Download GPX file for this article
52.8333-9Full screen dynamic map

Europe > Britain and Ireland > Ireland > Shannon Region > County Clare

County Clare

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

County Clare (Irish: Contae an Chláir) is in the Shannon Region of Ireland.


  • 1 Ennis (Inis, "island") – the county town, and the largest in County Clare
  • 2 Ennistymon (Inis Díomáin)
  • 3 Kilkee (Cill Chaoi, "Church of Chaoineadh Ita – lamentation for Ita")
  • 4 Killaloe (Cill Dalua, "Lua's church") – located on the Shannon River
  • 5 Kilrush (Cill Rois, "Church of the Woods")
  • 6 Lahinch (An Leacht, "The Memorial cairn of O'Connor") – a seaside resort
  • 7 Liscannor (Lios Ceannúir, "ringfort of Ceannúr")
  • 8 Lisdoonvarna (Lios Dúin Bhearna, "fort of the gapped keep") – renowned for its spa waters
  • 9 Miltown Malbay (Sráid na Cathrach, "street of the stone ringfort") – a coastal town, famous for its summer school of Irish traditional music
  • 10 Newmarket-on-Fergus (Cora Chaitlín, "Caitlín's weir")
  • 11 Quin (Cuinche, "five ways")
  • 12 Shannon (Sionainn)

Other destinations[edit]

  • Bunratty Castle – restored castle of the Earl of Thomond
  • The Burren – is a special landscape of frequently bare limestone pavement (Karst) which is of great interest to botanists, cavers and anyone who appreciates the unusual. This area overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay a few charming villages and the highest sheer cliffs in Ireland (Cliffs of Moher).
  • Carrigaholt – a beautiful little village on the coast. Dolphin-watching from the pier
  • 1 The Cliffs of Moher (Aillte an Mhothair, "Cliffs of the Ruin") – are one of Ireland's most popular tourist haunts, offering spectacular views of the Atlantic.
  • Cooraclare
  • Corofin – the place if you are looking for information on your Clare ancestors as it is home to Clare Heritage and Genealogical Research Centre
  • 2 Doolin – a small village, famous for its Irish music tradition and the atmosphere in its pubs
  • 3 Kilfenora
  • Loop Head – located on the cliff edge at the tip of Loop Head peninsula. A puffin colony live on a sea stack just off-shore
  • The River Shannon, Ireland's longest river, opens out into the Atlantic between County Clare and County Limerick.
Scattery Island in mid-Shannon has a lighthouse, tower and ruined monastery. Boat trips run from Kilrush.
  • Querrin – Querrin Shore
  • Spanish Point – beautiful beach, named for the Spanish sailors who were washed ashore after the wrecking of the Spanish Armada.


Clare people are very friendly and welcoming to visitors. The county is quite commercialized with regard to tourists and there are numerous activities within its borders to cater for all tastes. A visitor could easily spend two weeks in the county without feeling that they have run out of things to do or see. Because Shannon Airport, the second airport of Ireland and the first stopover for transatlantic flights, is situated in the county, Clare gets many tourists and sometimes this means places can be crowded.

Shannon airport is also used as a stopover for US troops going to and coming from tour of duties in Iraq. It has been subject to some anti-war protests in recent times, with crowds gathering at strategic points around the airport.


English is the first language of Clare people, although it can be quite difficult to understand the "brogue" at times.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Shannon Airport (SNN IATA), is in Shannon, County Clare and is one of the three primary international airports that serve Ireland along with Dublin Airport (DUB IATA) and Cork Airport (ORK IATA). The airport is ideally located in County Clare and easily accessible from both Limerick City and Ennis. In 2017, Shannon Airport handled around 1.7 million passengers. Shannon Airport handles a lot of air traffic between Ireland and the United States and has US border preclearance.

The largest operator in Shannon Airport is Ryanair which flies to 12 destinations around Europe, followed by Aer Lingus. Charter flights to popular tourist destinations from Shannon Airport operate throughout the year.

By bus[edit]

Bus Eireann operates a comprehensive network of bus service to and from destinations in County Clare. Independent operators, like Lyons Travel, also offer direct routes to and from County Clare for the major towns and cities nationwide.

By rail[edit]

The western rail corridor is now open, so rail services have been restored between Clare and Galway. A new rail link [1] between Ennis and Limerick is now up and running.

By boat[edit]

There is a ferry service from Tarbert, County Kerry to Killimer every half hour. This cuts out the need to travel through Limerick City to get into Clare, if you are coming from the south of Ireland.

Get around[edit]

Towns in the county are served by irregular bus services, so the best way to see the scenery and tour is by car.

Car rental[edit]

The main location for car rentals in County Clare is Shannon Airport.



  • Bunratty Castle and Knappogue Castle both host medieval banquets twice nightly in the summer.
  • Willie Clancy Summer School. The Willie Clancy Summer School takes place on the first weekend in July every year in Miltown Malbay. Students of all ages and nationalities gather to learn traditional Irish music from noted musicians during the day and the town's pubs host their efforts at nighttime. Concerts are also held throughout the week of activities.
  • Visit the Doolin Ferry Company. Spend the day on the Aran Islands or sea the Cliffs of Moher by boat [2] or with O'Brien Line Ferries [3].
  • Take the Cliffs of Moher cruise. to view the Cliffs from sea level. Cliffs and Aran Cruises [4] also runs a passenger ferry service to the Aran Islands.
  • Language Travel Ireland. Learn English on a farm in Co. Clare in the West of Ireland. Experience life on a farm, get involved in the farm activities, enjoy the home cooking, fresh air and beautiful countryside of County Clare. Learn English in Ireland by living in on a real Irish farm.
  • Dolphinwatch Carraigaholt. Go dolphin watching from Carraigaholt pier and see the mouth of the Shannon Estuary
  • Mid Clare Way. Leave your car and attempt some of the Mid Clare Way. This marked long distance walking route makes a circuit of the region surrounding the county town of Ennis. It is 139 km in length but broken up into manageable segments.


Locally produced products are easy to find in the local supermarkets. Sausages, breads (particularly soda), jams and many other local delights are readily available, with the local traders willing to help you find what you want.


Clare has more than its fair share of unique and distinctive pubs that cater to all tastes; traditional and modern. Famous for traditional Irish music, drinking stout or Irish whiskey to the strains of reels and jigs is a regular experience.

Gus O'Connor's Pub and McGann's Pub, both in Doolin, are especially famous for their Irish music.

  • Biddy Early's Brewery. Located in Inagh village, should be visited to taste locally brewed stout ("Black Biddy") and lager ("Blond Biddy").

Go next[edit]

Take the commuter ferry across the Shannon estuary into County Limerick for a day trip. The journey takes about half an hour. Galway City, with good shopping facilities, and County Galway are also within driving distance, as is Limerick City.

Boat trips to the Aran Islands can be arranged from Doolin pier.

This region travel guide to County Clare is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.