The name Doolin translates from the Irish Dubh Linn and means Dark Pool. This is also how Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, got its name. The village is located north of the Cliffs of Moher, bordering the spa town of Lisdoonvarna and the southern tip of the Burren.
The layout of Doolin village can be confusing to new vistors, as it is scattered over a 2km stretch and is divided into three distinct clusters (Fisherstreet, Fitz’s Cross and Roadford).
The Aille River runs from the hills of the Burren down past Doolin to meet the sea. There are numerous nearby archaeological sites, many dating to the Iron Age and earlier. The Doolin Cave is home to the Great Stalagtite which is 7.3 metres (23 feet) in length. It is recognised as being the longest stalactite in the Northern hemisphere and fast becoming one of Ireland’s top eco-tourist attractions. There are also many fine examples of Tower Houses in the area, including Doonagore Castle and Ballinalacken Castle.
Irish traditional music
Doolin is famous as the home of traditional Irish music, and you will find lively music sessions in each of Doolin’s four pubs every night – O’Connors, McGanns, McDermotts and Fitz’s. Every February, there is an annual music festival the Russell Memorial Weekend. This was named for some of Doolin’s most revered musicians, the Russell brothers – Micho, Packie and Gussie who all helped to put Doolin’s musical heritage on the world map.
Doolin Pier is located beyond Fisherstreet and this is the departing point for our boat trips to the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher.
Liscannor is a small fishing village north of Lahinch and south of Doolin. The name comes from the Irish Lios Ceannúir – Fort of Connor. It is the closest village to the Cliffs of Moher and well-known for its quaint pubs and great seafood.
The village has given its name to a particular type of very black stone – a variety of flagstone and sandstone which bears the fossil tracks of marine animals that lived millions of years ago. It is split into thick slate-like slabs and used locally for floors, patios, paths, walls and as a roofing material.
In the early 1900’s there was a thriving quarrying industry for this stone in the area employing 500 men in at least nine quarries. Liscannor was one of the busiest of the small ports along the west coast of Ireland with shipments of its stone to London and Liverpool. However, the advent of World War 1 put an end to all the prosperity and when the boats were unable to travel, the mines closed. In the 1960’s a number of mines reopened and are still producing the famous stone today.
John P Holland – Inventor of the Submarine
Liscannor’s most famous son, John Phillip Holland was born in 1841. He emigrated to America, where he went on to invent the world’s first submarine in 1877, quite an achievement for a 36 year old!
St Brigid’s Well
Some 3km north-west of Liscannor on the road to the Cliffs of Moher stands a tall pillar, O’Brien’s Monument, dedicated to Cornelius O’Brien M.P. This was supposedly erected in his honour by his “loyal” tenants in 1853.
Right beside it is the Holy Well of St Brigid. The water is reputed to have healing properties and is much revered locally. Open-air mass is celebrated here on St Brigid’s Day, February 1st.