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Things to do and to see in County Clare

 
 

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County Clare

Except for the time spent stuck in a Sunday evening traffic jam in the town of Ennis (with no sign of a Garda to direct the traffic), I can find nothing bad to say about County Clare. Like most of the counties of the West of Ireland, Co. Clare has remained quite "wild". Don’t worry - there are no werewolves or wicked leprechauns lurking behind the trees. Co. Clare is wild in the sense that except for the main town, Ennis, and a succession of villages, you will only see mountains, stones, cliffs and an untamed sea.

There are quite a few places of interest in County Clare, so if you plan to stay a few days, here are a few things to see, do and visit...

 
1. Admire Poulnabrone Dolmen...
[
freeLikeLikeLike] You can freely access the site of Poulnabrone Dolmen, which is lost in the middle of County Clare. The Dolmen dates from the Neolithic period, between 4200 and 2900 BC, and from its location, it is thought that ceremonies and rituals took place during this time. Excavations have shown that between 16 and 22 adults and 6 children were buried under the monument.
2. Go through the little town of Doolin...
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Just change 2 letters and the town could have been capital of Ireland. Instead of that, you will find a charming village from where you can take a ferry to go to the Aran Islands or to the bottom of the Cliffs of Moher (see below).

3. Gaze at River Aille...
[freeLikeLike] The River Aille (pictured) travels across the Burren area, from Mont Sliabh Elva, through Doolin before reaching the sea.

4. Stop at Doolin Point...
[freeLikeLike] Only a few minutes from Doolin village, you'll arrive at Doolin Point, from where, after a little walk on a fractured rock, you'll also be able to perceive the Cliffs of Moher.
5. Admire the Cliffs of Moher...
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The Cliffs of Moher rise between 120 and 214 metres above the Atlantic Ocean and are 8 kilometres long. With Guinness Store House and Dublinzoo, the Cliffs are one of the most valued destinations in Ireland. This comes with a price! Since 2010, the new rate is €6/adult but it's free for children under 16. The admission charge includes entry to all public areas of the visitor centre building, entry to all external areas of the visitor zone, admission to the Exhibition "Atlantic Edg" and unlimited vehicle parking. For some it may be an an expensive deal, when you think that the cliffs originally belonged to a local farmer who gifted his land to the Irish people so that everyone could enjoy this natural beauty for free... If the weather conditions are great, you'll be able to see the Aran Islands (and likewise you can see the Cliffs from the Aran Islands).
Cliffs of Moher
Photo 5. The fascinating Cliffs of Moher.
6. Surf in Lahinch near Liscannor...
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Like every county in the West of Ireland, the coast of Clare is exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and its vagaries. In some parts of the county, this creates ideal conditions for surfers. Lahinch beach is definitely Clare's most famous surfing destination. If you are planning a few days’ surfing, Liscannor could be the ideal stop-off. On the right-hand side, you can see a photo taken in Liscannor (dedicated to a French song called "San Francisco" by Maxime Le Forestier, which contains the following verse: c'est une maison bleue [there is a blue house...])
7. Take a quick break in Ennistymon...
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If you’re in the Liscannor area, I recommend a stop in  Ennistymon. In my opinion, the main attraction of the town is its waterfalls. In the summer time, the level of the river is low, and you can even walk on its bed. You'll be able to take a totally different photo in Autumn or in Winter when the currents are stronger... Watch this space!
8. Observe Doonagore Castle...
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Close to Doolin, you can see Doonagore Castle, dated from the 16th century. This is a private property and cannot be visited. As compensation you have the view, and that belongs to everyone!
9. Admire the view from the Burren...
[freeLikeLikeLike] According to Edmund Ludlow, (The Burren) is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him... The area has virtually not changed in 300 years! In some places, with special lighting conditions, you'll have a feeling to be in front of a lunar landscape. If you park your car near the Aillwee caves (which can be visited) and start climbing the rock hills above them, you'll find a great spot from which to enjoy the area. You will indeed have a great view in the midst of small stone walls, which are evidence that people lived on this site thousands of years ago.
10. Climb the Rocks...
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There are several spots where you can have a nice walk in the region (for this, buy a detailed map). When climbing those stones, you will also be able to explore the flora of the area. It is said that there's a particular plant species that grows only in the French Alps and in the Burren.
Burren
Photo 10. Another view on the Burren.
11. Visit Bunratty Castle...
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I am not usually a great fan of theme parks (I must be the only Frenchman who's never gone through the gates of Disneyland Paris!), but I must confess that Bunratty Castle and its folk park are really quite interesting. The Castle was built in several stages, and the castle that we see today dates from the 15th century. The inside of the castle can be visited, and on some evenings, you can even enjoy a medieval banquet.
12. Walk through Bunratty Folk Park...
[EuroEuroEuroLikeLikeLike] When you leave the castle, you enter a folk park, which is quite pleasant, whether you go there on your own or with your family. You will see old restored thatched houses and even a 19th century street, with a school, shops and of course a pub!
 
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County Clare in pictures
Welcome in County Clare
 
Doolin
Photo 2. The village of Doolin.
River Aille
Photo 3. River Aille
Doolin Point
Photo 4. Doolin Point and the Cliffs of Moher.
 
Liscannor
Photo 6. This is a blue house... in Liscannor.
Ennistymon
Photo 7. Ennistymon.
Doonagore
Photo 8. Doonagore Castle.
Burren
Photo 9. The Burren.
Bunratty Castle
Photo 11. Bunratty Castle.
Bunratty Folk Park
Photo 12. Bunratty Folk Park.
   

 

   

 

Would you like to visit another Irish County? Then, please click on one of the following links: Antrim (Belfast; County); Armagh; Carlow; Cavan; Clare; Cork (City; County; Islands); Derry; Donegal; Down; Dublin (City; County); Fermanagh; Galway (City; County; Aran Islands); Kerry; Kildare; Kilkenny; Laois; Leitrim; Limerick; Longford; Louth; Mayo; Meath; Monaghan; Offaly; Roscommon; Sligo; Tipperary; Tyrone; Waterford; Westmeath; Wexford; Wicklow.

Legend:
Like
Nice; LikeLike Worth a visit; LikeLikeLike Well worth visiting
Please note that this grading system is only based on my interests and personal experience as a French expat in Ireland. Feel free to visit the same locations and share your experience Smiley.
Free Free or Not Applicable Euro Entrance fee ≤€5 ; EuroEuro €5<Entrance fee≤€10 ; EuroEuroEuro €10<Entrance fee≤€15 and so on...
These price ranges are indicative only to help you plan your holiday budget and are subject to change. Discounts generally apply for families, groups, children, students and seniors citizens.
Parking While the admission to this site is free, a parking fee may apply.
OPW Heritage Site managed by the Office of Public Works. Most OPW sites are free of charge on the first Wednesday of every month during 2011. A Good tip: the Heritage Card entitles you unlimited admission for one year to all OPW sites (around €21).

This page's keywords: Ireland, Clare, Ennis, Poulnabrone Dolmen, Doolin, River Aille, Doolin Point, Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Ennistymon, Doonagore Castle, Burren, Bunratty Castle, Bunratty Folk Park. 
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Sébastien Rolland - French expat in Ireland since 2002.

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