10 Things To Do in Clare, Ireland

By Bridget Castner

Nicknamed “The Banner County”, Clare boasts a dramatic coastline along the Atlantic Ocean that is home to towering cliffs stretched across sandy beaches, rolling hills, and Lough Derg, Ireland’s largest lake on the River Shannon.

Thinking about visiting Clare, but aren’t sure where to start? Look no further! We’ve put together a list of the 10 most unique and fun things to do in Clare, Ireland.

Ready to explore the Emerald Isle? Check out our Ireland vacation packages.

The Burren

The Burren is a broad region of cracked limestone pavement that stretches for miles and is home to 70% of Ireland’s native flora. There is an abundant plant and animal life, including a rare butterfly species and a rare breed of Old Irish Goat that call the land home.

While you’re here, stroll through archaeological sites such as Poulnabrone dolmen, a megalithic tomb that dates back to the Neolithic period. Hike or bike along a long distance trail that will take you straight through the heart of the landscape (Burren Way), or explore one of Burren’s many caves. Burren National Park is home to the best of the Burren’s flora and fauna and makes for a great walk and stunning backdrop for photos.

Aillwee and Doolin Caves

Clare is full of natural wonders, and exploring its caves is one of the best things to do in Clare! Aillwee cave is steeped in geology and history that dates back over 300 million years. Here, expert guides will walk you through the ancient underground wonder. Take a stroll through the caverns and pass by the cave's waterfall, and discover the now extinct brown bears’ bones - over 10,000 years old!

If you visit Doolin caves, you will go through a guided tour that covers two chambers. The Main Chamber tour allows you to admire the Great Stalactite, an example of nature’s magnificent handiwork, and a tour of The Second Chamber is filled with an assortment of straw stalactites, helicities, and bell jar formations that are sure to leave you in awe.

The Cliffs of Moher

Standing majestically along Ireland's rugged west coast, the Cliffs of Moher offer a breathtaking spectacle of nature's grandeur. Towering over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, these iconic cliffs provide panoramic views of crashing waves and dramatic landscapes. Explore scenic walking trails, marvel at seabird colonies, and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of one of Ireland's most famous natural landmarks.

Learn more about the Cliffs of Moher here.

The Burren Food Trail

Calling all foodies! The Burren Food Trail is a self-guided tour that allows you to experience the best local products in County Clare. These unique trails give you the opportunity to learn all about the food culture of the season and get a glimpse into how food goes from farm to table.

The tour is broken into 4 themed trails:

  • Market Garden Trail: This trail highlights the many market gardens, farms, and beekeepers in the area. Discover gardener's secrets, partake in a Cookery Master Class, or visit the farmers market.
  • Farm to Fork Trail: While walking this trail, visit some of the family run farms, watch cheese being made with time-honored methods, and sample Burren produce from many of the surrounding restaurants.
  • Tastes of the Ocean Trail: If you’re a seafood lover, this trail is for you! Tag along on a seaweed foraging walk, participate in one of the workshops on the trail, and indulge in tasting the freshest seafood from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
  • Nature's Child Trail: This is the perfect trail for families! On this fun and exciting trail meet animals, ride the zip wire, eat ice cream, visit fascinating caves, and dine at one of the many surrounding hotels.

No matter which trail you choose, there is something for everyone!

Scattery Island

If you love history, Scattery Island is one of the best places in Clare to visit. This uninhabited island is located right off the coast of Kilrush via a short ferry ride, and a haven for wildlife such as seals, seabirds, and more. The island is home to many historical sites, each one unique and worth visiting in their own way.

Pack a picnic and take a break from exploring on one of the island's scenic trails. There is a working lighthouse, an 18th-century artillery battery that was built to defend the island against French invasions, and the remains of O'Cahan Castle. Visit the remains of a 6th-century monastic settlement that was founded by St. Senan, and admire the magnificent round tower – one of the highest in Ireland!

Loop Head

With its magnificent and dramatic cliffs, scenic drives, and historical lighthouse, Loop Head is by far one of the best and most interesting things to do in Clare. It is rich with a variety of wildlife for nature lovers, and is the perfect spot for birdwatchers as it is home to puffins, gannets, and peregrine falcons.

While you’re there, visit the iconic Loop Head Lighthouse. It was built in 1854 and stands proudly at the tip of the peninsula. Here you can take a guided tour and climb up to the balcony to take in the incredible panoramic views. On an exceptionally clear day, you can even see as far as the Twelve Bens Mountains of Connemara!

Bonus fact: If you’re a Star Wars fan, this may look familiar! The peninsula served as a filming location for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Lough Avalla Farm Loop Walk

Definitely one of the best things to do in Clare – at the start of the trail, a farmer will provide hikers, birdwatchers, or casual strollers a walking stick. It is recommended that you take one, as this is considered to be a moderately challenging route.

Popular with birdwatchers, hikers, and runners, you’re sure to run into other explorers along the way! There is a ton to see on the trail, including a holy well, burial tomb, and erratic stone altar. Channel your inner nature photographer as you snap pictures of the farm animals, stunning flora and fauna, lake, and incredible surrounding views.

Kilfenora Cathedral

Another thing to do in Clare that is steeped in Irish history is to visit this cathedral, which used to be the diocese of the Bishop of Kilfenora during medieval times. This roofless church features a 15th century doorway and Gothic sedilia, and a three-light east window with carved capitals on its triangular pillars. This cathedral is most famous for the three crosses of early Christianity that are believed to date from the 8th to 12th century.

Bonus fact: Part of the church is still occasionally used as a place of worship by the Church of Ireland today, and includes a bishop’s throne.

Castlefergus Farm Horse Riding

Visiting this 100 acre sheep and horse farm is one of the most fun things to do in Clare. Run by the O’Brein family since 1992, the farm offers many trails for exploring and horseback riding. Head out on a horse trek with a member of the O’Brein family where you’ll learn all about the history of the farm and the surrounding historical sites while out on the trail ride.

Horse trek rides are available all year round and the farm has a range of horses and ponies that cater to beginners as well as experienced riders. Looking for more adventure? Dromoland Castle is just a short 8-minute drive away!

BONUS! Dromoland Castle

Dromoland is a 5-star, luxury castle hotel located right in County Clare, offering a blend of old-world elegance with contemporary luxuries. Indulge at the award-winning restaurant, enjoy some rounds at the 18-hole championship golf, relax in the lavish spa, and enjoy other hotel-offered activities including but not limited to falconry, clay shooting, archery, and tennis.

Do you want to stay in a castle hotel in Ireland? Check out our vacations that include a stay at Dromoland Castle!


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