Ireland is a country full of picturesque landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. While many travellers flock to the better-known destinations like Dublin and Cork, there is a hidden gem that often gets overlooked, there are lots of things to see and do in the county of Clare, also known as “The Banner County”.
From the towering Cliffs of Moher to the ancient Burren National Park, Clare offers something for all travellers, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a glimpse into Ireland’s past. There are many things to do in Clare that you will enjoy.
What Are You Getting From This Article?
This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to Clare, Ireland’s hidden gem. It covers everything from the county’s stunning natural beauty to its rich cultural heritage and everything in between.
We’ll delve into the county’s rich cultural and historical significance, exploring its history, With all the amazing things to do in Clare, it’s no wonder why this county is a must-visit for all travellers.
Location And Importance Of Clare
Clare is located in the west of Ireland, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and nestled between the counties of Limerick to the north and Galway to the south.
Despite its small size, Clare is a county of great importance. This county is also part of the renowned Wild Atlantic Way a scenic coastal route that stretches along the western coast of Ireland.
Map Of Ireland Showing Clare
Map Of Clare
Getting to Clare is easy and convenient, with a few transportation options available.
Shannon Airport is located in the county of Clare, and it offers daily flights from major cities in Ireland and the UK and international destinations. From the airport, visitors can rent a car or bus to their destination in Clare.
Ennis Train Station is the nearest train station in Clare, and it offers regular services from Dublin and other major cities in Ireland. From the train station, visitors can take a bus or taxi to their destination in Clare.
Regular bus services operate from Dublin and other major cities in Ireland to Clare. Visitors can take a direct bus to Ennis or another destination in Clare.
Visitors can also drive to Clare, and the county is well-connected by road. The M18 motorway connects Clare to the rest of Ireland, and there are plenty of car rental options available in the county.
Budgeting & Prices
Here is a rough estimate of some of the expenses you may incur:
Budget prices for accommodation per night can vary, some more luxurious options like hotels or resorts can range from €70 to €200 or more per night. Hostels can cost around 15.00 per night per person. Bed and Breakfast start at around 50.00 euros per night per person and up to 75.00 per person
The cost of food and drink will vary widely depending on your choices. A meal at a local pub or café can cost around €10 to €20 while dining at an upscale restaurant can cost €30 to €50 or more. The cost of a pint of beer is between €5 to €6.00 per drink.
Renting a car for a week can cost anywhere from €300 to €500, depending on the type of vehicle and time of year. Public transportation, is much less expensive, with a one-way ticket costing around €5 to €15.
Many of the top attractions are free or low-cost, including the Burren National Park and the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience. However, admission fees for other attractions such as Ailwee Cave and the Doolin Cave may cost between €10 and €15.
The cost of shopping will vary widely depending on what you are looking to purchase. Souvenirs and gifts can range from a few euros for a postcard or keychain, to hundreds of euros for handcrafted jewellery or traditional Irish crafts.
While shopping is one of the many things to do in Clare, it’s important to consider your budget and what you are looking to purchase.
Why Visiting Clare Is A Must
You need to visit Clare for a heap of reasons. visiting the area is a must for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty, cultural significance, and adventure that Ireland has to offer. Clare is a hidden gem that should not be overlooked.
Why Is Clare Is A Hidden Gem
Clare is considered a hidden gem in Ireland because of its off-the-beaten-path location, and its authentic Irish experience. It has it all, loads of natural beauty and hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered.
This part of Ireland is a destination that should be on your travel itinerary. With so many interesting things to do in Clare, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking for an authentic and unique Irish experience.
Despite its close proximity to popular tourist destinations like the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry, Clare remains relatively unknown to many visitors to Ireland. This has helped to preserve its unspoiled natural beauty and traditional cultural heritage, making it a true hidden gem.
Authentic Irish Experience
In contrast to the more touristy destinations in Ireland, the area offers a more authentic and unspoiled glimpse into Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. From its traditional villages to its lively music scene.
