Things to do and SEE in Clare
THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN CLARE
Here at the Cliffs of Moher Guide, we have compiled a list of great things to see in County Clare. We have included FREE sites to visit as well as paying visitor sites. There is so much stuff to do in Clare, it’s hard to fit it all into one small article. We have listed a lot of things to do in Clare within a reasonable distance of the Cliffs. The number of things to do in Clare could keep you busy for a few days or weeks depending on how much time to have to spare.
There’s golf in Lahinch and surfing, there are old stone forts and old dolmen tombs dating back to the Neolithic period also to see. We have put together 20 things to do in Clare, all within 1 hour or less driving time from the famous cliffs. This list of things to do hopefully will allow you to experience the cliffs and the region of County Clare.
If you are interested in visiting some castles in Clare see our Castles Clare page here.
Surfing At Lahinch Beach
If your info surfing Lahinch is a great beach to catch a few Irish waves. The beach is one of Ireland’s nicest beaches with The Atlantic ocean pouring large waves into the area for surfers to enjoy. The surfing here is great craic, and Lahinch has lots to do, good pubs and great food. The beach is great for swimming too. You can hire wetsuits and boards from a few businesses in Lahinch.
The prices are reasonable, if you are just a beginner, that’s OK too you can get some surfing lessons and still have the craic. Ben’s surf school Lahinch offer great services including kayaking and they will help you get surfing in Lahinch. They are located in Lahinch just across from the beach and about 12 minutes from the cliffs.
Golf at Lahinch Golf Course
If you like a good challenge, the Lahinch golf course would be the course for you. It’s located close to the beach in Lahinch, which creates especially challenging winds. This course is full of hills and mini-mountains. The course has been played by some of the world’s best golfers including Paul Mc Ginley and Padraig Harrington.
It’s a special golf course on the Wild Atlantic Way route, it’s in a wonderful location with the coastline visible from the golf course. The course throws just some interesting shots, and areas that you cant see. The remains of Dough castle is standing in the distance giving a picturesque view of County Clare. The clubhouse has a bar and restaurant and golf shop.
Rock Climbing The Burren
The Burren area is a lunar landscape, full of limestone rock. The area is truly unique, it’s a great place to do some rock climbing. There are outdoor rock climbing activities in the Burren which is the way to go. You can experience the rock up close, and the magical views of the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Buren area is a mecca for rock climbing and hiking, its unusual landscape offers lots of different types of climbing experiences. NEVSAIL water sports offer rock climbing in the Burren and lots of other activities, they will help you experience rock climbing in one of Ireland’s great national parks.
Pitch and Putt in Doolin
This pitch and putt course is no ordinary pitch and putt course, This course has fantastic views of Doonagore Castle, The Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. It’s a great way to keep kids busy with a good game of pitch and putt.
The course is open from March to October. Doolin Pitch and Putt course is an 18-hole par 3-links course with some holes that will challenge even the experienced pitch and putt players. You can hire clubs and golf balls, so no need for any gear, just arrive and off you go. The location of this course is absolutely stunning!!
Doing a boat tour is another way to see the Cliffs of Moher. If you want to visit the Aran Islands, this is the route you need to take. Doolin Ferries do a boat tour of the cliffs and travel to the Aran Islands. There are three islands off the coast of Clare, Inis Mor(Inishmore), Inis Oirr(Inisheer) and Inis meain (Inishmann).
You can travel to all the islands with Doolin Ferries, they have packages to do both the cliffs trip and the Aran Islands ferry trip. This is a very enjoyable journey, you can be a super photo of the cliffs. It’s a great way to explore the Aran Islands and spend a day or two on the Islands. Doolin ferries prices are reasonable at 15.00 per person for the cliffs boat tour. The Aran Island trips start at 15.00 upwards.
Walking Tours and Walkways
County Clare is covered in beautiful walking areas and routes, it’s covered in history and interesting stuff. The Cliffs of Moher have a lot to see and do, and the Burren region is just a nature’s paradise. You can do the walking routes yourself, please see our walking trails page for more info. If you like the idea of a walking tour or a guided tour, there are a few options with a reasonable distance from the cliffs.
