County Clare, located on the west coast of the island of Ireland, is the 7th largest county in Ireland and has a population of 120,000. The principal county town is Ennis, a prosperous area with good employment in the general area. County Clare is bordered by the Shannon Estuary to the south and Galway Bay and County to the north. A motorway running from Limerick City dissects the county and Shannon International Airport is located within.
From the visitors point of view it is West Clare, adjacent to the Atlantic and part of the Wild Atlantic Way, which provides stunning scenery and a unique experience of Irish country life, music and culture. You will not be disappointed on spending time in this area. The Irish have traditionally flocked en masse to the seaside towns and villages of Kilkee, Quilty, Doonbeg, Spanish Point and Lahinch. Visitors from outside Ireland have followed, even the current US President, Donald Trump, owns a substantial property at Doonbeg by the coast.
West Clare is easily accessible to visitors to Ireland. If you fly into Shannon you are there. Alternatively if you fly into Dublin you can opt to take either the Galway Motorway and enter the county from the northern side or take the Limerick/Galway Motorway and come into the county via the Shannon Tunnell near Limerick City.
Highlights to see in County Clare include –
(1) Bunratty Castle and Folk Park – well worth a visit. The Castle (see picture above) completed in 1425, is one of the finest examples of a substantial Castle from the Anglo Norman period in Ireland. Not only is the Castle fully intact, but it contains the typical furniture of the period within. The Folk Park has recreated an Irish Village of the 19th century, including the surrounding country cottages which would have been in the general area of such a village. Overall a visit to this location is a wonderful experience. At night traditional banquets and Irish music entertainment is provided.
(2) Cliffs of Moher – probably the most visited attraction in Ireland with over 1.4 million visitors in 2017, the scenery here is truely jaw dropping. The Cliffs themselves rise to over 700 feet. There are several options to experience this area, by direct entry via the car park, by an extended walk from either side of the Cliffs or by boat from nearby Doolin. Not to be missed if in the area.
Poulnabrone Dolmen, The Burren)
(3) The Burren – for those excited by botany or geology this area of 100 square miles of Karst Landscape is a must. Incredibly there is substantial evidence of living communities over 5000 years ago is this rocky landscape. If heading to Galway from the Cliffs of Moher you will drive through this area,
(4) Doolin Village – a quintessentially Irish Village, a night in Doolin will expose you to Irish music and culture at its best. Located by the coast with splendid views of the Aran Islands, the spread out village will feed you and supply you with all the drink and Irish music you can consume. Try either McGanns Pub or Gus O’Connors pub, both traditional Irish pubs with a great atmosphere.
(5) Kilkee Cliffs – at the southern end of the county and well worth a visit. Take the Loop Head road out of Kilkee and you will arrive at the Kilkee Cliffs. Stunning and free of the crowds sometimes found at the Cliffs of Moher.
Overall, if coming to Ireland do incorporate a night or two in West Clare. You will be delighted you have done so.
Classic Ireland Guided Tours conducts multi day tours incorporating West Clare as part of the route. Day tours from Killarney to the Cliffs of Moher are also provided. Groups from one to fifty visitors can be catered for. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org