The Banner County is a destination that offers a genuine and unspoiled experience of Ireland. Whether you’re interested in exploring its natural beauty, or visiting its historical sites, there are plenty of things to do in Clare to keep you busy.
Clare is a county that is rich in natural beauty. From the towering Cliffs of Moher to the unique landscapes of the Burren, it is a destination that nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts should not miss.
Located along the famous Wild Atlantic Way, Clare offers a front-row seat to some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in Ireland.
In addition to its well-known attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, Clare is also home to numerous hidden interesting sites, like Poulnabrone Dolmen, the historic ruins of the Aran Islands, and the charming villages that dot the countryside.
Historical And Cultural Significance
Clare is rich in historical and cultural significance, with a long and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. Some of the most notable aspects of the county’s include numerous ancient dolmens and Celtic high crosses. The area is famous for its strong tradition of Irish music and dance scene.
The Burren National Park offers something different, it is Ireland’s most unusual National Park and a must-see for nature lovers. With so many things to do in Clare, it is an ideal destination for those looking to experience the best of what Ireland has to offer.
A Few Travel Tips
To make the most of your visit it’s important to plan ahead. Research the different attractions and experiences that you’re interested in and make a list of the places you want to visit. This will help you to make the most of your time along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Rent A Car
Renting a car is the best way to explore the county and get to all of the different attractions. While some places can be reached by public transportation, many of the most interesting and beautiful spots are best accessed by car.
Be Prepared For The Weather
The weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for rain, wind, and sunshine. Pack a waterproof jacket and comfortable walking shoes, and be prepared for changing weather conditions.
Experience Local Culture
Take advantage of the opportunity to experience the local culture in Clare. From its traditional music and dance. There are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the county’s rich cultural heritage.
5 Facts About County Clare
Poulnabrone is one of the oldest sites in Ireland dating back to between 5,200 and 5,800 years old.
One of the most famous attractions in the region is the Cliffs of Moher, which is the second busiest tourist attraction in Ireland.
The county is home to Ireland’s most interesting National Park, The Burren. It is said that it’s the closest thing you ever get to being on the moon.
The inventor of the submarine John P Holland came from Liscannor.
The greatest boxer of all time Muhammed Ali has Irish roots and his great-grandfather was from Ennis.
The Best Towns and Villages To Check Out
There are loads of stuff to see in the area and visiting some colourful towns and villages is just another one of the cool things to do in Clare.
Doolin is famous for its traditional Irish music scene and close proximity to the Cliffs of Moher.
This colourful charming and historic town is known for its falls (waterfall) and charming locals. You will love the colourful shop fronts.
Kilfenora is a small village with a rich cultural heritage, including some ancient Celtic crosses.
Lisdonnvarna is a lovely little town famous for its annual matchmaking festival, and warm locals that are very welcoming. The matching-making festival held in town is arguably one of the best things to do in Clare.
This musical town is also a seaside town with a strong musical tradition, home to the famous Willie Clancy Summer School. Attending the Willie Clancy Festival in the town is one of the best things to do in Clare.
Quilty, a picturesque village located on the coast and known for its beautiful beach and lovely old Irish feel.
Spanish Point is a seaside village with a long history, including a connection to the Spanish Armada. The area has a really nice hotel overlooking the ocean.
Killaloe is an amazing historic town situated at the head of Lough Derg. Killaloe was the birthplace of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland way back in the 11th century.
Kilkee is a coastal town that has a horseshoe-shaped bay, sandstone cliffs, and Victorian architecture. Kilkee attracts lots of visitors and has a beautiful beach.
The Best Things To Do In Clare
Clare is full of cool and interesting stuff to check out, here’s some of the best stuff to see while in this little gem of a county.
Be Amazed By The The Cliffs Of Moher
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher is one of the most popular things to do in Clare. The imposing limestone sea cliffs reach a maximum height of 702 feet and span 8 kilometres, providing breathtaking panoramic views over to the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. Located along the famous Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher are and are a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
Go Back In Time At Ennis Friary
Ennis Friary is a great historical site to visit. It’s thought to have been erected in the 13th century by the Franciscan monks, and although much of it has been destroyed over the centuries, there are still some ruins that remain which can give you a great insight into the past. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Clare that should be on your list. Ennis Friary is a must-visit destination for tourists.
