Clare Travel Guide: Top Things to do in Clare

Discover all the best things to see and do in Clare in Ireland. You'll find top attractions, must-see places, fun activities, scenic drives, hiking trails, and so much more!

County Clare is truly a remarkable destination that offers an abundance of unique and captivating experiences. With its awe-inspiring and stunningly beautiful coastline that stretches along the Cliffs of Moher, you can get up close and personal with the majestic wonders of nature. 

Take a stroll along the rugged cliffs and feel the breeze of the Atlantic Ocean on your skin or immerse yourself in the geological wonder of the Burren, an area of natural beauty that is full of intrigue and surreal landscapes.

If adventure is what you seek, look no further than Lahinch, which has been hailed as a surfer’s paradise, featuring some of the best waves in the country. Whether you want to hit the waves or simply soak up the lively atmosphere of this charming town, Lahinch has something for everyone.

In Clare, you can truly lose yourself in the wonder of this magnificent place or find yourself, as you take in all that this destination has to offer.

Explore Things to Do in Clare – Soak up the natural beauty and jaw-dropping coast of Clare, carved by the roaring Atlantic. Here are the must-see attractions in County Clare.

Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre

Aillwee Cave

If you happen to be planning a family vacation in County Clare, Ireland, then make sure to add Aillwee Cave to your itinerary as it is one of the best places to visit with children. This cave system is not only one of the oldest in Ireland, but it is also believed to be around 1.5 million years old; a magnificent natural wonder that must not be missed! 

Visitors to Aillwee Cave will be able to witness the mesmerizing beauty of stalactites and stalagmites up close and personal. They can also witness a breathtaking underground river accompanied by a stunning waterfall, as well as marvel at the bones of long-extinct brown bears. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you may even try holding the magnificent Birds of Prey under supervision or indulge in the pleasure of tasting the locally made Burren Gold Cheese, available at the Farm Shop located next door. There’s no doubt that Aillwee Cave and its surroundings are full of adventure, learning, and fun for every member of your party!

Ballyvaughan Village

Ballyvaughan Village

The village of Ballyvaughan is an idyllic location that boasts many charming features. The serene ambience of the village is enhanced by its picturesque coastal location. The village is a hot spot of delightful tea rooms and quaint cafes. 

One of its jewels is the renowned Monks restaurant, which is famous for its scrumptious seafood dishes that have been tantalizing taste buds for years. Additionally, the village is adorned with several houses and buildings boasting traditional thatched roofs, which adds to the village’s rustic charm. 

The village green is a delightful spot to take a rest and admire the donkeys leisurely grazing and soaking in the village’s serene atmosphere. These features perfectly capture the essence of this beautiful village, making it a must-visit destination for anyone longing to enjoy a serene coastal getaway steeped in traditional culture and classic elegance.

Popular Accommodation in Clare

Gregan’s Castle Hotel: Nestled in the heart of the Burren, Ireland’s smallest national park and the inspiration behind C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien’s most famous works, Gregans Castle Hotel is immersed in natural beauty. The 18th-century manor house-turned-hotel has welcomed guests since the 1940s. And today it offers the perfect tonic to busy life – with TV-less rooms, nature-inspired décor and fires that glow year-round. 

The Wild Atlantic Lodge: ideally located along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ballyvaughan Village, is in the heart of The Burren and comprises 20 cosy en-suite bedrooms equipped with all you need for a relaxing breakaway. It is the perfect base to discover the Cliffs of Moher or to take a trip to the Aran Islands.

Old Ground Hotel: The 4-Star Old Ground Hotel is one of the top hotels in Clare and offers guests a luxury hotel break in a central location in Ennis Town. Offering award-winning hotel accommodation in Clare (Best Hospitality Provider in County Clare 2019) in the heart of Ennis, the Old Ground Hotel is one of the finest luxury hotels in Co Clare.

Aran Islands

The Aran Islands

Located in the midst of the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way, we have three incredible islands in the heart of this stunning natural paradise. The Arran Islands boast their own unique and unmistakable personalities, each with their own breathtaking landscapes and awe-inspiring vistas. 

Despite their distinctive differences, something they all share is the talented and delightful inhabitants, who speak both Irish and English fluently. A journey to the Arran Islands is undeniably one of the most remarkable and memorable experiences you can have on the Emerald Isle. 

So why not come and explore these outstanding destinations for yourself? Adventure awaits as you discover the charm, beauty, and rich culture of these incredible islands. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to visit one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions!