The first option is Cormac’s Coast-tailed tours and walking tours. Cormac has a wealth of information, he worked for 11 years as a ranger at the Cliffs of Moher and as an education officer at the cliffs and set up their education and conservation programme. His tours are highly rated and enjoyable.
The second option is Doolin Cliffs walks run by Pat Sweeney, Pat runs cliffs walking tours from Doolin from Gus O Connors pub, his tours are very highly rated, and good value for money, a walking toy is a great way to get out for some exercise. A third option is Burren mountain tours, this company owns land in the Buren, and they do a number of tours, driving, walking, picnic and sunset tours, They offer something different if you want to try their tours, its a nice way to see the Burren and surround areas.
Castles County Clare
There are a large number of castles in County Clare, I’m just going to mention a few within a reasonable distance of the cliffs. O Brien’s Tower is on the grounds of the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre, it’s an old tower dating back to 1835. Doonagore Castle is on the road to Doolin County Clare, it dates back to the 16th century, were 170 people hanged there from the Spanish Armada in 1588 in the castle.
Gleninagh Castle is in north Clare, the castle is in a beautiful location. Newtown Castle is a cylindrical-shaped 16th-century tower house. This castle is the only of its type by design in all of Ireland. The castle is now a college for Art and design, The Burren college of art and design.
Abbeys and Churches
Corcomroe Abbey is a beautiful building with lots of history attracted to it. The abbey is built in the heart of the Burren, and one of the old high kings is buried in the site of the Abbey, Conor O Brien, king of the ancient territory of Munster is buried in Coromroe Abbey.
Kilnaboy Medival Church is an old 13th-century church with some cool features, it has the symbol of “The Sheela Na Gig” over the south door of the church, this symbol represents the Celtic fertility goddess Known as the Goddess Boann, up until 1960 women in Ireland that were struggling with fertility problems visited the church in hope of being cured.
Doolin Cave is located just outside the wonderful area of downtown Doolin, there is an outdoor nature trail walk as part of the tour experience. This is no ordinary cave, Doolin cave is home to the large stalactite in Europe. The giant stalactite is an amazing 7.3 metres in length, it’s something else.
The cave visitor centre has a cafe with delicious Irish snacks, bread and hot and cold drinks., and handmade pottery on sale. The Burren is covered in an underground cave and sea caves making it a very interesting place to explore.
This site is one of the most photographed sites in Ireland. It’s free to visit, and it is about a 45-minute drive from the Cliffs of Moher. The site is really old, it’s a portal tomb burial site. The site was excavated by a team of archaeologists between 1986 and 1988 led by Doctor Anne Lynch.
They found the remains of 21 people in the tomb, and they found the site was being used for burials for around 600 years between 5,200 years and 5,800 years ago. Poulnabrone passes the test of time and it’s a wonderful example of historical Ireland dating back thousands of years.
The Burren region is an amazing place to visit, it’s one of Ireland’s nationals park. The Burren is full of walking trails, interesting landscapes, coastlines, beaches and beautiful plants that are only grown in the Burren. Visiting the Burren is a great way to experience the beauty and uniqueness of Ireland’s lunar national park, the area is also a GEO park, and the region covers 1500 hectares.
The area is full of wildlife and beautiful flowers. Back in 1651, a Cromwellian Officer called Ludlow remarked about the Burren” of this barony it is said that it is a country where there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury them”
The Baby Cliffs The Burren
The baby Cliffs are free to visit, they are located in the heart of the Burren one of Ireland’s best driving routes. The baby cliffs are a mini version of the Cliffs of Moher. If you’re visiting the Cliffs, be careful climbing up the pathway to the top, it’s a great spot for photos, and there is a wonderful view from the area.
The baby cliffs are a nice spot to stop and relax for a while, parking in the area isn’t great but if you’re lucky enough to get a parking spot, stop and bring your camera and enjoy it!!
The Great Hunger Memorial Monument Ennistymon
This Great Hunger Memorial Monument was erected by the Clare County Council and the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). The memorial is dedicated to the 20,000 Irish people who died, and for a mass grave of children who were buried without any coffins on the road between Lahinch and Ennistymon.
This memorial is a dark reminder of some of Ireland’s darkest times during the Irish Famine period when a huge amount of people left Ireland and emigrated to the United States of America. This is a nice place to stop on the way to the Cliffs of Moher.
