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Two Days in Clare



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The soul stirring views along its weather-hewn coast are reason enough to visit Clare.

With pretty villages, endless cliff walks, legendary surfing, mystical caves and more than a fair share of world-class attractions, it’s the county with something for everyone — and the perfect escape for anyone planning a long-awaited short break.

 
  • McDermott's Pub, Doolin
  • Admiring the Cliffs of Moher
  • Flowers of the Burren
 

Ennis to the Sea

The historic market town of Ennis, with its winding medieval streets, is known as the friendliest town in Ireland, so it’s a good place to start your visit to Clare. Dating back to the 11th century, the quaint town is the capital of the county and is bursting with character. Find your bearings on one of its four Heritage Trails, which take you on a treasure hunt around the best bits.
 
From Ennis you can travel on a circular touring route, exploring the Burren, before joining the coast to travel south all the way to the magical Loop Head and back.

The Burren

We’ve all heard of the Burren and its world-renowned lunar landscape, but not everyone has been — and you really need to experience this special place for yourself. It’s a region of incredible significance for its unique plant life and megalithic tombs, which are older than Egypt’s pyramids. Start your visit at the Burren Centre in the historic village of Kilfenora before travelling to the Burren National Park to explore one of its five marked walking trails.  

Aerial view of the Burren landscape

Burren Perfumery

It’s just a short drive to the village of Carron where you can pop into the Burren Perfumery to discover handmade scents inspired by the landscape. And you’re also not too far from the house of Ireland’s most famous (fictional) priest in Killinaboy. 
 
While you’re in the area you shouldn’t miss the lively town of Ballyvaughan, the unofficial capital of The Burren. Here you’ll find the starting point of The Burren Way, a magnificent 123 kilometre signposted route which takes in the Cliffs of Moher.
 
The drive between Ballyvaughan and Fanore Beach is epic — and if you’re feeling energetic when you arrive, go for a sea swim or hike the Caher Valley Loop from the trailhead at the beach. Surfing is a major draw all along the Clare coast and Fanore is as good a place as any to sign up for lessons.

Doolin

On the road to Doolin you might like to stop at Sheedy’s in Lisdoonvarna, where the locally sourced menu is nearly as famous as the town's reputation for matchmaking!
 
Doolin is just a ten minute spin down the road and is a great base to discover the area by bike, with four great circular routes as part of the Doolin Cycle Hub. Hire a bike from Doolin Rent a Bike and test your legs while taking in the views.

The Doolin Cave and Visitor Centre may not be as well-known as Clare’s famous Ailwee Caves, but you should visit just to marvel at the 7.3 metre great stalactite formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years ago.
 
Afterwards you can feast on good food in McDermott’s traditional Irish pub where you might catch an impromptu music session – and there’ll always be plenty more jamming in the nearby pubs.

The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk

Many of us remember the incredible Cliffs of Moher, but haven’t been back since that trip in primary school. Take a cruise to the Cliffs of Moher from Doolin Pier, or go for a short walk from the Visitor Centre to see the jaw-dropping beauty of this natural wonder up close.
 
This area is a great place for walkers of all levels to spend a few days, with well-marked routes like The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk stretching 20km from Doolin to Liscannor. The 5km Cliff Walk to Hag’s Head is good for beginners or you can hike the 8km from Fisher Street in Doolin to the cliffs.

Sweeping view of the Cliffs of Moher on a sunny day

Kilkee

If you take the road from Doolin south along the coast, you’ll pass through pretty villages until you reach the seaside town of Kilkee. Known for its Blue Flag Beach and the spectacular Kilkee Cliff Walk, it’s well worth taking two to three hours to complete this breathtaking circular route. Follow the trail from Kilkee along The Pollock Holes — natural swimming pools — and past many more natural wonders. It’s a top spot for dolphin watching too so keep an eye out to the sea as you go.
 
But if you don’t happen to spot a bottlenose pal in on your walk you can take an unforgettable trip on the Dolphinwatch from nearby Carrigaholt to visit the Shannon Estuary’s famous residents.

Loop Head

The views at Loop Head are literally cinematic — ‘Star Wars The Last Jedi’ was filmed here. Fans can spot the locations on The Loop Head Heritage Trail, which you can access on foot, bike or car. Take in the Bridges of Ross, a natural sea arch, and uncover all the amazing scenery on the hike up to Loop Head Lighthouse (though the lighthouse itself is not currently open for visitors).

Sea pinks at Loop Head

Scattery Island

There’s plenty more scenic gems and unexplored places in Clare and the uninhabited Scattery Island, or Inis Cathaig as Gaeilge, just off the coast in Kilrush, is one of them. Bursting with historic sites — there are five churches, a cathedral, a round tower, a Napoleonic battery and a working lighthouse — the island is a haven for wildlife too. Take the guided walking tour to delve into the island’s history and enjoy a picnic or a swim. The trip across to the island is an experience in itself!  

Once you’re back on the mainland, travel back to Ennis or linger a little longer around Limerick and beyond.

If You Have Still Have Time in CLARE...

Continue your trip by crossing the Shannon on the Tarbert Ferry in Killimer to join part of The Shannon Estuary Way back to Limerick. The full loop is a 207km touring route taking in some highlights in Clare and parts of Kerry so keep that in mind for another day.

Wherever you plan to explore in Clare, be sure to contact individual attractions and businesses to confirm they're welcoming visitors again. Because our changed world means a new focus on public protection, social distancing and safe travel measures will be essential everywhere — as explained in the new nationwide COVID-19 Safety Charter.

After you make your escape in Clare, it's time to start thinking about what you'll explore next on the Wild Atlantic Way. Want to go further afield? Find out more about how to make a break for other regions of our amazing island...

 

IRELAND HAS NEVER FELT BIGGER

It's finally time to pack your bags and make your escape


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