Even in a place as magnificent as Ireland, some places just stand out as special. One of the most special for me is the town of Bruff, County Limerick. Just 30 minutes south of Limerick City, Bruff is perfectly situated to serve as your base for touring western Ireland.
I wish I could pin-point exactly what it is that makes Bruff a place we return to again and again- even if just for a day. The town, and its people, draw us back. We know we will always find a charming place to lay our head, friendly faces to help us with anything we need, and plenty nearby to keep us busy.
Tour the West of Ireland from Bruff
The west of Ireland is popular for its dramatic coastlines, restored castles, and ‘traditional Irish’ ways. And Bruff, in the center of the west, is a perfect home base for touring.
Where to stay in Bruff
Bruff has one B&B – The Old Bank. A ‘luxury’ B&B, The Old Bank has beautiful, spacious rooms, a welcoming sitting room, perfect for tea by the fire, and one of the best breakfasts you’ll find anywhere. Your hostess, Miriam, is a wealth of knowledge about the town and the surrounding area and will happily provide recommendations for outings. Read about our stay at The Old Bank
If you travel light, like we tend to, you’ll likely want to have your laundry done during your stay. Real’s Laundrette, just across from the Centra filling station, is the perfect place to handle the job. It’s quick (you can often drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon) and affordable with friendly service. During two of our stays in Bruff we had laundry done here. And though there was nearly a year between them, we were greeted like regular customers when we returned.
Eating in Bruff
You’ll find quite a few dining options in Bruff- including a tasty chipper for quick takeaway. If you’re wanting pub food, Clancy’s Pub is the place to go. You might even find a bit of live music some evenings.
For fancier dining you’ll want to venture down the street to the Old Bakehouse. Though the website calls the meals ‘simple’, we found the taste to be anything but. I would call it ‘simply delicious’.
During our last visit, the girls caught sight of Lantern Chinese Restaurant, just across the street from The Old Bank. Apparently they had tired of Irish food and begged to eat there. The restaurant was doing a brisk take-away, but there was no wait for a table. Not sure what to expect, we were very pleasantly surprised by the friendly owners and the delicious food. Definitely a tasty meal!
Everyone in the family will adore Paddy’s Sweet Shop. A traditional sweet shop, you can choose bits and nibbles from dozens of containers. Don’t miss the bon-bons – we return for them every time we visit!
What to Do Near Bruff
Nearby Lough Gur is one of the most magical places in Ireland. Some of Ireland’s oldest monuments and tombs lie near Lough Gur. As far back as 3000BC, this area has been inhabited by people who left megalithic stone work, great stone circles, early Bronze objects and beaker pottery.
Be sure to follow the fairy trail at Lough Gur- it will lead you to their hidden forest. For more fairy magic, a trip to Terra Nova Gardens is a must. The main garden is a tranquil spot filled with waterfalls and beauty, but the fairy glen will leave you in awe.
The museum Old Irish Ways takes you to a more recently lived past. Filled with bits of Irish life from the 19th and 20th centuries, you’ll see what it was like to live in Ireland from the time of the Great Famine through the mid 1900’s. The replica school room is of great interest to children and everyone will enjoy a bit of craic in Blacky’s Bar, a stunning pub/ shop where you can’t get a pint, but Denis might be persuaded to offer a cuppa and a chat. Don’t rush through here- Denis gathered everything you see personally and can share stories that bring it all to life. (Tip: be sure to call before showing up! If you’re staying at The Old Bank, Miriam can arrange your visit.)
A pleasant few hours can be spent rambling around the Donkey Sanctuary . This donkey rescue offers miles of trails and hundreds of cute, friendly donkeys whose lives have been saved at the sanctuary. This is a great outing with kids, as they simply adore the shaggy, sweet faced creatures. There is no charge to visit the sanctuary, but be sure to stop in the shop and consider adopting a donkey (either real or stuffed).
Bruff lies within the Ballyhoura Region, an area that encompasses the southern part of County Limerick and the northern part of County Cork. It’s an area known for outdoor pursuits like hill walking, mountain biking, horseback riding and orienteering. Be sure to check the ‘Festivals and Events’ page for sporting events, rambling houses, and area festivals. You’ll find there’s always something to do!
Easy day trips from Bruff
Rock of Cashel 31 miles
Cliffs of Moher 63 miles
Consider a Cliffs of Moher Cruise from nearby Doolin
Bunratty Castle 24 miles
Bunratty Castle is a great pairing with the Cliffs of Moher. Visit Bunratty in the afternoon and then enjoy an evening entertainment- either the Medieval Banquet or Traditional Irish Night.
Killarney 68 miles
Add a few more miles and tour either the Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula. Note: leave Bruff early- there is a lot to see and do here!
Adare 19 miles
Often called the ‘prettiest town in Ireland’. I highly recommend making time for tea at Miss Crumpet’s Tea Room at the Creamery Old World Market.
Foynes 36 miles
Pair this village with your trip to Adare and visit the Flying Boat Museum.