Drop Over To Caherconnell Stone Fort
Caherconnell Stone Fort is a well-preserved ringfort. Ringforts, also known as cahers, were fortified farmsteads that were built in Ireland between the 6th and 12th centuries. Caherconnell Stone Fort is one of the best-preserved examples of a ringfort in Ireland. If you’re interested in exploring the rich cultural heritage of the region, then a visit to Caherconnell Stone Fort is one of the must-see things to do in Clare.
Visit Bunratty Castle And Folk Park
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is a popular tourist attraction located in Bunratty and is one of the coolest things to do in Clare. The castle is a well-preserved 15th-century fortress that has been restored to its original appearance and now serves as a museum and visitor centre. Visitors can learn about the history of the castle and the families who lived there.
Learn LOADS AT Craggaunowen
Craggaunowen is a prehistoric park. Visiting Craggaunowen is one of the many great things to do in Clare. It is an early Christian heritage park that features several reconstructed historic buildings and monuments, including a ring fort, a crannog, a fulacht fiadh (ancient cooking site), and a replica of the St. Patrick’s Chapel.
Wander Around Poulnabrone Dolmen
Visiting the Poulnabrone dolmen has to be on your list of things to do in Clare. Poulnabrone dolmen is definitely one of the oldest sites in Ireland.
The dolmen, also known as the “Hole of Sorrows” in Irish folklore, is a monument located in Ireland’s Burren region that best exemplifies the country’s ancient megalithic structure. The massive slab-stone structure consists of an 11-foot-long portal tomb dating back to approximately 5,000 B.C.
Walk Along The Aliwee Cave
Exploring the Aliwee Cave is definitely one of the top things to do in Clare. The Aliwee Cave is a spectacular place to visit, located within a 150-meter-deep limestone gorge that cuts through the Burren landscape. The cave is easily visible when touring and its walls glow with bioluminescent bacteria in certain parts, making it a unique and awe-inspiring experience.
Go Deep Down Into Doolin Cave
Visiting Doolin Cave is a must-do for anyone looking for unique and interesting things to do in Clare. Doolin Cave in the village of Doolin is an amazing underground spectacle, discovered in 1952 by a local farmer. The largest of three chambers houses ‘The Great Stalactite’, one of Europe’s longest free-hanging stalactites measuring 7.3 meters long – definitely worth seeing!
Load Of Other Cool Things To See And Do
One of the best things about Clare is the unusual and cool attractions, sites, and interesting things to see and do. Here are a few great ones to explore and wander around.
Take A Look Around The Burren
Exploring the unique landscape and rich history of the Burren is a must-do for anyone looking for interesting things to do in Clare. The Burren is an impressive landscape, a huge expanse of tundra-like terrain with limestone pavements and fossil-rich clints overgrown with wildflowers and heather. The Burren has been called “the most botanically rich environment in all of Europe.
Stop At The Bridges Of Ross
The Bridges of Ross is an area of stunning natural beauty, offering breathtaking views from the nearby cliffs. This area is a great spot for a nature walk. This is a must-visit for anyone looking for unique and breathtaking things to do in Clare. The Bridges of Ross offers a chance to escape into nature and experience the stunning beauty of Ireland’s coast.
Get A Few Photos Of Father Ted’s House
This is a fun and memorable attraction for anyone looking for unique things to do in Clare The real residence, called Glanquin Farmhouse (Father Teds House), is located in Lackareagh and has been well-preserved, making it a recognizable landmark.
Take A Look At The Loop Head Peninsula
A visit to the Loop Head Peninsula is one of the most scenic things to do in Clare, with its breathtaking and rugged coastline, stunning sights, and numerous outdoor activities. The Wild Atlantic Way route in Clare offers visitors an endless array of experiences and opportunities. A must-see attraction on the peninsula is the Loop Head Lighthouse.
