Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

Tops! Ennis Town & Rowan Tree Hostel and Cafe Bar

Ennis, Ireland cheerful shopfronts

Even on a wet grey November day, Ennis is cheerful outside and in!

Ennis deserves its accolade as Ireland’s friendliest town.

I spent 3 days based in Ennis at the Rowan Tree hostel, & was curious to see if the hype was true.

I may have been a bit cynical about Ennis’ title- but any cynicism soon vanished. People called out greetings to each other on the street. I was cheerily greeted in shops. I had a lovely chat with the manager of the Clare Museum (which will feature in my Museum Isle column of spring’s Isle Magazine,) and the folks at Rowan Tree hostel & Cafe Bar were lovely as well.

Rowan Tree Hostel, Ennis, Ireland. Room and view

The view from the balcony of one of the family rooms, Rowan Tree Hostel, Ennis

Rowan Tree is one of those wonderful hostels where things are run with care & pride; there are amenities like free wi-fi, bike & surfboard storage, self-service laundry, elevator, fully equipped kitchen use, and free light breakfast. I found everything to be scrupulously clean.

The hostel is next to Rowan Tree Cafe Bar, and I ended up eating here 2 nights as I so enjoyed the first. The dining room shows off the wonderful features of the Georgian house- large sash windows, high ceilings and an airy feel– but cozy by the fireplace. I popped in for an elevenses coffee and found it hard to pull myself away from my table by the fire. Ok, well.. it might have been eating so many of their fresh pastries that was weighting me down!

My Tips for Rowan Tree Cafe:

  • They’ve a nice selection of wines; I loved the  Mount Vernon Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc- available by the glass.
  • The Early Bird/Set menus are good value for good food; 2 courses €16.95, 3 courses €19.95. On Sunday to Thursday the offer is on all night; 5-10 pm, whilst on Friday & Saturday it is is on from 5-7 pm.
  • The Seafood Tagliatelle was very good, but isn’t on the Early Bird/Set menu. Worth a splurge if you’d like!
  • There is also a child’s menu with mains under € 5.
Rowan tree cafe, ennis, ireland

Lovely morning light comes in through the riverside windows at Rowan tree Cafe, Ennis

Ennis is an excellent base for exploring both the city of Limerick and enjoying the wildness of the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, and beyond. (While I was there I went to Doolin Cave, home to the largest stalactite you’ll ever see. What a ‘wild’ cave! I recommend it.) You can get your fill of bustling city vibe or soak up the great spaces of sea, rock, and hills and then return to the welcoming cheer of Ennis town. That combination is exactly what I did on my trip. I will definitely return!

There’s more to explore of Ennis, and they’ve some brilliant festivals; Trad Music, Book Fest, Street Fest, Food. I will certainly stay again at Rowan Tree Hostel- it is a budget traveler’s gem.


My Rowan Tree Hostel Tips

  • Rowan Tree is only 20 minutes from Shannon Airport. If you’re renting a car, but are nervous about driving on the left, picking somewhere easier to drive to on your first day is an excellent way to ‘ease in.’ It certainly is less nerve racking than trying to negotiate Dublin or Limerick for 1st timers.
  • There isn’t any on-site parking, but there are (pay-for) car parks nearby.
  • To make your money go even further, do take advantage of the free breakfast of cereal/toast/juice/coffee/tea which is on everyday until 9.30 am. You can also cook your own food in the large, clean kitchen.
  • Rooms start from €30, hostel dorm beds from €15. There are also family rooms- all very good prices. Like many hostels (all to my dismay,) female-only hostel beds cost a few euros more.
  • The beds are quite firm. I stayed in the 6 person family room (1 double bed & two bunks,) and they were all firm. Also, I found Rowan Tree to be very quiet, but I always recommend earplugs when you stay somewhere- hotel, b&b or hostel. Better to have & not need that need & not have! I swear by the soft silicon ones that you kind of mould for your ear.
  • The people working at Rowan Tree are friendly & helpful. Do ask them for any suggestions on what to see, do, eat and so on. Enjoy your stay 🙂

These photos are all from my Instagram account. Each Thursday, the hashtag #IGtravelthursday shows photos from peoples’ travels all around the world- local travels and far flung. Use the hashtag & join in! If you are a blogger, you can also join in with a blog featuring one of your trips/visits and your Instagram photos from it. Read the ins & outs of that here on SkimbacoLifestyle.
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I was a guest of Rowan Tree Hostel, and had a gift certificate for 1 free meal in the Cafe. Be assured being a guest doesn’t affect the honesty of my writing. I liked the hostel & the cafe; in fact enjoyed them so much, I went back for another dinner myself, and added a 3rd day to my stay.


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While I’ve been to Ireland briefly, and am dying to go again, Ennis has never been on my must-do list! However, your Instagrams have me re-thinking this 🙂 thanks for sharing!

Thanks Amy! Do check out some of the fab festivals in Ennis, too. One may be on during your trip!

Looks like an awesome hostel! I wouldn’t mind staying there myself. 🙂

Yep, Cheryl- definitely worth staying in- or going for a meal even if you aren’t overnighting in Ennis. And the Book Club Fest is so interesting- I’m keeping my calendar open next year!

Hi Susan, Thanks a million for the great review, It’s great to have some fantastic competition from Kilkenny not just in the hurling !! As an extra incentive to all your readers and potential Ennis newbiees we would be delighted to offer a 10% discount for all bookings until the end of April to anyone quoting VibrantIreland Offer and booking directly with ourselves :)) There are a couple of great festivals coming up such as Ennis Book Club Festival and Fleadh Nua. A great website with uptodate info is

That’s so cool, Brian! Thank you SO much for that fab offer for readers 🙂 I’ll start spreading the word!

Ennis looks really lovely in your photos – not to talk about the all those delectable treats. I am looking forward to my visit to Ireland this summer: all these tips I have in store already…

Oh yes, Reeta, Ireland is *full* of treats 😀

really interesting, warm Greetings from Nepal Himalayas

Hi Kedar, you’re a long way away- in a beautiful spot too! Glad you enjoyed- hope you may visit Ireland sometime 🙂

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