Located on the West Coast of Ireland at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, there are lots of incredible things to do in Clare. It boasts some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Ireland and is home to the world famous Cliffs of Moher. There is so much more to this stunning county and we’ve put this list together of the best things to do in Clare to inspire you for your next visit.
18 Best things to do in Clare
From the world-famous Cliffs of Moher to the stunning Fanore beach and the quaint and colourful village of Doolin, here are our 18 best things to do in Clare
1 | The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are instantly recognisable given that the stunning backdrop often features as the postcard image of Irish tourism. They are one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions and an absolute must see in both Clare and Ireland. The cliffs soar over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and stretch for over 5 miles with a sheer vertical drop to the sea below.
Nothing beats a walk along the cliffs as the wind gusts and the waves crash below. Wrap up well, check out the viewing platforms and prepare to be mesmerised by the stunning beauty of the Cliffs!
Things to do in Clare tip: One of the most spectacular ways to see the Cliffs of Moher is to take the coastal hike from Doolin up to the cliffs. It’s a tough uphill hike but the views are truely incredible.
The Cliffs of Moher are spectacular from all directions but the view from the sea is truly awe inspiring. We opted for a one hour cruise from Doolin pier which follows the cliffs as they climb along the sea.
The boat is an awesome vantage point from which to check out Branaunmore sea stack.
Keep an eye out for Dusty, the much loved Doolin Pier dolphin who likes to hang around the boat. Seriously, who doesn’t melt at the sight of a dolphin?
2 | The Burren
With its huge pavements of limestone and beautiful plant life the Burren is a truly strange and unique landscape. Given the abundance of limestone it’s quite fitting that the meaning of its name is the stony place!
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher region was awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status in 2011 due to the international importance of its geological heritage.
3 | Poulnabrone Dolmen
Along with the Cliffs of Moher, the Poulnabrone Dolmen is one of the most iconic sites in Clare. The ancient stone tomb, with its beautiful Burren backdrop, dates back to somewhere between 4200 BC and 2900 BC. Its name literally means ‘the hole of sorrows’ and the remains of 16 adults, 6 children and a newborn dating back to the Bronze Age were found buried under the monument during excavations in the 1980’s.
4 | Loop Head
The scenic drive to the Loop Head Peninsula is part of the Wild Atlantic Way. It is famous for its plunging cliffs, improbable sea stacks and dramatic coastline. We’d have to agree that Kilkee and the Loop Head Peninsula are one of Ireland’s best kept secrets!
5 | Dromoland Castle
First and foremost, Dromoland is a stunning castle! It has incredible history, amazing grounds and, if you venture inside, glorious old world charm. It dates back to the 5th Century when it was an ancestral home and the neo-gothic castle is set in 410 acres of woodland and lakes which are open to the public.
Things to do in Clare tip: Keep an eye out for the resident hawk who is often on show with the Dromoland School of Falconry.
Venturing inside the castle feels like taking a step back in time with the plush furnishings and coats of armour in the halls.
6 | Fanore Beach
The unspoiled sandy beach of Fanore is a hidden gem in Co Clare. With its clear waters and soft sands, Fanore is perfect for sunny days and long walks and is one of the best beaches in Clare.
7 | Father Ted’s House
Calling all Father Ted fans! It’s only Father Ted’s House smack in the middle of the Burren in Co Clare and it looks exactly as it did in the television series!
Father Ted’s house is a private family home but the family offer an organic afternoon tea to allow visitors to take a closer look at the Craggy Island Parochial House. You’ll have some tea… are you sure you don’t want any? Aw go on, you’ll have some. Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, GO ON!!
8 | Burren Birds of Prey Centre and Aillwee Caves
If you love owls, a stop at the Burren Birds of Prey Centre should be high on your list of things to do in Clare. The Centre is also home to eagles, falcons and hawks and it’s wonderful to watch them flying and interacting.
It’s a short hop from the Birds of Prey to the Aillwee Caves next door. The caves are home to stalagmites, stalactites, a waterfall and extinct bear bones. The stunning terrace overlooking Galway Bay is perfect for a post sight seeing glass of wine.
9 | Corkscrew Hill
If you’re driving in Clare don’t miss Corkscrew Hill. On the road from Ballyvaughan to Lisdoonvarna, Corkscrew Hill was built as part of the famine relief scheme in the 1840’s. Successful navigation of the steep and winding hill is rewarded with stunning views over the Burren.
10 | Ballyvaughan
Ballyvaughan is an incredibly charming and picturesque harbour village and a great base Clare. The people are lovely, the food, drinks and craic are fantastic and the location perfect for sightseeing.
O’Loclainn’s Whiskey Bar, a small bar stocking 50 different types of whiskey, is located in Ballyvaughan and is a whisky lovers haven. It was once described by Steven Spielberg as one of the best pubs he had been in.
Pinnacle Well: Situated on the coast road close to Ballyvaugan, the small spring served the people of Ballyvaughan in terms of drought.
11 | Black Head
The headland, which winds around the Burren from Ballyvaughan and down the coast to Fanore Beach. is known as Black Head. This rocky coastline is truly unique due to the dark rock that makes up the headland. The views here on a clear day are spectacular and there are lots of places to pull in and take in the views
Things to do in Clare tip: If you have time make sure to try the Black Head Loop walk. This hike takes around 6 hours and includes some of the most beautiful views of the Burren.
12 | Lisdoonvarna
Thousands of romantics make the annual trek to Lisdoonvarna to attend one of Europe’s largest matchmaking festivals.
13 | Doolin
Doolin is the quintessential Irish village in the stunning setting of the Burren with the beautiful backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. There’s an abundance of Aran sweaters, Irish music and thatched cottages. The Cliffs of Moher cruises leave from Doolin pier and it’s home to Doolin Caves which houses the largest free-standing stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere.
14 | Great Hunger Memorial
: The Great Hunger Memorial, on the Lahinch Road, was erected in memory of the victims of the great potato crop failures of 1845 to 1851.
15 | Doonagore Castle
Doonagore Castle sits on a hill 1km above the village overlooking Doolin Point. It is used as a navigational point by boats approaching the pier. The views are stunning but be aware that the castle is a private holiday home and therefore inaccessible.
16 | Bunratty Castle
A medieval fortress built in 1425, Bunratty Castle contains 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries and works of art. The grounds include a folk park and a walled garden and the castle hosts medieval banquets and traditional Irish nights.
17 | Durty Nelly’s, Bunratty
Next door to Bunratty Castle is Durty Nellys an Irish pub dating back to the 1620s and is the self-styled oldest pub in Ireland. Legend has it that Nelly herself introduced poteen, the traditional Irish beverage, to Ireland.
18 | Keating’s Pub
Enjoy a Guinness at the nearest bar to New York in Kibaha! I’m still not convinced on the geography behind this one but we trust they know what they’re talking about!
So there you have it, our guide to the best things to do in Clare a county with an abundance of sights and lots of craic! Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!