CLONMACNOISE: We enjoyed our stay at the funky (and cheap) Bastion B&B in Athlone, but found little else to keep us in town. We were there to break our drive back east and to visit the Medieval site of Clonmacnoise (in Irish, "Cluain Mhic Nóis), just to the south. It's a cluster of churches, towers, and other ruins overlooking the river Shannon, with a fine museum and interpretive center. It is said to have been founded by St. Ciarán in 548. This was a center of learning which between the 7th and 12th centuries drew scholars from all over Europe. Most of the ruins date from the 10th-12th centuries. Above, the 65-foot tall O'Rourke's Tower (Irish "O Ruairc"), named after a high king of Connaught. Several Irish high kings were buried here.