Kilfenora is located in the north west of county Clare Ireland, half an hour drive from Ennis. Kilfenora is the gateway to the Burren region and is a village rich in history and culture. It makes an excellent base for a visit to the Burren, it is also a good base for those on a golfing holiday with courses such as Lahinch and Doonbeg quite close and the rest of Clare's courses within an hours drive.
The Burren Centre in Kilfenora is a co-operative local enterprise and is dedicated to bringing local flora, archaeology, geology and legends to life, it also has a cafe and gift shop. Starting at the Burren Centre is critically acclaimed Heart of the Burren Guided Walking Tours, in one of the most distinctive landscapes in Europe by local expert guide and author, Tony Kirby. The Burren hikes range from gentle strolls to strenuous hill walks, all interspersed with informative and entertaining commentaries on the geology, flora, archaeology, wild life and farming of the region. The Burren Hub is a centre for activities in the Burren. They are the main information provider for adventure activities, tours, accommodation and entertainment in the Burren . The Hub offers solutions for those who wish to be linked to activities and sports such as hiking, expeditions, climbing, mountaineering, canyoning, cycling, mountain biking, canoeing or kayaking, surfing and diving, among others. The Burren Hub is the home of Fr. Ted Tours, and e-whizz electric bike tours and hire. They can also provide information on accommodation, food, beaches and attractions in the area and on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The history of Kilfenora goes back thousands of years. It was the site of an important early monastic settlement; St. Fachtna founded an Abbey here in the sixth century. Kilfenora was among the most important dioceses in Ireland in Medieval times and due to a complicated series of events of ecclesiastical history, the Catholic bishop of Kilfenora is the Pope!
Kilfenora gained the title "City of the Crosses", a reference to the High Crosses within or near the precincts of the cathedral. It is believed that there were seven high crosses here. They are beautifully carved and date to the 9th - 10th century.
As Kilfenora grew around the monastic settlement it became a place where farmers could converge to sell their livestock and crops and enjoy the social contact of a visit to a market town. Fair days were commonplace in Kilfenora up to the 1960's.