Bruff is a mystical Irish town situated in the beautiful Golden Vale & Lough Gur District, and the area around Bruff is quite scenic with buildings up to the early Christian period dotted about as well. The Morning Star river & waterfall meanders through the town & tranquil park.
The town has an excellent Festival committees and enjoys 4 festivals in town and 4 within 3km of the town. Although Bruff is a small country town it has superb restaurants & Irish pubs where you can mingle and converse freely with the hospitable locals.
Good food at Clancys Bar & Steakhouse has a lot to offer. This well-run pub is a great all rounder, so whether it’s breakfast, lunch or evenings meals, good wholesome bar food with generous portions and keen prices are served throughout the day. Last orders is at 7.30 pm and 6 pm on a Sunday. Hanna Chinese takes last orders for sit down meals at 10.30 pm each night. The Little Bird Cafe is a bright friendly local cafe, serving breakfast, light lunches and home baked treats.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy - JFK
JFK - A life-size bronze statue of former US president John F Kennedy was unveiled in the home of his ancestors in Bruff on May 1st 2019. Thomas Fitzgerald was JFK's great grandfather on his mother's side. He was born in Bruff, County Limerick in 1823. He was a farmer and lived in a rural part of the Parish. Although the Fitzgerald farm was affected by the Great famine, Thomas managed to keep the farm going until 1854, when he left Ireland and carried with him a family bible. He settled in Boston, Massachusetts and in 1857 married Rosanna Cox who had arrived in Boston from County Cavan, Ireland.
John Kennedy’s great-grandfather on his fathers side Patrick Kennedy, left Dunganstown, County Wexford during the Great famine and became a cooper in Boston. The Kennedy home in Dunganstown was turned into a museum in 1999. In 1849, he married Bridget Murphy, who was born about 1827 in Owenduff, County Wexford. Nine years later she was a widow with four small children, the youngest of whom, Patrick Joseph Kennedy, would become John F. Kennedy's grandfather the Mayor of Boston (Honey Fitz).
On September 18, 1889, John Francis "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald married Mary Josephine Hannon of Acton, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Michael Hannon and Mary Ann Fitzgerald, both born in Ireland. Their daughter, Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, was born on July 22, 1890 in Boston. She was John F. Kennedy's mother. In all, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy would have nine children, four boys and five girls.
In November 1887, Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy married Mary Augusta Hickey, daughter of James Hickey of Cork, Ireland, and Margaret M. Field, also of Ireland. Their son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, was born on September 6, 1888 in East Boston. He was John F. Kennedy's father.
Over a century later John Fitzgerald Kennedy would lay his hand on that same bible as he took the oath of office while remembering his poor immigrant ancestors. One can only imagine the reaction of the Fitzgerald’s on the way to “the land of the free” had someone predicted the future importances of the same bible.
This Bible is on display in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. A clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court held the large bible as John Fitzgerald Kennedy took his oath of office as 35th President of the United States on January 20, 1961. The Bible is an 1850 edition of the Douay English translation containing a handwritten chronicle of the Fitzgerald family from 1857 and including a record of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on May 29, 1917.
The connection between Bruff and the Family of John Fitzgerald Kennedy has long been established and has appeared in a number of publications. In October 1994, Mrs. Jean Kennedy Smith in her role as United States Ambassador to Ireland visited Bruff and witnessed the various locations that her ancestors emigrated from and read the parish records which authenticate this relationship between Bruff and the Fitzgerald's.
The center also displays pictures of Caroline Kennedy to Bruff on June 21st 2013, and also includes photographs of various members of the Fitzgerald Kennedy Family. The Centre is also home to a hand-painted mural depicting the Fitzgerald family tree, the only one of its type in the world.
A life-size bronze statue of John F Kennedy was unveiled here in May 2019. The bible that is part of the statue is the one his great-grandfather, Thomas Fitzgerald, brought with him when he emigrated from Bruff to Boston in 1852, and it was the same one that was used by JFK when he was inaugurated as US President in January 1961.
The Thomas Fitzgerald Centre
is open from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday from January to September.
Sean Wall Monument
This monument commemorates Sean Wall’s role in the struggle for Irish Independence as well as the role played by members of the East Limerick Brigade of the IRA. Sean Wall, Brigadier, East Limerick Brigade, was born in Ardykeohane, Bruff in 1888. He was killed in tragic circumstances at Anacorty on 6th May 1921.
On October 12th 1952 the President of Ireland Sean T O’Ceallaigh unveiled this memorial to Brigadier Sean Wall and the other Volunteers who fell in the War of Independence 1920 -1921.
