If you wander down to the water's edge in loughrea, you should be able to get a view of a Crannog ? Is it a bird ? Is it a plane ? Is it a mythical celtic creature ? Is it a cartoon family ?NO, it's a small island made of sticks.
The Crannogs were ancient dwelling for a family, although some crannogs had several families living on them. There are about 2000 examples in Ireland, mostly in the Midlands and a further 600 in Scotland. They built at least 1,500 years ago by driving oak shafts into the slurpy mud of a small marshy island. It was their defensive qualities that were paramount. Some were connected to the 'mainland' by a causeway that could be easily be removed, but others were only connected by canoe.
Clonfert (yes, i've never heard of the place either) is Ireland's smallest diocese. Must be the sort of place that Father Ted would aspire to.
The Cathedral at Loughrea, although only the size of a reasonably large parish is a little gem.
Begun in 1897, it marries the Celtic revival movement with the arts and crafts movement. This means that unlike most cathedrals that are a mixture of different architectural styles from differing eras.
The interior is thus more important than the somewhat ordinary exterior. The wooden Church furniture have a certain homely quality to them, as you might expect. The stained glass windows are of an exceptionally high standard.
There is a 30 minute audio tour available, which I somehow missed and a small museum (closed when I was there).
Loughrea is a convivial sort of place to visit. It is somewhat of an elongated town, which is now thankfully by-passed by a dual carriageway. At least that means that it's old nickname of 'Grid-lock-rea' will soon be forgotten. The area to the south of the main street leads to the cathedral, other historical buildings and views out over the lake.
The area to the north of the main street contains the old and new abbey. The tree lined walk that runs paralell to the main street is certainly a relaxing place for a wander. It a stunning piece of invention and wit the area is known as 'The walks'.