When I think of staycations in Ireland, for some reason I always seem to forget about County Clare! Having visited there recently it has sparked my memory of some really wonderful times I have had while there and decided to try and draw more attention to there as a weekend destination for the Summer.
This two day Clare itinerary focuses on the West of Clare and revolves around all of my favourite places to see and things to do. I haven’t put time stamps on each activity as you might spend more/less time at each place depending on your personal preference.
Visit Loop Head Lighthouse
This lighthouse was voted the best place to holiday in Ireland and with good reason! The lighthouse itself is closed in 2020 for renovations, but you can still visit and walk along the beautiful cliffs that surround it – personally speaking, this walk is one of my favourite in Ireland as the views are hard to beat. To find a list of various walks you can do click here! If you are into more adventurous activities that taking a walk you can find more things to do here
Bridges of Ross (10 minute drive from Loop Head Lighthouse)
The Bridges of Ross were a trio of spectacular natural sea arches but unfortunately two of them fell into the sea!
The Bridge of Ross lies on the western side of the natural harbour that is Ross Bay, looking north to the Atlantic Ocean, near the village of Kilbaha. You can not see the arch from the road so make sure to pull in & not thing you have missed it! You don’t have to spend much time here, but it is a gorgeous location to visit.
Kilkee Cliffs & Kilkee Beach (20 minute drive from the Bridges of Ross)
Kilkee cliffs are stunning cliffs just before the town of Kilkee. There are two walking trails available to do along the cliffs, one 5km walk and one 8km walk but if you don’t want to go that far, you don’t have to complete the loop.
This circular walk begins at the Diamond Rocks Café and follows a cliff path along the outstanding coastline. There is a point in the walk where there is a steep climb for about 200 metres; this part of the walk is not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. Arriving at the top, the coastal path turns inwards to Dunlicky Road. For a short, five-kilometre walk, turn left here and head back towards the town. For a longer, eight-kilometre walk, turn right along the coast until you come to a left turn. This road, with beautiful views over the town coming down Moveen Hill, takes you back into Kilkee.
This cliff walk takes you across the famous ‘Pollock Holes’ in Kilkee which are a swimmers dream! These holes are naturally formed swimming pools off the sea and even though waves might be crashing, these pools are usually inset enough that they are completely calm and a joy to take a dip in.
Spanish Point/Miltown Malbay (30 mins drive from Kilkee)
Here you will also be met with stunning coastal views, and it is also the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat! If you have exhausted your day already with activities you can stay in Spanish Point where there is a wide range of hotels and B&Bs to chose from.
Lahinch (15 minute drive)
I would recommend solidering on and getting as far as Lahinch. This lively town is a great place to stop for the night to enjoy a bite to eat and have a few drinks. If you are interested in surfing this is also the place for you! Known for it’s Wild Atlantic Waves, Lahinch is the perfect surf spot. If you are new to surfing you can pay for lessons at Lahinch Surf School. Get up to €40 off your first Air BnB stay using my link here!
On day two you can choose to spend some time on the beach in Lahinch, or you can head to your next destination depending on your preference! If you are keen to get on the road, your first stop will be the stunning Cliffs of Moher!
Cliffs of Moher (10 minute drive)
While they aren’t the highest cliffs in Ireland (that title is given to Slieve League in Donegal) they are by far the most well known because of their immense beauty. You can spend anywhere from 30mins-2 hours admiring the cliffs and walking along in each direction. Adult tickets cost €7 which they charge at the car park. If you really don’t want to pay, you can park elsewhere and walk but the money does go to the staff working on the cliffs and it’s continued upkeep. I recommend getting here as early as possible both to avoid crowds and to give yourself plenty time for your next few activities throughout the day.
Doolin (10 minute drive)
If you aren’t sick of cliffs just yet then there is also a cliff walk to do in Doolin as well! Doolin has to be one of my favourite little spots in Clare as the villages character just shines through and the people are lovely. I would recommend choosing here to lay your head for your second night, and if that is the case, this is the perfect time to leave your luggage and maybe grab a bite to eat before your next stop.
The Aran Islands!
The Aran Islands is a collection of three islands of the coast of Clare/Galway. Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr are the three islands and each one has something different to offer than the next. Depending on how much time you have and what you want to see, Doolin2Aran Ferries have several different options from cruises to Inis Mór where you can spend your day cycling around the island and taking in the sights to just taking a simple cruise along the Cliffs of Moher and around the islands. You could plan an entire weekend on the Islands themselves, or add an extra day to your itinerary if you wanted to stay overnight. If you have the time, I would highly recommend it as they quaint and so, so beautiful.
If you decide to only take a day trip, or if you arrive back late enough after your nights stay I would highly recommend not missing the opportunity to visit Gus O’Connors pub in Doolin! With live traditional Irish music and tasty pints, this place is the perfect embodiment of Ireland and ‘the craic’ – if there is one thing not to miss on this entire list, it’s a trip to this pub!
**Between Lahinch and The Cliffs of Moher lies a village called Liscannor where you will find probably my favourite place in all of Clare – The Rock Shop! I have been visiting this shop since I was a child and I find it absolutely mesmerizing. they sell everything from gemstones to candles and they even have a cafe on site if you want to stop for food.
Gus O Connors pub is the last stop on the jam packed (and cliff packed!) itinerary. I find that sometimes Clare can be overlooked as a destination on the Wild Atlantic Way to spend a longer amount of time in as many people stop at the Cliffs of Moher and then continue on their journey, but this itinerary is just the tip of the iceberg on what there is to do within the county. You can learn more about all there is to do in Clare here!
Have you ever been to Clare before? Or would you like to visit now you know more about it? Let me know!