The Original Fair Green was rectangular in shape until it was later divided into two triangles. The stone walls are a later addition. Fair Greens were places of trade, sometimes dating back to mediaeval times. They were also used for public entertainments and occasionally for military purposes.
The Community Cafe is a hive of activity and knowledge that provides refreshments and a chance to meet locals for a good chat and free wifi connection.
The Kennedy Rooms has it all, the unique location, the incredible history, the amazing architecture, the political connections, the surrounding area and the people set up an once in a lifetime opportunity to create something unique and special.
It is formally the home of the FCJ Convent School in Bruff. The F.C.J. (Faithful Companions of Jesus) Sisters came to Bruff in 1856, following an invitation from Dean Cussen. The six F.C.J. sisters set up a girls’ primary and secondary school (Ard Scoil Mhuire). Up until its closure in June 2012, over 200 Sisters had worked in the secondary school. The current convent is a very impressive building, with spectacular Architectural and Decorative features and hosts Corporate Events and Weddenigs .
The first non-alcoholic bar in Ireland - The Nuns Room - is situated in The Kenedy Rooms ...a really nice place to meet, chat, sing a few songs, have a nice bite to eat and just relax to unwind the stresses of a busy day. Open every Friday evening from 6pm
To the north of Bruff is Lough Gur, a horseshoe-shaped lake bounded on three sides by hills. Bronze Age objects found in and near the lake have made it the most important Bronze Age site in Ireland. Every major museum in the world has at least one artefact from the lake. In the 1840s and ‘50s, the archaeology of the Lough Gur area was damaged by treasure hunters and as a result, many artefacts were lost. Lough Gur is a haven for swans, ducks, and wildfowl, and has an interesting variety of wild animals. Its visitor centre is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Grange stone circle is also known as Lios na Grainsi (Irish for "stones of the sun"). Grange is Irelands largest stone circle, consisting of 113 stones. Built ca 2100 BC it is over 150 feet in diameter. A post hole found in the very centre of the enclosure indicates that the circle was measured out from the central point and is the reason for its near-perfect shape. It is surrounded by an earthen bank which in places id three to four feet high and makes it look more like a form of henge monument than a conventional stone circle. Aligned with the rising sun on the day of the summer solstice the sun shines directly in the centre of the circle. It is a must-see attraction when visiting Bruff.
Ballygrennan Castle is situated about 1.5 km southeast from Bruff town. It consists of a tower house within bawn walls. Ballygrennan Castle is a large tower-house set within the remains of a bawn. There are remains of a number of later buildings with chimneys. The tower-house has two square bartizans at opposite corners.
There are a number of slit windows as well as mullioned windows, some with transoms. The first-floor room has a good vaulted ceiling. The spiral stairway is blocked at first-floor level and is missing beyond that. The bawn has remains of corner artisans. Castle is not accessible to the public, but it can be viewed from the roadside.
Old Irish Ways:
Old Irish Ways
is a folk heritage museum located near the east Limerick town of Bruff. The museum was started back in 2008, with an idea of preserving the past for future generations. They started off with only a handful of pieces in their collection, but now their collections range into the thousands for all to enjoy. They take great pride in restoring and preserving the memorabilia from our past.
Terra Nova Garden is a dynamic space full of the unexpected. Home to an exotic Thai House with tropical plantings, a magical woodland where pixies, fairies and other elementals live in shady places, sensational seasonal plantings throughout the garden, a Hobbit Tea House based on Bilbo’s Bag End with Fairy trails and Ireland’s Largest Fairy Gift Shop.
Open April, May & June Thursday to Monday, July & August every day and September Saturday & Sunday. Opening Times 11am – 5pm (last entry 4pm)
Kilmallock Medevial town fortified in 1375 with 5 impressive towers hints at the wealth of this once thriving town. Building of note include the Dominican priory established in 1291, John's Castle a 15th centuary peel tower and 16th century stone mansion. A guide can be organised by prior request.
Home to the first President of Ireland Eamon De Valera, the former school house he entered as a young boy now houses an extensive collection of personal belongings alongside recording early 20th century life.
Ballylanders: Griston Bog - the Ballyhoura outdoor class room has raised Boardwalks over the bog to bring children through varied habitats to a range of facilities such as the bird feeding station and bird-hide, insect hotel and pond-dipping facility to give children a real feel for the great outdoors. Wildlife is very accessible and this activity can be accessed by families on day trips to enjoy the beautiful walk ways.