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle is simply magnificent. Standing tall and proud over the lush green landscape of County Clare, its imposing grey stone structure is a testament to the power and resilience of its builders. 

The sheer size of the castle is awe-inspiring and it almost seems to dominate the surrounding area like a monolith. Built on the site of a 10th-century Viking trading camp, this is actually the fourth castle to be constructed in this spot. 

The O’Briens, one of the most powerful families in Munster, owned it from 1475 and the castle served as their seat of power. It would have been a testament to their dominance and nobility, but even so, castle life in the middle ages was not always easy. 

The last family to live at the castle before it was abandoned was the Studdert family. Nonetheless, Bunratty Castle still stands proud today as one of the most complete and intact castles in all of Ireland, with features like chunky stone fireplaces, vaulted cellars, and a great hall that have stood the test of time.

The Burren Perfumery

Burren Perfumery

If you are planning a trip to County Clare, Ireland, make sure to visit the Burren Perfumery, which is located in the beautiful and unique floral landscape of Carran. Established over 30 years ago, the Burren Perfumery is Ireland’s first perfumery, offering a thrilling experience. 

This family-run company specializes in producing organic, natural aromatherapy products and fragrances, using traditional techniques such as steam distillation and hand bottling. Visitors get an opportunity to learn about these processes and see how cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes are made.

But that’s not all. The Burren Perfumery offers an outstanding audio-visual presentation and photographic exhibition, which gives an insight into the history and culture of the company. Moreover, you can explore the charming organic herb garden and see how native, organic herbs are used in handmade soaps and aromatherapy products.

To make your visit even better, the tea rooms offer freshly baked organic cakes, garden soups, teas, and coffees. It’s an excellent place to unwind and soak up the peaceful atmosphere in the heart of the Burren, which is famously known as the land of the fertile rock.

 Please note that on-site parking is available for cars, but coaches are not permitted. Remember to speak to the friendly staff who are always eager to help you discover the stunning scents and unique flavours of the Burren Perfumery.

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Best Things to do in Clare Ireland

County Clare in Ireland has a plethora of thrilling and awe-inspiring things to do and see. From the majestic and spellbinding natural beauty to the enthralling coast that has been carved out by the unyielding and mighty Atlantic ocean. 

The attractions in County Clare are a must-see for any adventurer. Unleash your inner explorer and go on an exhilarating journey as you let the beauty of County Clare capture your soul. You can experience the tranquility of the countryside, explore the nooks and crannies of the coastline or simply enjoy the rich culture and history of the area. 

With so much on offer, you are sure to find an activity or attraction that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired. So don’t just visit County Clare, immerse yourself in the natural beauty and take in all that this captivating county has to offer.

Cliffs of Moher Must do Things to do in Clare


When you decide to visit the Cliffs of Moher, prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience. The stunning sheer height of the rock face and the breathtaking views from the summit are the two most notable attractions that would leave a lasting impression on you. 

The remarkable sight of the striated stone soaring to an impressive 214m height only adds to the wonder. You can gaze southward to counties Cork and Kerry beyond and, from the vantage point of O’Brien’s Tower, you might even spot the Aran Islands to the north if you have a keen eye.

As you approach the Cliffs of Moher, you will feel the invigorating freshness of the Wild Atlantic Way. Standing at the edge of the cliff, it’s hard not to imagine you are on the prow of a massive ship, braving the ocean waves that roll endlessly below. 

To make the most of the magic, nothing comes close to a wind-whipped trek across the clifftop, where the edges peak slightly upward, mirroring the crests of the waves. For avid hikers, the Doolin Cliff Walk is an outdoor adventure you won’t forget. 

It leads you down the full length of the well-worn trail to the Visitor Centre, which is set into the hillside like a hobbit house – a hugely informative stop on your journey.

Cliffs of Moher Boat Tour

Cliffs of Moher Boat Tour

Cliffs by land and sea

Experience the Cliffs

A fabulous way to enjoy Ireland’s most loved attraction, the Cliffs of Moher Experience, is to view it from the land and the sea.

We work with the two ferry companies based in Doolin to provide you with a trip of a lifetime. This is an unmissable trip that is spectacular from sea and land.

Enjoy a cruise on the seas with Doolin Ferry Company. Get a fresh view of the cliffs and watch the sea birds nest, in this special protection area.

Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk

Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk

Embrace some of Ireland’s outstanding coastal landscapes in breathtaking County Clare. The Cliffs of Moher Coastal walk is a 20km cliff edge trail spoiling walkers with views of Galway Bay, the Aran Islands, Doolin and the roaring Atlantic.

