This post, the fourth in a series of 32 covering the entire island, offers a few ideas for things to do on a weekend in Country Clare. The following is just one sample itinerary based on the information in our book Exploring Ireland: a guide to the Irish outdoors, where you will find plenty more details, ideas and inspiration.
The coast beyond the sheltered harbour of Kilkee rises steeply to tall, towering cliffs often battered by North Atlantic swells and open to every sunset of the year. The horizon-wide views and sense of exposure are quite a contrast to the comfort and convenience of the holiday village. With two reasonably short trails of five and eight kilometres starting in the centre of Kilkee and making a loop along this impressive coast it’s easy to escape the urban for a healthy dose of wildness.
EXPLORE POLLOCK HOLES
The Pollock Holes are a series of huge rock pools left accessible at low water on the outskirts of Kilkee. For about two hours either side of low tide the pools are separated from the Atlantic and offer Ireland’s best introduction to snorkelling. Unless it’s particularly stormy the pools are safe and easily accessible and some of them are teeming with underwater life. Urchins, starfish, outrageous looking anemones, myriad seaweeds and a wide range of fish are just some of the things to find on this underwater safari.
VISIT LOOP HEAD
There has been a light shining for mariners rounding the protruding peninsula of Loop Head since the 17th century, starting with a signal fire and still going today in a dedicated tower operational since 1854. There are tours of the lighthouse available in the summer months, which include a visit to the top of the lighthouse itself. On clear days it’s possible to see from the Blasket Islands to the mountains of Connemara from this vantage point, a distance across over 100 miles of sea horizon.
EAT THE LONG DOCK
The Long Dock is one of a number of great pubs in the small seaside village of Carrigaholt and is one of the best places to eat on the Loop Head Peninsula. The seafood and meat is sourced from local suppliers in the immediate surroundings and the desserts are made in house.
STAY PURE CAMPING
Pure Camping located on the shores of the Lower Shannon Estuary, is a brilliant base for this region of Clare. Experienced outdoorsfolk can bring their own tents and vans and there are also a number of cosy cabins and plush canvas shelters for those who want a little more luxury. Take a walk in the native woodland on site and enjoy yoga classes, a sauna and pizza oven.