2 Days in County Clare
2 days in County Clare is a great idea. County Clare is full of cool stuff to do and see it’s one of Ireland’s best spots! It’s just one of those places you will enjoy and remember, you will have some great memories there. County Clare is located in the West of Ireland, tis full of green fields, cosy pubs, castles, beaches and holiday homes. It’s somewhere you need to visit on your trip to Ireland and maybe improve your Irish while travelling around the Emerald Isle. Clare has some of the best parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s one of the best road trips you will ever take!
This 2 days in County Clare travel guide has some great places to visit, you have got to check it out!!!
Day 1 Pick up the rental car
Just pick up a car for your trip at Hertz in Shannon Airport continue on the motorway to Ennis town. Enjoy the scenery along the route heading deeper into County Clare.
Check out Ennis and book into the Rowan Tree
Drive towards the town of Ennis, Ennis is considered the capital of County Clare. If you’re looking for accommodation. A reasonably priced hostel is the Rowantree. This is a large old building with really authentic bedrooms that cater for all group sizes. The Rowantree has a very large dining area both indoor and outdoor. The lovely river Fergus is flowing right past this hostel. The menu has an Italian touch to it, generous portions and a bar with a large variety of drinks available. Also a lot of craft beer available. It’s a very relaxing spot to stay in and close to all the tourist attractions in County Clare. I would highly recommend the Rowantree hostel. You will meet all the different nationalities there and the staff are very friendly and willing to help you with any queries. Ennis has a number of cool things to see. Ennis Friary is a must-see and then there’s the Ennis museum which is free to visit! The town has some nice churches and the town itself is a wonderful little spot to walk around. The 1916 monument in the town is another cool spot to visit, you have to check it out!
Off to Miltown Malbay
So after your breakfast at the hostel, you can head on your journey of discovery. Roads around County Clare are in very good condition generally but be warned there are narrow in some parts. Some may be very narrow but you just take your time and allow time to stop and let other road users pass by. During the summer season, you will meet a few coach buses who would be doing tours. These drives are highly trained to drive these narrow roads but just be aware that you may come across them. Do not speed on these roads the limit is 80 kilometres in most of County Clare but generally, you will be driving a lot slower than this. This speed allows you to take in the rugged scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way and Burren karst landscape. You don’t want to miss anything!
So on your way to Spanish Point Beach in County Clare, you will pass a tiny village called Inagh, then you will travel a bumpy road through areas of forestry and great views of some farming countryside, then you will arrive in the town of the famous Willie Clancy traditional Irish music festival Miltown Malbay.
This town has many great colourful bars and quirky little shops to visit. During the Willie Clancy Festival, hundreds of people flock to the town for the first two weeks of July many of whom camp in the area. The streets are full of Irish music players really of all ages shapes colours and sizes. The pubs are alive with festivities and the taps are flowing day and night and really people go wild for the Irish music for these two weeks. There are music schools around the town where the youth learn new skills and meet kids from all over the world to celebrate Willie Clancy’s legacy. There are chippers around the town too for a snack. There are a Chinese restaurant and good pub grub on offer.
Arrive in Spanish Point
After driving a short distance down the road to the famous Spanish Point beach coastline. There are some mass rocks sticking up in beach where people dive off. The Spanish sent ships of soldiers and armour to help the Irish fight the English many years ago, but sadly the ships ran into rocks off the coast of Spanish point. A lot of men perished in the ocean but some made it ashore and integrated with the locals hence the dark-skinned dark-haired people around the area. They are linked to the Spanish Armada.
Off to Lahinch
So just continue up the road to Lahinch in County Clare, the surfing mecca of many enthusiasts. The seafront in Lahinch gets hammered during the wintertime. It’s really an awesome sight really a force to be reckoned with. But during the summer lots of people come to walk, swim and surf the sandy beach.
Lahinch is a great area for surfing, it has some huge waves!! There’s a few cool bars and restaurants in Lahinch. Kenny’s bar hosts great music bands in the evening time. There are public toilets at the seafront too, with a swimming pool and playground for kids. There are walkways up at the cliffs which gives a great view of Lahinch seafront. After a busy day sees sighting, head back to the Rowan Tree Hostel to stay the night in Ennis! I recommended Knoxs bar in Ennis for some beer and craic!.
After a good breakfast, you start day two, its time for more exploring of beautiful County Clare! Day two involves some beautiful scenery and historical sites in County Clare. Head off in the car in the direction of Ennistymon and Lahinch.
Drive to Ennistymon
Pass through the colourful town of Ennistymon full of colourful shop fronts and pub fronts. You will pass by the Famine memorial on the way to Lahinch, stop for a quick look its a lovely monument. The monument is to remember all the people that died during the famine period and especially on the road from Ennistymon to Lahinch.
Pass through Lahinch and take a right to Liscannor, the scenery starts to get really good here, of the Atlantic Ocean and green fields, lovely green fields, this is County Clare at its best! Stop at Liscannor for a look around at the pier and the wonderful view from the pier. Stop at the Rock Shop for a look around, you might pick up something cool in the Rock Shop!!!