The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk connects lively Liscannor and Doolin, via the Cliffs of Moher Experience. It’s a linear route and takes 4.5 hours to complete.

With an exposed cliff top path, this strenuous walk requires a high level of fitness and challenges walkers with narrow, steep ascents and descents, flagstone steps, farm tracks, local and regional roads.

There is a risk of landslides and walkers are asked to stay on the paved site, avoiding the coastal path. Areas of risk can change over time so they may not always be signposted.

This salt aired trail starts and ends at the villages of Liscannor and Doolin, before moving onto protected paths at the Cliffs of Moher Experience. It then steps up a gear, as the trail becomes more isolated and demanding, with no barriers, handrails, or seaward fencing.

Ideal for the seasoned walker, the Atlantic seascapes and the incredible cliffs soon reward your efforts. Afterwards, rest and relax in one of the nearby welcoming cafés.

Doolin Cave

Doolin Cave

Located in the heart of County Clare, Doolin Cave is undoubtedly a wonderful destination for those seeking unique geological marvels in a beautiful and engaging landscape. 

Discovered in 1952, the cave offers a 70-meter descent into one of Ireland’s natural wonders, the Great Stalactite, which measures over 23 feet long, making it one of the world’s longest free-hanging stalactites.

Moreover, the site is surrounded by 1 km Farmland Nature Trail, which not only offers a looped walk around the cave’s surroundings but also provides a closer look at the region’s diverse flora and fauna, including some rare breeds of cattle, pygmy goats, Soay and Jacob sheep, ducks, and chickens. 

Wild at the Cave, the on-site café, is sure to satisfy your taste buds with its impressive selection of seasonal salads, artisanal sandwiches, and delicious baked goods, prepared using locally sourced produce. 

Finally, do not forget to stop by the gift shop to take a piece of pottery made by artist Caireann Browne from the cave’s abundant glacial clay, as a beautiful reminder of your visit to Doolin Cave.

Doolin Cave is open daily from March to November 10 am to 5 pm, with tours on the hour. Visit their website for winter opening times.

Visit The little town of Ennistymon


Things to do in Clare

Nestled in the heart of Ireland lies the quaint little town of Ennistymon. This hidden gem boasts a vibrant array of colourful shops and pubs, each exuding its unique charm and ambience. 

One of the most prominent spots in town is Eugene’s, a pub made famous for being the location where an episode of Father Ted, a popular TV show, was filmed. Another go-to destination for tourists and locals alike is Cooley’s House, a popular watering hole that attracts music lovers with its top-notch live entertainment.

A trip to Ennistymon wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Ennistymon Cascades, which are sure to take your breath away. The cascades are situated on the Cullenagh River and present visitors with a picturesque view that can be seen from the bridge at the top or the riverside walk at the bottom. 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sound of rushing water as you immerse yourself in the soothing beauty of this natural wonder.

Loop Head Lighthouse

Loop Head Lighthouse

Loop Head is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most fascinating destinations, boasting unparalleled natural beauty, historical landmarks, and a variety of exciting activities for everyone. Located at the western edge of County Clare and nestled between the charming towns of Kilrush and Kilkee, Loop Head is a peaceful haven that will take your breath away. 

This area is unique as it offers access to both the serene waters of the Shannon Estuary and the wild Atlantic Ocean. The magnificent Loop Head Lighthouse is an iconic attraction that you simply must visit.

From its vantage point, you can take in panoramic views that stretch from the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher to the stunning Kerry coast. The area offers a range of activities that cater to different interests, such as dolphin watching, exploring natural arches, visiting historical wartime relics, and hiking scenic cliffs. 

Additionally, visitors can enjoy discovering the abundant wildlife that thrives in the area, including various seabirds. Loop Head is the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen, standing majestically on the high Burren limestone plateau, is a fascinating archaeological monument that has etched its mark in Ireland’s rich cultural history. Amongst the most visited locations in the Burren, second only to the Cliffs of Moher, it is a site to behold. As the oldest megalithic monument in Ireland, it exudes an air of mystery and intrigue that captivates the imagination of all who visit.

This impressive structure belongs to the portal tomb classification and boasts two towering portal stones, creating a grand entrance which is capped with an enormous sloping capstone. Originally, this tomb had a second stone at the rear of the structure, believed to be another capstone that would have supported the main capstone and covered the back of the monument. Unfortunately, it’s unknown when this part collapsed.

Moreover, Poulnabrone Dolmen sits on limestone pavement and is surrounded by a low mound of rocks that would have provided support to the upright stones. Interestingly, the uprights are not wedged into the deep fissures commonly found in limestone, which is a marvel in itself. 