See The Cliffs Of Moher By Boat
One of the top things to do in Clare, this boat tour is a must-visit for all who want to immerse themselves in the beauty of Ireland. Make sure to check out the Cliffs of Moher Boat Tour. Enjoying the stunning views of these majestic cliffs by land is an unforgettable experience from Doolin Pier.
Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) is an island located in Lough Derg and is definitely one of the top things to do in Clare. It is a sacred site known for its early Christian heritage and is home to several historic monuments, including a well-preserved monastic settlement, a round tower, and several early Christian crosses.
Saint Bridget’s Well
Saint Bridget’s Well is a deeply calming place to visit, situated in Liscannor, and is definitely one of the top things to do in Clare. Visitors stop at St Brigid’s Well in order to admire its unique beauty, or simply to stop and appreciate a moment of peace and tranquillity and say a few prayers.
The Wild Atlantic Way
This section of the Wild Atlantic Way Clare is an absolutely stunning route along the West Coast of the island and is one of the must-visit things to do in Clare. Taking in some of the most breathtaking views, you can travel from Liscannor through the Kilkee Cliffs, Lahinch, and Loop Head before making your way to Quilty.
Kilkee Cliffs are one of the must-visit places for anyone looking for beautiful and stunning things to do in Clare. With their breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean from the dramatic 150ft cliffs. The steep cliffs are a sight that visitors remember long after they’ve left, and the combination of coloured waters and the sharp edges of the cliffs make for a truly unforgettable view.
Lisdonnvarna Matchmaking Festival
This is a great festival to add to your list of things to do in Clare. The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is not only a unique opportunity to meet new people and possibly find love. Whether you’re single or simply looking for a fun day out, the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is a must-visit event for anyone.
Loads Of Beaches To See
County Clare is famous for its stunning coastline and beautiful beaches. Whether you’re looking to surf, swim, or sunbathe, these beaches are must-visits for anyone looking to take a dip.
One of the best surfing destinations in Teh bAnner County making it one of the best things to do in Clare. You can enjoy its long sandy beach and big waves. This is the closest seaside town to the Cliffs of Moher.
Fanore is a large, sandy beach located in a picturesque bay surrounded by the amazing landscape of the Burren region.
Spanish Point Beach
Spanish Point Beach is a fantastic beach with great views of the Clare coastline and the Aran Islands.
White Strand Beach
White Strand Beach is a beautiful, secluded beach with crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery.
Kilkee Beach is a large beach with good waves for surfing and plenty of space for sunbathing and swimming.
Quilty Beach, is a quiet, sheltered beach surrounded by scenic cliffs and dunes.
Castles and Historic Buildings
The region has castles everywhere to explore, there are loads to see in the area, here are a couple of my favourites.
A visit to Doonagore Castle is sure to be a memorable experience, and one of the best things to do in Clare. It is one of the unique things to do in Clare. Located on top of a limestone hill and surrounded by an ancient drystone wall, the 16th-century tower house offers spectacular views over the Wild Atlantic Way. The history of the castle is filled with dark and intriguing stories from its past.
Quin Abbey is a beautifully preserved medieval monastery and a must-visit for those looking for historical and cultural things to do in Clare. Founded in the early 13th century, it was first occupied by Franciscans, including being burned three times. Despite these events, much of the abbey remains standing today, including the ruins of an ancient castle that was converted into a place of worship.
Dysert O’Dea Castle
Dysert O’Dea Castle and Archaeology Centre is a must-visit for anyone seeking interesting and educational things to do in Clare. Dating back to at least 1318, when it was first built by Conor O’Dea, members of the renowned O’Connor Kerry Clan later re-fortified it and made it their own stronghold.
Knappogue Castle is a cool piece of history and architecture and a must-visit for anyone interested in exploring unique and historical things to do in Clare. From its 15th-century main tower to dramatic battlements and high walls. This castle is only open for the summer season.
