Scariff is a small town situated in the heart of East Clare, close to the shores of Lough Derg. County Clare is Ireland’s westernmost county, bounded by the mighty Atlantic on the west and the tranquil waters of Lough Derg on the east. The town itself is nestled among rolling green hills and farmland, in an area of lush natural beauty.
While rural in its setting, Scariff is a short distance from the towns of Ennis, capital of County Clare (22 miles), Limerick (22 miles) and Galway (40 miles) and just 25 miles from the international airport at Shannon. The major cities of Cork and the capital Dublin are also easily accessible.
Home to some 1,000 people scattered in various townlands and hamlets over an area of approx. 12 sq. miles, Scariff also acts as a hub for towns and villages in the surrounding area. The town centre is clustered around the old Market House and Fair Green and hosts a number of busy shops, pubs and restaurants.
The name Scariff (also spelled Scarriff) is derived from the Gaelic “Scairbh”, which means a rocky ford or crossing place. The Scariff River runs through the town and gently winds its way from Scariff Harbour to Lough Derg. The harbour is the site of the Western Regional Office of Waterways Ireland, a North/South implementation body created under the Good Friday Agreement. The harbour boasts a top-class marina facility for pleasure boats, anglers, sailing people and other water recreation enthusiasts. It is also the focus of the annual Scariff Harbour Festival, held over the August bank holiday weekend.
In addition to the festival, many other events of note take place in Scariff during the year. Among these is the week-long East Clare Drama Festival in March/April, which is the longest running drama festival in the country. The Scariff Show in early September attracts a national audience for its show jumping and agricultural classes.
Scariff is home to a diverse community enriched by the many nationalities that have chosen to come and settle in the area. The community spirit is especially apparent in the array of clubs, societies and committees that contribute to its varied social, cultural and sporting life.
County Clare, and East Clare in particular, is one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. Its huge tourism and leisure potential is yet to be fully realised, with a wide array of historical, cultural, scenic and leisure attractions on its doorstep. Outdoor pursuits include boating and fishing on Lough Derg, as well as on the smaller lakes and rivers in the vicinity, while walks on the East Clare Way provide stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Whatever your reasons for coming to Scariff and whether it is for a short visit or a longer stay, you can be assured of a warm welcome.