Local Attractions and Information
Clare is impressive, a larger-than-life county which is bounded by the Atlantic to the west, Galway Bay to the north, the River Shannon with Lough Derg to the east, and the Shannon Estuary to the south. Yet it's typical of Clare that, even with its boundaries marked on such a grand scale, there is always something extra added.
Thus the Atlantic coasts includes the astonishing and majestic Cliffs of Moher. Close under them in dangerous water is the majestic breaker known as Aileens, the surfer’s Nirvana. Less challenging nearby, but still at the top of world standards, is one of Ireland's greatest surfing beaches nearby at Lahinch, which is also a golfer’s Nirvana. As for that Galway Bay coastline, it is where The Burren, the fantastical North Clare moonscape of limestone which is home to so much unexpectedly exotic flora, comes plunging spectacularly towards the sea around the attractive village of Ballyvaughan.
To the eastward, Lough Derg is one of Ireland's most handsome lakes, but even amidst its generous beauty, we find that Clare has claimed one of the most scenic lake coastlines of all. As for the Shannon Estuary, well, Ireland may have many estuaries, but needless to say the lordly Shannon has far and away the biggest estuary of all. It is the port of call for the largest freight ships visiting Ireland, and on its northern shore is Shannon Airport. Yet the Estuary is also home to a numerous and remarkable friendly dolphin population, with Kilrush the most popular port for dolphin-watching.
The county town of Ennis has seen steady expansion, yet it is managing itself so well within its new bypass that it is the holder of a Gold Medal in the National Tidy Towns competition. Places like Ennistimon, Milltown Malbay, Corofin and Mountshannon - they all have a very human and friendly dimension. For this is a county where the human spirit defines itself as being very human indeed, in the midst of scenic effects which at times seem to border on the supernatural.
Ballyvaughan Aillwee Cave 065 7077036
Bunratty Bunratty Castle & Folk Park 061 360788
Cliffs of Moher Tourist Information 065 7081171
Corofin Clare Heritage Centre 065 6837955
Ennis Tourist Centre 065 6828366
Killimer Killimer-Tarbert Ferry 065 53124
Kilrush Kilrush Heritage Centre 065 9051577
Kilrush Scattery Island Interpretive Centre 065 9052139
Kilrush Vandeleur Walled Garden 065 9051760
Quin Craggaunowen (Celts & Living Past) 061 360788
Quin Knappogue Castle 061 360788
Shannon Airport Tourist Information 061 471664