
Ennis (and surrounding villages) is also known for its colourful character and quirky appreciation of life – which really comes alive in festivals such as the Irish Best Beard and Moustache Championships in Corofin… and of course the world famous Father Ted Festival that honours Ireland’s favourite off-beat priest!
If you’re a lover of nature and gardening, you’ll get your own dose of festival fever – with the headline act being the Clare Garden Festival: a truly impressive show of show gardens, garden and food stalls, competitions and expert demos. It’s a must – and a great family day out. Then there’s the Burren in Bloom Festival – a series of talks and guided walks celebrating the May blooming of the unique and diverse range of flowers in the Burren.
If we tell you that this is all before summer even kicks off, you’ll see why Ennis is a festival fan’s paradise – and Rowan Tree Hostel is the best way to enjoy it all. We’re all about the spirit – the sharing of experiences and festival friendliness. And whatever type of room you’re looking for – from single rooms to 14-sleeper dorms - we welcome you! We’d love to see you festival with us soon! <less
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE!
Your holiday starts NOW Let’s face it – February isn’t the best friend of many! The festive season is already a distant memory but it’s too soon to feel Spring in... more>
Your holiday starts NOW Let’s face it – February isn’t the best friend of many! The festive season is already a distant memory but it’s too soon to feel Spring in your step. Dark mornings and the kind of weather that’s not for sissies can challenge even the most ‘glass is half full’ kind of people! But there’s one pretty amazing thing about this time of the year that should not be underestimated: it’s the perfect time to start planning your summer holiday! Early-booking discounts and great specials reward those who think ahead – and you should think no further than County Clare, Ireland. After a long, hard winter, what could be sweeter than an authentic Irish experience in this truly amazing part of the world – with Rowan Tree Hostel as your convenient, quality and welcoming base?
Do the Group Thing If you’re thinking group holiday – Rowan Tree is the perfect choice and is perfectly suited to small and large-groups alike. From literary folk to musicians and sports enthusiasts – we open our doors and our hearts to special interest tours from all over the world. Music brings many holiday makers to this part of the world where you’ll find everything from formal traditional music festivals to lively, spontaneous live trad sessions in most of the pubs. This year, Ennis is once again playing host to the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann - the world’s biggest Irish music festival – and the town is going to rock!
If you’re more interested in getting out there and seeing the sights, your group will find its happy place here too! Just a half hour drive from Ennis, the Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland’s premier sight-seeing destinations – and a wide range of groups, from birders and photographers to walkers and geologists find their passion at this natural wonder. Views of forever, animal and bird life second to none and magical boat trips across to the Aran Islands are all part of the experience – and a stay at Rowan Tree is sure to top off the treat. Sports enthusiasts are taken care of too – with Lees Road Sports and Amenity Park just minutes away from us, as well as the nearby Ballyalla Lake which offers everything from kayaking to canoeing and paddle-boarding.
Me Time If going solo on your travels is your thing, you’ll find Ennis to be a safe, friendly and open town, where you’ll feel quite comfortable dining or strolling around alone. Single travellers love the relaxed and secure feel of our hostel – while we offer lots of great extras such as Power Yoga sessions. Headed up by yoga teacher Sarah Downes, these are a great way to stay chilled and centred on your travels. Just be sure to book in advance.
We are Family For a family holiday, it really is hard to beat Rowan Tree because we offer fun and relaxed hostel accommodation of the highest standards – with a range of room options and package specials to suit. Ennis is great for little people, with lots going on and plenty of kiddie-friendly restaurants (not forgetting our sister eatery next door, Rowan Tree Café Bar). And one thing’s for sure – you’ll never be stuck for things to do! Great family days out that are just a hop away include the famous Aillwee Caves as well as Bunratty Castle and Folk Park - a beautiful 15th century furnished castle with a living rural village that kids love! And when you’re ready for some sea and sun, you’ve got a string of beautiful Blue Flag beaches nearby – from Lahinch to Kilkee.
Whatever type of holiday you’re into – Ennis and Rowan Tree Hostel make a formidable team and we’d love to welcome you here. So leave the winter blues behind for a moment and contact us now to discuss a stay with us! After that, we think February will seem a whole lot easier! Here’s to great summer planning!