The limestone flagstones used in building the monument were extracted from the surrounding limestone pavement, adding to its historical significance.

Burren National Park

Burren National Park

The Burren National Park is an absolutely breathtaking gem that is a must-see destination when exploring the beauty of Ireland. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of other-worldly landscapes and nature’s most vibrant hues. 

Just picture yourself surrounded by a sea of wildflowers, as far as the eye can see, under a stunning blue sky. Now, imagine exploring a place that seems like it could be off in a distant galaxy- a lunar dreamland. Yet, this astonishing terrain can be found just a short distance from two other iconic Irish attractions- the Wild Atlantic Way and the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. 

No matter what your interests are, there is always something for you to discover in this remarkable region. From its extraordinary geology and fascinating ancient sites to its thrilling hiking trails and breathtaking photo ops, a visit to the Burren National Park is sure to ignite your imagination and leave you with unforgettable experiences.

Slieve Carran Nature Reserve

glen of aherlow

Nestled within the breathtaking East Burren Complex Special Area of Conservation, the Slieve Carran Nature Reserve is an idyllic haven preserved and managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. 

This natural oasis boasts three distinct vegetation communities, offering visitors an unparalleled opportunity to marvel at the coexistence of flora from both the high snow-capped mountains of the Alps and the Mediterranean coast. 

Further adding to this stunning landscape’s allure, lime-loving plants share the terrain with those that prefer acid soil. Meanwhile, visitors can look skyward and potentially see ravens, peregrine falcons, or kestrels and can spot feral goats grazing on the grassy shelves.

In addition to the stunning natural surroundings, history buffs will relish the chance to discover St. Colman MacDuagh’s legacy in the area. 

This iconic spiritual leader chose to live as a hermit at a small wooden chapel beneath Eagle’s Rock in the sixth century A.D., dedicating his life to spiritual contemplation and prayer for seven years. Visitors today can tour the ruins of a later-built stone church, a holy well, and even the cave where the saint is believed to have slept.

Opening Hours

It’s usually open daily from 9:30 AM to 5 PM from June to September. From March to June, it’s open from Wednesday to Sunday.

The visitor centre is open only on weekends during the off-season (October to March).

Mullaghmore Loop Walk

Mullaghmore Loop Walk

When it comes to exploring the beautiful region of Clare, there’s no shortage of great walks and hikes to choose from. But if you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable adventure, you simply can’t miss the Mullaghmore Loop Walk. This 7.5-kilometer trek is a must-do for any avid hiker, offering a perfect mix of challenge, scenery, and natural wonder.

As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the region’s karst landscape, with its jagged limestone cliffs and rolling hills. And unlike simply driving through the Burren, this hike lets you really immerse yourself in the natural beauty and tranquillity of the area.

Of course, it’s not all easygoing, and you’ll want to come prepared with sturdy hiking shoes to navigate the uneven and rocky terrain. The weather in Ireland can also be unpredictable, so be sure to pack a windproof rain jacket to keep you dry and comfortable no matter what the elements throw your way. all, the Mullaghmore Loop Walk is a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure that any nature lover simply can’t miss!

Ennistymon Falls

Ennistymon Falls

Ennistymon is a charming destination for those who appreciate the beauty of waterfalls and cascades. This picturesque town is situated along the river and is conveniently located a short drive away from popular tourist spots such as Lahinch and Doolin, making it an excellent alternative for those looking to explore the Cliffs of Moher. 

There is an array of activities and sights to discover in Ennistymon, and it makes for a great base for a one or two-day stay. Its compact size is perfect for exploring on foot. Although Ennistymon Falls may not be the most sought-after attraction in Ireland, the Ennistymon Cascade, set amid the backdrop of the town, is a vision of beauty, especially when the river is in full flow or during rainy weather.

Kilkee Cliffs

Kilkee Cliffs

If you’re planning to explore County Clare in Ireland, you’ve likely heard of the famous Cliffs of Moher. However, don’t overlook the Kilkee Cliffs! While not as widely known, they are definitely worth visiting. 

Many tourists head straight to the Cliffs of Moher, but once you reach the Kilkee Cliffs, you’ll realize how peaceful and uncrowded it is, allowing you to fully appreciate the stunning views. The walk along the cliffs is an excellent way to explore the area, and the short hike is only 1.7 kilometers one way. 