Loads Of Outdoor Adventure Activities
County Clare offers a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.
Here are some of the best outdoor activities in the area:
Try A Bit Of Surfing
Lahinch and Kilkee are popular surf spots with good waves and beautiful beaches.
Do A Fishing Trip
County Clare is home to a number of lakes and rivers that are popular for fishing, including Lough Derg and the River Shannon, and loads of sea fishing opportunities. It offers a variety of outdoor activities, making it a great destination for those looking for fun things to do in Clare.
Rent A Kayaking
Renting a kayak and exploring the stunning coastline of the region can be one of the best things to do in Clare, with all the beaches and a few islands in the area.
Get Out And About With Some Rock Climbing
The Burren is a popular destination for rock climbing, with a number of challenging routes and stunning views. Rock Climbing in the Buirren is arguably one of the best things to do in Clare.
Explore The Region With Some Horse Riding
Take a horseback trip along the Burren or on a sandy beach for a unique way to explore the region, now it is surely one of the best things to do in Clare.
Stretch The Legs With a Bit Of Cycling
Rent a bike and explore the countryside of the region, including the scenic roads along the coastline and through the Burren.
Heaps Of Hiking And Walking Trails
The Burren is known for its unique karst landscape and offers many opportunities for hiking and walking.
Here are some of the best trails to explore in the Bururen and around Clare
The Burren Way
A long-distance trail that covers approximately 65 km (40 miles) through the heart of the Burren, offering stunning views of this National Park and its many historic monuments.
The Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk
A scenic coastal walk that offers panoramic views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Atlantic Ocean, a must-see but be warned it can be dangerous. Walking this route is arguably one of the best things to do in Clare.
The Mullaghmore Loop Walk
A scenic loop walk that takes you through the rolling hills and valleys of the Burren, with stunning views of the coastline.
The Slieve Elva Loop Walk
A challenging hike that takes you to the top of Slieve Elva, one of the highest peaks in the Burren, with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, it is definitely one of the best things to do in Clare.
Things To Do For A Good Night Out
These two things to do are highly recommended, you will enjoy them and hopefully, have a bit of craic!!!
Bunratty Medieval Banquet
The Bunratty Medieval Banquet is held in Bunratty castle and is truly unique. Situated in the breathtaking 15th-century Bunratty Castle and escorted by costumed performers, guests are treated to a four-course medieval meal with drinks and entertainment throughout the night. In my opinion, this is one of the best things to do in Clare and everyone loves it. – Highly Recommended
Doolin For Pints And Tunes
The Doolin trad music scene and pubs have become well-known for their vibrant energy and lively atmosphere. In Irish pubs such as Gus O’Connor’s or McDermott’s, you can listen to some of the best in traditional Irish music each night. Make sure to check out Gus O’Connor’s sessions as it is one of the best things to do in Clare. – Highly Recommended
ANOTHER High Recommended To Do
Here is another highly recommended adventure for you to try, travel out to the Aran Islands!!!
Travel Out To the Aran Islands
Heading on a journey out to the Aran Islands from Doolin is an excellent way to spend a casual day. It takes about 30 minutes by boat, and along the way you can take in views of the seascape, with its rocky cliffs, and rolling waves. Once you get there, walking around and exploring are great ways to appreciate the unique landscape and are probably one of the best things to do in Clare.
A Few Pubs To Chill Out In
Ireland is well known for its great pats and this part of Irelands is no different, there are a few cracking pubs to enjoy in The Banner County.
Knox’s Pub in Ennis is a great spot for casual drinks, friendly conversations, and good vibes. Boasting an unpretentious, rustic charm, the cosy pub is just a stone’s throw away from the bustling areas of Ennis town making it one of the best things to do in Clare. The walls are old, the pub is full of stories of past generations.
Durty Nelly’s Pub
Located in Bunratty Durty Nelly’s Pub is a classic Irish pub with a rich history and great atmosphere. Decorated in traditional style, the pub has a cosy feel and provides an enjoyable evening out for locals and tourists alike. This Irish pub is right next to Bunratty castle., and the view while having a pint is one of the best things to do in Clare.