There are hostels… then there’s Rowan Tree! Testament to our absolute quality accommodation, we have just received a great accolade from Trivago: they include us in their ‘Top 10 Best Value for Money Accommodation in Ireland’ listing. Our superior rooms, option of kingsize beds, couple and family rooms and great touches like Egyptian cotton sheets and balconies in many of the rooms, truly set us apart. <less
Farmer, activist, writer and thinker, Wendell Berry said “If you don't know where you're from, you'll have a hard time saying where you're going.” At Rowan Tree Hostel, we’re lucky... more>
Farmer, activist, writer and thinker, Wendell Berry said “If you don't know where you're from, you'll have a hard time saying where you're going.” At Rowan Tree Hostel, we’re lucky enough to meet backpackers and adventurers who totally get this way of thinking: a sense of ‘knowing’, and just being comfortable with who they are and where they’re headed in life. And it’s a concept that rings true for us hostel team members too! We’ve come a long way in the past year, and its learning from all the great things that have happened that is helping us shape an even bigger and better 2017!
Then… Without a doubt, globally, this year has been an interesting one! This time last year who knew what would lie ahead? And just as we’re sure you’re doing, we at Rowan Tree Hostel are using the last bit of 2016 to reflect on what we’ve achieved in the past months. It’s been a year full of new meetings and happy greetings, visitors new and old, new successes and goals reached. 2016 saw our town playing host to the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann – and we’re ready to do it all again next year! (Have you booked with us yet?) We’re also really excited that more and more people are starting to discover that for touring in the West of Ireland, all roads lead to Ennis – making it the ideal central base for exploring the region. We’ve had festival after festival, Trad Week and more – and Rowan Tree Hostel has been at the centre of it all, offering accommodation of the highest quality standard at true value-for-money rates.
Now… Right now, we’re topping off a great year with an exciting new addition to our hostel line-up: We have partnered with the dynamic yoga teacher, Sarah Downes of Power Yoga – who is now offering fun and energetic Vinyasa ‘Flow’ style yoga from a comfortable and relaxing studio at the Hostel. Sarah is a backpacker herself, so she knows the importance of feeling grounded when you’re on the move – and her classes are the perfect way to really make sure you relax and chill-out on your travels. A quick tip! Her classes are very popular – so to make sure you don’t lose out, just call us in advance of your visit and we’ll make you a booking.
On that note, now is also a good time to start thinking about your accommodation booking for next year – especially if you are travelling as a group. We’re already getting lots of group enquiries for throughout 2017, so to make sure you can secure the dates you want, just send us an email or call us. Soon…
To add even more value to your time with us, we’re busy looking at introducing a range of exciting, fun and entertaining facilities and activities at Rowan Tree Hostel – the kind of thing you might want to experience during your time in Ireland. It could be a foodie class to learn how to bake traditional Irish bread… perhaps an Irish movie and pizza evening! We’re looking at developing a programme with something different on each day of the week and we’ll be letting you know details very soon!
So for the year that was and all the lies ahead – we thank you for your support and wish you everything of the very best for the festive season and new year. We look forward to welcoming you at the Hostel soon! <less
COME ON IN: TRAD IN SESSION
The story goes that the legendary Louis Armstrong once said “If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.” With its stories of the past, ever-changing variations of song and... more>
The story goes that the legendary Louis Armstrong once said “If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.” With its stories of the past, ever-changing variations of song and subtleties of style – perhaps the same could be said of Irish traditional music. Like the river that winds its way past the hostel, traditional music is part of Rowan Tree’s DNA. And as the Ennis Trad Festival heads our way for its 2016 chapter, we’re thrilled to, once again, be opening our doors to music lovers from around the globe, who come to experience the mighty craic.
County Clare is recognised worldwide as a hub of Irish music – and the hostel is literally at the centre of it all. Every year we play host to people from far and wide and have truly become accommodation of choice during ‘Trad week’ – which this year takes place on the 10th to 14 November. Perhaps it’s the relaxed, easy and sociable atmosphere of the hostel – or the fact that at any given time you’ll hear music ringing out in the rooms and corridors of Rowan Tree. We ‘get’ musicians – and they ‘get’ us. It could also be the fact that we offer hostel accommodation of the highest quality standard - but at real value-for-money rates: an affordable way to get to experience the Festival at its best.