Stop off at the Moher Cottage for a cup of coffee at Ireland’s coolest coffee shop with the best view!
Next Stop the Cliffs of Moher
Leaving Liscannor, the Cliffs of Moher is just a few minutes drives, the car park for cars at the cliffs is on the right-hand side, pull in and pay the admission fee and get ready for a surprise! The second busiest tourist attraction in Ireland is located in County Clare. The Cliffs of Moher is one of those places that just blows you away, it’s a beautiful sight!! The visitor centre has many things to see and do, and O Brien’s tower on the edge of the cliffs is a cool old stone tower to check out, you can climb up to the top of the tower and see the magical view from the top. It’s class!!!
See my Cliffs of Moher Guide here for more info on the cliffs!
Off to Doolin
The road from the cliffs to Doolin has some lovely coastal views and Thatched Irish cottages so have your camera ready, this area shows some of the beauty of County Clare. Doolin is a cool little spot, it has a nice feel, plenty of nice pubs and shops and really good ice cream. Stop in Doolin for some Lunch and a look around. Gus O Connor’s is a great pub for food, the menu is really good, and you get a fine meal! Doolin has a pitch and putt course, it has Doolin Pier where everybody gets the ferry to the Aran Islands. It’s has a number of good pubs to check out Mc Dermott’s serve food and Mc Gann’s is a great Irish pub. Depending on your plans, you could spend a few hours in Doolin, there’s a cool castle to see Doonagore castle just outside Doolin is a nice castle to see. Doolin cave just outside Doolin is a cool place to visit, go down into the cave and explore the area, its brilliant.
Drive into the Burren Region
The Burren located in County Clare is one of Ireland’s national parks. Driving into the Burren is an amazing experience, the landscape of the Burren is something special, its so old and has such an unusual look, the karst grey landscape is just amazing. The Burren is so cool with lots to see and do with rock climbing, nature walks, beaches, pubs, old sites dating back thousands of years, coastal views and great visitor centres. There are a number of great viewpoints in the Burren and on this route from Doolin to Ballyvaughan, it’s unreal. The baby cliffs is a lovely place to stop and explore the landscape of the Burren, and walk around on the limestone of the Burren. You can climb up the baby cliffs and check um out and the amazing view!
Blackhead is another viewpoint that is just lovely to see and experience, its the way to go.
Travel along the Wild Atlantic Way
The road from here on in is unreal and you will love it, its one of the best in County Clare you will follow the route of the Wild Atlantic Way towards Fanore and Ballyvaughan. There are some cool old buildings on this route, an old abbey and some of the best coastlines you will see in Ireland. The road has a number of beautiful thatched cottages. This road is part of the Wild Atlantic Way and beautiful scenery is what it’s all about! Fanore has a beautiful beach to explore. O Donohue’s pub on the route has nice pints of Guinness and a lovely area to sit outside and admire the special views of the Atlantic ocean dancing along.
Travelling this route take your time is my advice, it’s really one of the best routes in the whole of Ireland, I travel it a lot because I only live around 1 hour away from Lahinch and the Cliffs and Moher and I often drive into the Burren and on this route to Ballyvaughan, I just love this route!!!
Stop along this road and take in the view and just enjoy it!!! Stop along this route at The Pinnacle Well (also known as the Leprechaun Cathedral) just before you come into Ballyvaughan if your lucky one of the Leprechauns may be around and you can get a few photos with them!
Arrive in Ballyvaughan
Ballyvaughan has a beautiful pier and its located in a wonderful part of County Clare. The village is a harbour area. The village has some great food spots and pubs, there a lovely Catholic church in Ballyvaughan to check out. The area has a beautiful castle called Newtown castle, its the only castle of its type by design in the whole of Ireland! The castle is now turned into college for art.
Ballyvaughan has some great places to stay from self-catering accommodation to B&B’s and hotels. Just outside the village, a cool visitor centre is located, Ailwee cave and the birds of prey experience.
Drive over to Poulnabrone Dolmen
Driving over to this site from Ballyvaughan should take you around 20 minutes, the views of the area are just fantastic. Poulnabrone is an old tomb, a burial site that dates back to the Neolithic period, it’s one of the many free sites to visit in County Clare. The site was excavated by a team of archaeologists in the 1980s led by Doctor Anne Lynch, and they found the bodies of 33 men, women and children in the site. They dated the radiocarbon on the bones back to the Neolithic period, it’s one of Ireland oldest known sites and run by the office of public works in Ireland. Its an interesting site to visit, considering its as old as the pyramids in Egypt. It’s a must-see site in County Clare. Caherconnell Fort and sheepdog demonisation are just up the road from Poulnabrone if you wanna check that out, its old stone fort and there are some sheepdog demonstrations, where you can see Irish sheepdogs round up the sheep, its amazing!!
Head back to Ennis via Corofin County Clare and onto Ennis for some dinner and a few tall pints of creamy Guinness.
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Best of Luck