Gus O’Connors is an iconic Irish pub located in Doolin. Visiting the pub is one of the best things to do in Clare. The pub has been a popular haunt for many years. Whether looking for a traditional experience or wanting to immerse yourself in Irish culture for a few hours, Gus O’Connors is sure to meet everyone’s needs!
A Few Accommodation Options To Look At
The area has lots of nice places for an overnight stay, there are swanky hotels, cosy B&Bs, really cool AirB&Bs, and Camping and glamping.
Check out these top class hotels options when visiting the banner county
Dromoland Castle is a luxurious destination that provides guests with an immersive experience of classic Irish grandeur. Set on a magnificent 350-acre estate of lush forests and tranquil lakes, the ancestral home of the O’Briens gives guests the opportunity to explore centuries-old history as they wander through its exquisite gardens, rolling hills, and courtyards. Staying at Dromoland is one of the best things to do in Clare.
The Armada Hotel
This hotel is located in Spanish Point and offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. This hotel has spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, it provides a cosy atmosphere along with all the amenities you need for a pleasant stay. The hotel offers spacious guest rooms with modern comforts and conveniences like flat-screen TVs and complimentary WiFi, as well as fine dining options.
Bed and Breakfasts
Here are a few really nice B&Bs in the area to consider when booking a night or two
Limestone Lodge in Doolin is a highly-rated B&B in the heart of the stunning Burren region. This hotel is known for its comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and great location for exploring the surrounding area. Doolin is a charming village that is a popular starting point for exploring the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
The Crag Shore B&B Lahinch
Tucked away in the seaside town of Lahinch. The Crag Shore B&B offers modern comfort and quaint charm. This top-class bed-and-breakfast offers guests luxury accommodations in a stunningly beautiful setting, with views of the nearby ocean, the majestic Cliffs of Moher, and vibrantly green hillsides.
Staying in a hostel can be of the best things to do Clare on a small budget.
This hostel is in the heart of Doolin, a charming hostel. The hostel offers dormitory-style rooms and private rooms, as well as a shared kitchen and lounge area.
This hostel is located in Lahinch and offers dormitory-style rooms, as well as a shared kitchen and relaxed lounge area. The hostel is located near the beach and is a great starting point for exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.
Camping & Campervans
The county has a few truly breathtaking campsites that offer traditional camping experiences, including Nagles Campsite and Caravan Park, Doolin and Lahinch Tourist Caravan and Camping Park. These campsites offer a unique camping experience that makes them one of the best things to do in Clare.
These sites can cater to large and small Campervans.
Glamping in County Clare
Castledarcy Glamping offers unique glamping experiences in Lahinch, including conformable accommodation with cosy bedding and furniture, and something a bit funky!! CAstledarcy Glamping is one of the best things to do in Clare.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the food like in Clare, Ireland?
Clare is known for its delicious and hearty cuisine, which features fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. There are loads of seafood dishes, traditional Irish dishes like Irish stew and bacon and cabbage. There is a huge variety of hearty meals available all over the region to enjoy.
What is the best way to get around in Clare, Ireland?
Driving your own car or renting a car is the most convenient way to get around, as it gives you the freedom to explore the county at your own pace. Public transportation is limited in the region. Cycling is another popular way of getting around the county.
What are the best things to do in Clare?
Some of the best things to do in Clare include visiting the Cliffs of Moher, exploring the Burren, visiting the Doolin Cave or popping into Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, and experiencing traditional Irish music in local pubs.
What is the population of Clare?
As of the 2021 census, the population of Clare was approximately 119,821 people.
How do I get to Clare?
Clare can be reached by car, bus, or train. The nearest airport is Shannon Airport, which is located approximately 30 minutes from the county.
What is the weather like in Clare?
Clare has a temperate maritime climate, with mild winters and cool summers. Average temperatures range from 6-16°C (43-61°F) in the winter and 13-18°C (55-64°F) in the summer.