THINGS TO DO
Cliffs of Moher | www.cliffsofmoher.ie
Ireland’s must-see, natural wonder, the Cliffs of Moher, stretches for 8km and rises up to over 200 metres above the Atlantic Ocean on Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way coast. Whether you experience it from land or sea, the Cliffs of Moher leaves you awestruck ... and for a geographical and geological explanation, there is an excellent on-site Interpretation Centre.
Doolin2Aran Ferries | www.doolin2aranferries.com
Daily trips out into the Shannon Estuary from Doolin harbour to the nearest and smallest of the Aran Islands, Inis Oirr (Inisheer) from March to the end of October/early November. Trips to and from Inisheer may also include getting up close and personal with the Cliffs of Moher.
Dolphinwatch | www.dolphinwatch.ie
Based in Carrigaholt, each two-hour dolphin-watching boat trip (from April until October subject to passenger demand and sea conditions) is an opportunity to get close to Bottlenose Dolphins as they interact in their natural environment.
Vandeleur Walled Garden & Centre | www.vandeurwalledgarden.ie
Once the private garden of Kilrush House, home to local landed gentry, the Vandeleur family, the walled garden has been redesigned and now offers an array of unusual and exotic plants.
Burren Geopark Heritage Trails | www.burrengeopark.ie/discover-and-experience/trails/heritage-trails/
If walking is your thing then the Burren Geopark Heritage Trails website has all the information you need, including detailed maps, to help you explore the best of the Clare countryside from the Flaggy Shore to Dromore Wood.
The Burren Centre | www.theburrencentre.ie
An introduction to the visual delights and ancient mysteries of Clare, its flora and fauna, its geology and archaeology, its history, legends and people. Visiting County Clare is about experiencing at first hand the thousands of years of history reflected in its ancient tombs, forts, castles and distinctively natural farming practices.
Moher Hill Open Farm | www.moherfarm.com
A chance to rub noses with a variety of animals including a Vietnamese pot belly pig, a llama an ostrich, an alpaca, a couple of emus, ponies and donkeys as well as deer, goats, sheep, rare birds and domestic fowl. And the bonus ... a chance to get all nostalgic about old farm machinery.
Aillwee Birds of Prey | www.aillweecave.ie/birds-of-prey/
The Birds of Prey Centre houses eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls from all over the world and is actively involved in their conservation. There are hourly flying displays for visitors set against the dramatic Burren landscape. Combined tickets (Birds of Prey + Cave) are available.
Aillwee Cave | www.aillweecave.ie
Up the hill from the Birds of Prey Centre is the entrance to the dramatic underworld of the Burren. The Aillwee Cave experience is a 30-minute stroll through beautiful caverns, over bridged chasms, under eerie rock formations and alongside the thunderous waterfall and its penchant for spraying the unsuspecting visitor. Combined tickets (Cave + Birds of Prey) are available.
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park | www.bunrattycastle.ie
The most complete and authentic castle in Ireland and the last of four on the site, Bunratty Castle is the outstanding feature in a Folk Park with 30 buildings, a ‘living’ village complete with farmhouses, village shops and streets recreated and furnished as they would have appeared at that time and in line with their social standing.
Craggaunowen | www.craggaunowen.ie Currently closed
Alongside the medieval Craggaunowen Castle, is the Living Past Experience, a prehistoric park that explores the roots of the people, homesteads, animals and artifacts of Ireland’s Celtic ancestors from 1,000 years ago.
Knappogue Castle & Walled Garden | www.shannonheritage.com/attractions/knappogue-castle/
Knappogue is a 15th century castle complete with restored tower house and stunning vaulted halls. The adjacent Walled Garden has been restored to its former glory with climbing roses, grapevines and several varieties of clematis. Medieval banquets are held in the castle from April until October.
