Wild bluebells blooming in Kilrush, County Clare

Wild bluebells blooming in Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland.

Wild bluebells blooming in Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland.

Wild bluebells, backlit by the mid-day sun, stake their claim in an ivy-draped alleyway in the County Clare village of Kilrush, Ireland.

You won’t find this lovely setting in major metro areas — I spotted this patch of bluebells basking in the spring sunshine in an old narrow passage between two multistory commercial buildings.

Kilrush was founded in the 16th Century and once was a key shipping port for the western part of the country. With a population of about 2,700, it’s located on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast near the mouth of the River Shannon.

The waterfront now sports a very nice little marina, and the former mill building, which processed grain from arriving ships, now has been re-purposed as an office building.

Once bearing a ‘wild west’ reputation as the preferred holiday destination for Irish gangsters, the town now is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as a very pleasant alternative to the county’s larger commercial centers with lots of unique Irish shops and some great restaurants including my favorite — Kelly’s Bar and Seafood.

Last year, Kilrush won the title of Ireland’s “Tidiest Small Town” in the annual nationwide “Tidy Towns” competition. The country’s towns and villages compete for prizes through  massive volunteer efforts in planting flowers and general sprucing up.

The winners in a range of categories based on the size of the community receive a great deal of well-deserved recognition, especially in the tourism department.

To see what the volunteers in Kilrush and other towns do each year is a real treat for visitors to Ireland!

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