You can retrace your steps, walk back along the country road, or extend your hike and follow the cliff trail for a few more kilometers. Kilkee is also home to a variety of wildlife, including fulmars, choughs, skylarks, and bottle-nosed dolphins. And best of all: there is no admission fee! 

However, be sure to follow designated trails and safely stay away from the cliff edge while enjoying the experience.

Visit Fanore Beach

Fanore Beach

looking for a serene and beautiful destination to unwind, Fanore Beach in County Clare, neighbouring the seaside village of Fanore is an ideal spot for you. The beach offers an impressive maze of sand dunes which is perfect for exploring. 

Take a walk or stroll on the shimmering sandy shoreline, listen to the sound of the waves and watch the sunrise or sunset for a unique and unforgettable experience. The beach has a stunning view of Caher River that runs straight into the Atlantic Ocean and it is a place where surfers, walkers, and swimmers go for relaxation and pleasure.

If you’re a fan of nature and geology, within the vicinity of Fanore Beach, you can visit The Burren, which is home to rare and diverse plant species, some you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The flora and fauna found in this area offer a fascinating insight for nature enthusiasts, allowing you to feed the botanist and geologist in you.

When visiting the beach in summer, lifeguards are available to watch over visitors’ safety, so you can enjoy swimming in the refreshing waters without worry. Don’t forget to check out the noticeboard for important information about the beach, events, and safety tips. 

So pack your sunscreen, and beach gear, and head over to Fanore Beach for an exciting and thrilling adventure.

Scattery Island

Scattery Island

West Clare’s Scattery Island is an enchanting haven steeped in history waiting for you to explore. The Island has been dubbed one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, and it’s not hard to see why. 

Hop aboard a boat from Kilrush Marina and embark on a fascinating journey to this magical island, located at the mouth of the River Shannon. Take in breathtaking views of the coastline and some of Ireland’s most remarkable historical sites as you weave along the river. 

Marvel at the spectacular remains of The Street, a ghost village on the island, and encounter a holy well renowned for its healing powers. Stroll around the astonishing 6th Century monastic settlement founded by St Senan, and learn about its history and significance. 

Stand in awe at the ruins of the 16th Century O’Cahane castle and its 18th-century battery, built to guard against French invasions. Finish your tour with a free guided tour at the visitor center before heading back to the mainland. Don’t miss out on an unforgettable trip to Scattery Island.

Caherconnell Fort & Sheepdog Demonstrations

Atlantic Sheepdogs

Discover the magnificence of Caherconnell Stone Fort, a circular structure situated in the heart of the stunning Burren region in County Clare. The fort, believed to be over a millennium old, boasts an enriched history worth exploring. 

Unleash the curious adventurer in you and bask in the experience of a fascinating audio-visual presentation that is sure to intrigue and excite your senses. With so much to witness, it is a must-see for lovers of history and archaeology. Explore and learn more about the megalithic tomb builders who once inhabited the fort through informative graphic displays and stroll around the well-preserved fort at your leisure.

Wondering what else the site holds? The International Archaeological Field School conducts summer excavations in June and July, providing visitors the chance to witness real excavations in progress, an incredible opportunity to peek into the past and learn more about ancient civilizations.

Your visit to Caherconnell Stone Fort would be incomplete without a glimpse into the working lives of these fascinating border collies. Plan your visit to coincide with the daily sheepdog trials, happening from mid-March to October. 

Watch in amazement as skilled master John showcases the talents of Rose, Lee, and Sally while working with sheep and cattle. Witness firsthand the bond between humans and animals and be awed by the high level of intelligence demonstrated by these adorable creatures. 

Don’t forget to book your place for the trials in advance, as this experience is a popular one that you won’t want to miss. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your visit to Caherconnell Stone Fort today!

Ballycuggaran - Crag Wood Walk

Explore County Clare’s natural beauty through the challenging yet rewarding Ballycuggaran Crag Wood Walk trailhead. This 7.12km looped walk showcases the densely forested terrain and offers stunning views of Lough Derg. If you’re up for the challenge, traversing hillsides and uplands will surely be worth it. 

Starting at Crag Wood car park, roughly 3km from Killaloe, this strenuous trail will amaze you with its mix of forest roads, forest tracks, and a minor road. Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by lush forests, see Feenlea Mountain’s shoulders, and enjoy the breathtaking view of Lough Derg. 

In Crag Wood, you’ll find a variety of impressive trees, such as Sitka and Norway Spruce, Japanese Lurch, and Noble Fir. Completing the trail takes an estimated two hours, but the memories will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to treat yourself to some relaxing refreshments at one of Killaloe’s cafes, restaurants, or pubs after the hike.

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