Lahinch Surf School | www.lahinchsurfschool.com
Based at Lahinch promenade on the Clare’s Wild Atlantic Way, the Surf School, established in 2002 by former Irish Champion and Pro Surfer John McCarthy, provides a safe, relaxed and affordable introduction to the exhilarating sport of surfing.
The Burren Perfumery | www.burrenperfumery.com
A family company run at a small scale with local staff making cosmetics and perfumes inspired by the local landscape. Everything is made on site by hand and in small batches with the aim of being better than the best of the larger brands in terms of quality.
Loop Head Lighthouse | www.greatlighthouses.com/lighthouses/loop-head/
Perched at the end of the Loop Head Peninsula, Clare’s most south-westerly tip, is the stunning Loop Head Lighthouse with its guided tours up to lighthouse tower and onto the balcony ... the perfect place from which to spot whales, dolphins and seals.
Scattery Island | www.scatteryislandtours.com
Located just of the southern coast of Clare, the uninhabited Scattery Island—one of the most unique visitor-experiences on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way—is accessible by ferry from Kilrush. The unspoilt natural beauty, peace and tranquillity of Scattery is host to a wealth of ancient historic sites, including a magnificent round tower.
Ted Tours | www.tedtours.com
The self-acclaimed experts when it comes to all things Father Ted ‘with local knowledge beyond belief’ that will ‘take you to places you never thought existed.’ Starting at Kilfenora, this unique guided tour visits many Father Ted locations, including Father Ted’s house. Dressing up as a Father Ted character is not obligatory but adds to the fun.
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival | www.matchmakerireland.com | 2020 Festival cancelled
The music and ambience of Lisdoonvarna and the town’s celebrated Matchmaking Festival were immortalised by Christy Moore in his iconic song, Lisdoonvarna. The Festival is a 21st century manifestation of a local tradition that goes back 150 years. September’s single guests at Ardilaun might consider heading up to Lisdoonvarna in search of music and a match?
Ben’s Surf Clinic | www.benssurfclinic.com
In addition to surfing lessons, a wide range of other activities are available for those ‘flat’ days—outdoor rock climbing in the Burren, indoor climbing and archery, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), kayak and much more.
Green Room Surf School | www.thegreenroom.ie
A stone’s throw from the Blue Flag beach of Lahinch, the Green Room is a small, family-run, Irish Surf Association-approved surf school which provides a wide range of surf, SUP and bodyboard lessons to suit all ages and abilities.
Loop Head Alpacas | www.loopheadalpacas.ie
Fleece and fun on the Loop Head peninsula in Clare’s south-west where visitors can experience, close enough to kiss, the clever, curious, and often cautious, alpacas. Feel the fleece, see it spun, watch the weaving ... and even have a go.
Castlefergus Equestrian | www.castlefergusequestrian.com
Set in 100 acres of beautiful, rolling, Clare farmland the equestrian centre has a wide variety of ponies and horses and caters for both novice and advanced riders and everyone in between.
Suas Climbing Centre | www.suasclimbing.ie
Despite the Limerick postal address, this climbing centre is most definitely in County Clare. As well as rope climbing it offers bouldering in a variety of terrains made up of slab climbing, slightly off vertical terrain and steep climbing with unique, dramatic angles, a prow and a cave feature.
Golfing in County Clare | www.golfadvisor.com/course-directory/8810-county-clare/
Outside Ennis there are at least ten other golf courses in County Clare; information on each can be found at the above site.
The River Fergus | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Fergus
As well as being the tranquil and picturesque backdrop to Ardilaun’s back garden, the river Fergus is an ever-present feature of the landscape in and around Ennis. It rises west of Corofin and pops up again at Dromore Wood Nature Reserve near Ruan where there are many fine signposted walks to suit all ages and levels. Beyond Ardilaun, in and around the town centre, there are six crossings of the Fergus, not counting the footbridge from Abbey Street to the Rowan Tree Cafe Bar. South of Clarecastle the Fergus flows into the Shannon Estuary, north-west of Shannon Airport.