Ancient landscapes, excellent food, UNESCO heritage sites, vibrant towns and villages and a picturesque drive provide a true Irish experience along the Atlantic coast.
A natural wonderland, the Burren - Gaelic ‘Boireann’ meaning 'place of stone' – is a stunning yet wild landscape. Part of the Geopark, this area displays a variety of impressive karst features such as cave systems, dry valleys and sinkholes. Boasting 70% of Ireland’s native flora and over 2700 monuments, it also has the longest cave system in Ireland and the largest stalactite (7.3m) in Europe (Doolin Cave and Visitor Centre). Hike Mullaghmore mountain or follow one of the many trails on foot or bike and be captivated by the beauty around you
Explore the world famous Cliffs of Moher, standing at 241m (702 feet) and stretching for 8km along the Atlantic. Enjoy the views across the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, and Maum Turk mountains in Connemara. Hike the 6km coastal trail to the highest point for spectacular views. Depending on the weather and time of year, you can go bird watching by boat on a Cliff Cruise – over 30,000 pairs of seabirds nest from March to July, including the Atlantic Puffin – or check out the Visitors Centre with its birds-eye view cinema experience. Music is an important feature here and you can regularly catch musicians playing in the open air.
Known for its fabulous music, quaint town, spectacular walks and easy access to the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher (10kms along the coast), Doolin is a friendly and welcoming village year round. Despite its tiny size, there are a host of outstanding hotels and B&Bs to choose from; if you hire a car, this is the perfect base for exploring County Clare.
Inishmore boasts 50+ monuments of Christian, pre Christian and Celtic mythological heritage including the 14 acre ancient fort Dun Aonghasa – this island is also well known to cliff divers, surfers and hikers. Inishmaan is an authentic escape from the busy world, with less than 200 inhabitants and a strong arts culture. Inisheer is the smallest island, with a hill castle and fort, lighthouse and shipwrecks.
Caherconell: Step back in time and visit the Polnabrone Dolmen portal tomb, the oldest megalithic monument in the country and one of Ireland’s most iconic archaeological monuments. Then head to Caherconnell Fort – just 1km away in the heart of the Burren – before experiencing some impressive traditional Caherconnell Sheepdog demonstrations.
Ballyvaughan: An enchanting and picturesque village on the West Atlantic Coast, with a dramatic Burren backdrop, enjoy a host of walking, cycling, rock climbing and water sports, as well as a vibrant art and craft scene. The local and seasonal produce at the farmer’s market will delight any food lover, washed down with a local pint with some live traditional music.
The only one of its kind in Ireland, explore the bridged chasms, weird formations and thunderous waterfall, before taking a hawk walk or watching a birds of prey demonstration. You can also watch cheese being made in the dairy, and try some samples; the tearoom is a great place to relax after all the adventure!
Burren 4 Ticket on the Wild Atlantic Way: This innovative ticket is a pass to four world-class attractions, including Aillwee Cave & Birds of Prey Centre, The Burren Centre, Caherconnell Stone Fort & Sheepdog Demonstrations and the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience. The pass lasts over several days, and it’s recommended that you spend two to three days exploring these attractions – a perfect money saver for all the family.
Three rivers run through this lovely village famous for its spa waters; and no matter what your tastes, there’s plenty to do. Visit the Pump House and twin wells, talk a stroll through the spruce and beech Gragan woodland (Coill na nGragan - 8km north); you might spot a pine marten if you’re lucky. Enjoy live music in the local pubs and for local delicacies, visit the Burren Smokehouse for Smoked Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, and Cheese; there’s free parking and excellent facilities for the disabled – tastings highly recommended!
Close to the airport and the gateway to the county, Shannon is great for golf, river walks, shopping, food and nightlife. Hiring a boat and taking a week-long river cruise is the highlight for many people’s visit.
The 15th century Bunratty Castle, Walled Gardens and Folk Park should be on the top of the list for visitors of all ages. Built in 1425, the castle restored in 1954 to its former medieval glory and now displays original furnishings, tapestries, and works of art from the period. Explore alone or join a guided tour, or for something really special, indulge in a medieval banquet. Held nightly and year round, the banquets are a feast for the senses. The Bunratty Walled Garden at Bunratty Folk Park are modelled on the original Regency period garden, refurbished in typical Victorian style. Admission is all year round from 9:00am- 5.30pm. Also make sure you explore the village, including a stop in famous McNamara’s pub!
Historically important, visit Clare Abbey beside the River Fergus; it was founded in 1189 and the first, largest and most important Augustinian house in the county. A lovely free exhibition telling the story of Clare over a period of 6,000 years via artefacts and audio-visual presentations can be found at Clare Museum. The 13th century Ennis Abbey and Ennis friary are also worth a look, and for some modern arts and theatre, visit Glor; it also houses excellent gallery space. There are also walking tours available around the town.
Easy to reach by hire car from Limerick and Ennis, head to Craggaunowen, Ireland’s original award winning Pre-Historic Park, for a fascinating insight into how the Celts lived in 4th and 5th century Ireland. Visit reconstructed homes and see how early farmers kept animals and protected themselves from enemy clans and invaders. Craggaunowen includes a Ring Fort, woods with goats, soy sheep and wild boar, and the ‘Brendan Boat’ – a leather hulled boat built by Tim Severin who sailed across the Atlantic re-enacting the voyage of St. Brendan. Craggaunowen Castle, on a crag overlooking the lake is lovingly restored to its Medieval glory and offers stunning views of the countryside.. Magical Knappogue Castle and walled garden is also worth a visit; located just outside Quin Village, it’s 15 miles from Shannon Airport.
An area of outstanding natural beauty, from the tip of Loop Head to Ross Beach and Bridge, you can watch whales and dolphins from the coast, as well as nesting sea birds and seals on land. Kilkee is a 19th century town with an Architectural Conservation Area, built around a horseshoe shaped bay and a kilometre of blue flag golden sand. Visit the Duggerna Reef (‘the Pollock Holes’) that shelter the bay and for some rockpool exploration when the tide is out. Kilbaha, the most westerly village on the peninsula, boasts stunning views over Kerry Head and the Brandon Mountains and the River Shannon. A picturesque fishing village, Carrigaholt is at the mouth of the River Moyata, and boasts two working harbours, a pier with local fishing boats and a sandy beach. The waters here are home to the largest group of resident bottle nose dolphns so a boat trip is a must! In Querrin, try the Eco-campsite where you can enjoy a camp fire in native woodland or an outdoor sauna under the stars.
On the river Cullenagh, this colourful village combines natural beauty with old world charm and excellent shopping. Visit the cascades, the Sunday food and craft fair, and the An Gorta Mór memorial that commemorates victims of the famine.
The Burren National Park located in the Burren is an area of extensive rock and wild fauna. The area has extensive coverage of limestone, calcareous grassland, hazel scrub, lakes, and wild fauna. A trip to the Burren National Park offers a view... Continue Reading
Golfing in Clare - Lahinch Golf Club, is a links 18 hole golf course of great quality in Clare, one of Ireland long established Golf Course since around 1892! Due to its location on Clare's stunning coastline it makes for interesting.
Dromoland Castle Golf Course Dromoland Castle Golf Course set on the beautiful grounds of Dromoland Castle in Newmarket on Fergus Co Clare since 1961. This 18 hole parkland Golf Course in Clare is a magnificent setting with the coarse stretching over parkland, and lakes and streams, in this.