Golf Trip Final Night - Shannon Airport
Most trans-Atlantic flights depart Shannon Airport between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. meaning that many golf groups elect to spend the final night closer to the airport rather than have to depart before dawn for a drive from Kinsale (2.25 hours) or Killarney (2 hours).
Bunratty, Ennis or Limerick are the top 3 options and each is summarised below. There is a hotel for travellers at Shannon Airport, 5 minutes' walk from the terminal building. Staying at the airport is of course an option but the closest restaurants, bars etc. are 13 km away at Bunratty.
Bunratty Village (13 km)
Bunratty village is the closest accommodation option that also offers restaurants and bars as well as the popular Irish evening and medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle.
Accommodation s range from the 4**** Bunratty Manor Hotel (no elevator) through the 3*** Bunratty Castle Hotel (catering mainly to large bus groups) to the excellent Bunratty Courtyard Guesthouse. Bunratty also offers numerous B&Bs stretching along the minor roads leaving the village.
Fine dining at Gallagher's restaurant with more casual dining in the adjoining pub atmosphere of J.P Clarkes. Durty Nellies lies in the shadow of Bunratty Castle and is a well-known traditional pub that, in modern times, has moved to also being a good restaurant.
Ennis (27 km)
Ennis is an interesting market town notable for its quaint narrow cobbled streets. With a compact town centre nothing is very far away.
There is a choice of two excellent hotels. The Old Ground is a traditional hotel with a bar serving food that is popular with locals. Traditional music is played every night during the summer season. The more contemporary Temple Gate Hotel, also located in the town centre, offers a calmer environment in a converted convent. Preachers restaurant is one of the best in Ennis.
There are many local bars including the Railway Bar, The Diamond and Brogan's on O'Connell Street. The latter is also a popular restaurant and is very popular for traditional Irish music at a reasonable hour. Abbey Street has a selection of 'younger' venues such as Knox's before Cruises Pub that also offers nightly Irish traditional music. Overlooking the bridge just past Ennis Friary is Cloisters Restaurant, a top recommendation for your final night dinner.
Limerick City (26 km)
Limerick is Ireland's 4th largest city and has the advantage (over Ennis) of being south of Shannon Airport thus saving some travel time. Despite some bad press in recent years Limerick city centre has been rejuvenated and offers a variety of accommodations as well as a wide range of restaurants and bars.
The Savoy is a 5***** hotel close to the city centre. The 4**** George Hotel is a boutique hotel in the city centre, slightly further out are either the distinctive Limerick Clarion on Steamboat Quay or The Limerick Strand across the river. The Pier Hotel is a 3*** option.
Perhaps the most interesting area is near the River Shannon heading towards King's Island. City centre restaurants include Freddy's, Azur and The Hook and Ladder but there are many others.