County Clare

The Cliffs of Moher are just the beginning. Clare is one of the island’s great coastal counties – but don’t forget the other shoreline, that of Lough Derg in the east of the county

The Burren, County Clare

Surf’s up in Clare, that’s for sure. Ever since the sport first exploded onto the Irish scene a decade ago, Lahinch has been the spiritual (and commercial) hub of surfing in Ireland. Venture south and you have the brown sugar sands at Spanish Point. Head north, and there’s the terracotta fringe of Fanore. Now all you need to do is get wet.

Lahinch, County Clare

But it’s not just surfers who enjoy the west Clare coastline.

Greg Norman designed a famous links golf course here. Boats from Doolin carry visitors to the Aran Islands offshore. In the pubs of Miltown Malbay, traditional music sessions wind up at precisely 11.30pm (or not). Steven Spielberg is among the visitors to have chilled out in Ballyvaughan, and the angling is amazing off Black Head.

“And some time make the time to drive out west,” as poet Seamus Heaney wrote, singling out Clare’s Flaggy Shore. Do that – and keep going, all the way to the Loop Head lighthouse.

Think a friend might enjoy this article? Click to save and share

A rock and a hard place

Mention the word “Burren” and a barren limestone landscape springs to mind. Scratch that – a barren moonscape springs to mind. But this National Park isn’t as lifeless as you may think. Come April and May, the Burren blossoms into a unique rock garden, with millions of wildflowers bursting up through the clints (pavement-like stones) and grykes (the cracks dividing them). 

It’s an extraordinary sight, even more so when you consider the ancient seeds were borne from Alpine, Arctic and Mediterranean climates. There’s a surprising amount to do in the Burren, too. Every May, the Burren in Bloom Festival celebrates the surrounding blossoms, shedding a light on the National Park’s formation. And even your gifts are sorted as the Burren is home to its very own perfumery.

Eastern time

While you’re in this great western wilderness, don’t forget to look east. As well as the Atlantic Ocean, Clare borders Lough Derg and the River Shannon, where leafy villages like Mountshannon and Killaloe make a sweet stopover.

A 10-minute boat trip from Mountshannon brings you to Iniscealtra (Holy Island), where St Colum MacCremthainn established a monastic community in the 6th century.

Other surprises? There’s Ennis, with its boutique shops. There’s Loop Head, winner of a European Destination of Excellence award. There’s the folk park, complete with blacksmith, post office and pub that surrounds Bunratty Castle.

And there’s the feeling that your holiday went far too quickly…

Save this page to a Scrapbook:


Save this page to your Scrapbook:

Add Add

You have Scrapbooks created. Click below to see all of your saved pages.

See Scrapbooks

Create a new Scrapbook:

Cancel Create

This page has been save to your Scrapbook


Hmm, don't know that email. Can you check it and try again?

Getting here

Excited your interest? There are airports throughout the Island with international arrivals. Discover airlines flying to Ireland from your location.

Find flights

Places to stay

No results match your search criteria