And of course, the real beauty is – everything is just a short stroll away, saving you so much money and time on transport costs. The Trad festival provides over 100 free events at more than 20 venues right here in Ennis - from CD launches to an organised session trail… from free concerts to Masterclasses in every traditional instrument, from fiddle to accordion. At Rowan Tree Hostel, you really have got it all on your doorstep.
This year we’re thrilled to be welcoming back the incredible sound of Lúnasa. Named after the ancient harvest festival of Lughnasadh, this awesome Celtic outfit tours for most of the year, performing in America, Europe and Asia. We’re just thrilled that they always make sure Ennis has a priority tour date.
There are lots of other fabulous highlights at the Festival this year, too – not least of which is the Music Gen Express – a mobile recording studio in a renovated double decker bus, giving musicians the chance to enjoy a 20 or 30 minute slot to record and then produce their own CD. Another hot favourite is Céilí with The Five Counties Céilí Band, plus there’s trad for teens and even a trad disco.
The good news is - we’ve still got a few vacancies for this year’s festival – so get in touch NOW. OR book your accommodation early for your trip next year.
IT’S A GROUP THING! Of course there are plenty more reasons to head our way too! If you’re planning a group holiday to Ireland, we really do tick all the boxes - combining the spirit of discovery with a great quality place to stay. The best way for you to do it is to let us tailor a holiday plan for you, with the different options available. You can taste local food at its absolute best by enjoying meals – lunch, dinner and brunch - at our sister-eatery, Rowan Tree Café Bar . A local restaurant serving local food prepared by a local chef and served to great local folk! We’ll even make you up a packed lunch for your travels.
We look forward to sharing the sound of Ennis with you very soon!
PS Coming for Christmas or for a Christmas party in Ennis? We’d love to have you to stay! We’ll even give you a special discount! Book directly by email or phone quoting ‘Christmas 16’ and enjoy a 10% SAVING! And check out the Rowan Tree Café Bar Christmas menus here. <less
Be an Ennis Day Tripper
Think September and it instantly comes to mind: the return of traffic! For those with kids, September means back to the routine, packed lunches and bad mood mornings! But if you don’t have... more>
Think September and it instantly comes to mind: the return of traffic! For those with kids, September means back to the routine, packed lunches and bad mood mornings! But if you don’t have kids, or you do but they’re still very little, September has a very special meaning: THE FREEDOM TO TAKE A VACATION OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL HOLIDAYS! No crowds. No queues. Just the utter bliss of taking off, out of season, and discovering the very best that Clare, Ireland has to offer – with the Rowan Tree Hostel as your convenient and quality base. So if you’re planning an escape at this great time of the year, here are some thought-starters...
Couples and families with small kids love Rowan Tree because it’s fun and relaxed hostel accommodation that’s also of the highest quality standards. We have a range of room options and package specials to suit – and by coming out of season you’ll enjoy even greater value for money. Just take a look at our September Couples Break for example – as well as great deals for solo travellers and mid-week guests.
And of course, so many of our guests choose Rowan Tree Hostel because we offer an easy way to enjoy the kind of holiday where you stay in one place while enjoying ‘day trips’ at local points of interest. Centrally located on the main route between Limerick and Galway, Ennis gives you all the charm, character and colour that our beautiful little market town has to offer – with unlimited sight-seeing excursions right on hand.
Whether it’s culture, history or spectacular views you’re after, you’re just a short drive away. And from the great outdoors to action sports and wildlife – you’ll discover something new every day.
Staying at Rowan Tree, you’re just 20 minutes from Shannon International Airport, a 15 minute walk to the local bus and train station and on the doorstep of some of the best spots in Ireland:
For the great, open outdoors - experience the sheer wonder of The Cliffs of Moher, just 43 minutes away. 214 Metres in height and stretching for 8km, the Cliffs offer a wealth of nature, incredible walking opportunities and views of forever.
Or take a beautiful 23 minute drive from Ennis to The Burren – the dramatic Karst landscape that is 350 million years old with over 90 megalithic tombs.
For a taste of authentic, traditional Irish music take a short drive to the picturesque village of Doolin – with live sessions in many of the pub. From here, you can also take a ferry to one of the beautiful Aran Islands.
For the more active, East Clare, just 40 minutes away, offers scenic walking tours across wild and remote countryside. Mountshannon is your go-to place for all things fishing – and Lough Derg offers premium water sports.
And for something a little different – Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is just 20 minutes from Ennis – a beautiful 15th century furnished castle with a living rural village. (Don’t forget to ask about their fun Medieval Banquets too!)