Festival’s County Clare
There are a number of really good festivals in County Clare, if you are lucky enough to be in Clare while a festival is going on, you should try to visit and take part in the Festival, experience the atmosphere in the Irish pubs and enjoy the Craic. One really good festival is the Willie Clancy festival music festival.
The festival takes place for a week in Miltown Malbay in the hour of Willie Clancy one of Ireland’s best Uilleann pipers. The Doolin Folk Festival is another great music festival in Doolin Co Clare which is just a few minutes from the Cliffs of Moher.
The matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna is a great festival for music, singing and dancing. It’s the place if you’re looking for love!!
Caherconnell Stone Fort and Sheep Dog Demonstrations
Caherconnell stone fort is one of Burren’s 5-star attractions. The stone fort is an old medieval stone fort that is in excellent condition, it’s very well preserved and 42 metres in diameter. Some of the walls are 3 metres wide, it’s an interesting site to visit. The visitor centre has a virtual tour and touchscreen presentation to view. The site also has a craft shop and a cafe.
The sheepdog demonstrations are great for kids and adults, it’s great to see the sheepdogs with their clever approach to rounding up the sheep and driving them into certain areas. This site is just a few minute’s drive from Poulnabrone Dolmen.
The Burren has a lot of areas to go fishing, sea fishing and freshwater fishing. They are of Corofin is a fishing paradise, the area has pike, perch and trout in beautiful lakes. The area is great for fly fishers. You can fish off the coast of the Burren in a few places, catching dogfish, pollack and mackerel. Ballyvaughan is a great spot for fishing, you call Doolin Ferries and find out who takes people out on boats.
John P Holland Centre Liscannor
John P Holland is one of Clare’s most famous inventors, he was born in Liscannor, and he attended school in nearby Limerick. He developed the design of the modern-day submarine. The John P Holland centre has interactive displays and information about Holland.
The visitor centre has over four thousand documents, drawings and letters belonging to John P Holland. The centre has a craft shop and cafe with free parking on-site. JP Holland had US navy submarines named after him USS Holland, the design was used by the Royal Navy and adopted the Holland class design.
The Burren Smoke House Lisdonnvarna
The Burren Smokehouse is perfect for foodies, or if you like smoked fish. The smokehouse offers delicious smoked salmon, smoked mackerel and smoked rainbow trout. The fish has a beautiful favour.
There are gift hampers available to purchase, these make great gifts for friends or family. Organic salmon is on offer, this is especially good. The smokehouse has cold-smoked and hot-smoked fish, this is great with some brown bread and butter and a cold pint of Guinness.
Aillwee Caves Ballyvaughan
The Burren has many underground caves and sea caves, Aillwee cave is a wonderful place to visit, it’s a great place to keep the kids busy. There is a guided tour of the underground caves, you can see the stalagmites and stalactites. There is a bird of prey experience, which shows different types of birds of prey, and flying displays.
There are information boards about the birds and audio guides. The visitor centre has a really nice Farm shop with some really good cheeses for sale. You can seat down and try some cheeses, and bread and wind down after a busy day.
Thatched Cottages County Clare
There are loads of beautiful thatched cottages in County Clare, some really cute cottages close to the Cliffs of Moher. The Thatched roof gives an Irish feel like no other, the Irish Thatched cottage is world-famous and picturesque. Driving from the Liscannor to Doolin you will see a number of beautifully kept Irish cottages with Thatched roofs.
These cottages show the way Irish families used to live in fairly hard conditions before Ireland became a member of the European Union and became a much wealthy European county. These cottages are a perfect spot to take some nice photos.
FAO – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best things to do with kids in County Clare?
Answer – There are lots to do in Clare with kids. The best things are Bunratty Castle and Folk park, there is so much to see. Ye will be kept busy for hours looking at the castle, the thatched cottages, and farm animals and chatting with everyone there!! the main street in the folk park is very enjoyable for kids!!
What is the busiest tourist attraction in Clare Ireland?
Answer – The busiest tourist attraction in Clare and in Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher. The amazing Cliffs is a must-see location for all ages from young to old, it doesn’t disappoint. The visitor centre has lots to see it’s very interesting.