Of course another great Rowan Tree attraction has to be our Cafe Bar – Rowan Tree Cafe Bar, which is right next door to the hostel, offering colourful, relaxed and delicious dining. The restaurant has just been made a ‘Best Places to Eat in Clare’ finalist, in the FBD Clare Business Excellence Awards 2016.
FOR THE DIARY - 21 September 2016 is the International Day of Peace and we’ll be celebrating in a special way. - 10 – 14 November is the Ennis Traditional Music Festival – we’re taking bookings and getting busy, so book soon. - Look out for our new website, coming your way in the next month. <less
Feel free to Fleadh in Ennis
After months of practice, playing and perseverance, how does an Irish musician make sure that all-important performance at this year’s Fleadh is the best ever? A few melodic moments that... more>
After months of practice, playing and perseverance, how does an Irish musician make sure that all-important performance at this year’s Fleadh is the best ever? A few melodic moments that must combine all the elements of great Irish music: masterful skill, a simple melody with some complex turns plus the freedom to improvise.
It’s a lot to showcase in very little time – a bit like us trying to round up all the reasons why together, Rowan Tree and the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann promise you the best festival experience ever!
By now you’ll know that ‘The Fleadh’ is the world’s biggest Irish music festival – where amateur musicians gather to celebrate in song, music and dance and compete for the title of All-Ireland champion. It’s been held twice before in Ennis - in 1956 and 1977 – and this year it’s set to exceed all expectations.
What you perhaps don’t know is that Rowan Tree and Fleadh musicians go together like the tin whistle and step dancing. This year we’ll be hosting many of the visiting, competing musicians, who enjoy our hostel as a relaxed, friendly and creative place to stay.
One such group is from the St Louis Irish Arts School – a really dynamic bunch of musicians who promote Irish music in Missouri, USA. Starting as a small business run out of its founder’s home, the school has grown to become one of the most successful Irish music and dance schools in America, with 36 branches across the country. The school takes part in performances in St Louis, neighbouring cities and overseas – and several past pupils have gone on to enjoy very successful music careers.
This year, 83 people from the Centre are taking part in the Fleadh and will be our guests at Rowan Tree - including parents, competitors and students. 20 Students will be competing in solo competitions in fiddle, bodhrán, accordion, harp, concertina, uilleann pipes, harmonica and singing. 45 Students will be attending the Scoil Éigse and 40 competitors will be involved in two grúpa cheoil.
Like many musicians who check in with us, the students love the energy, warmth and excellent standards of Rowan Tree – and we’re so excited to have them with us. Our guests have also chosen us for The Fleadh because of our great location in the heart of Ennis town. Once you’re here - everything Fleadh is within easy walking distance. It’s like being on ‘Fleadh campus’! You’re close to all the great Ennis pubs, local historic points, shops and restaurants – while our very own Rowan Tree Cafe Bar is right here.
Then there’s the history. The Fleadh is all about celebrating our Irish heritage – and musicians love the fact that this resonates at Rowan Tree Hostel. Our building, once a grand 18th century gentleman’s club, dates back to 1740 and there’s a great sense of days gone by everywhere you look. It’s a place with a story – and our musician guests are only too happy to be a part of writing the next chapter.
We’re really Fleadh friendly folk too who speak your language! Our team at Rowan Tree is a sociable lot that loves people and sharing experiences – and will make sure you feel completely at ease. The difference is we ‘get’ the Fleadh spirit – and we want to share it.
On a practical note, we’re able to offer a range of accommodation. Whether you’re a family coming to the Fleadh, a musical group, a couple on an adventure or you’re travelling alone – we have double, twin and multi-bed rooms (many with en suite bathrooms) and our dorms, which sleep up to 14, are perfect for larger groups such as sports teams and choirs.
We’re all ready to make some exciting stuff happen this Fleadh – are you? We look forward to welcoming you to Rowan Tree and here’s to a fabulous Fleadh for us all!
The Fleadh in a nutshell - 400 000 visitors to Ennis - Up to 6 000 competitors - 180 music, song and dance competitions - 2 Special domes to house events - Scoil Éigse with workshops, lectures and sessions - Talks, seminars and historical tours - Street parade and performances - Fun children’s camp - Films - Markets - Pub Sessions - Fleadh 5 Mile Race - A whole lot of fun <less