My family and I visited county Clare from Dublin, in February 2019.
This was a part of the 5-day road trip from Dublin covering mainly Mayo, Galway and Clare counties.
Road map- Day 4:
Places covered on Day 4
Doolin Pier Point
Burren Way / Burren national park
Ailwee Caves/ Birds of Prey Center:
Poulnabrone Dolmen Tomb
1) Doolin Pier Point:
Doolin Pier Point is situated in the Wild Atlantic Way. Doolin is the home of traditional Irish music. Its a nice walk down to the pier, but they’re not great for getting down to the sea itself as there’s no seashore here. Its more like a rocky beach here.
This is not a beach for swimming. But it is a beach for amazing views, listening and watching the waves crash, enjoying the sun, and admiring the dazzling geology of the coastline.
I believe the Sunset view from here will be excellent.
There are high chances that you will find some Dolphins here.
There is enough parking space available here.
The pier has two public restroom spots, one by the boat booths, and one closer to the rock beach.
You have Ferry Services From here to Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher.
It was closed as we visited during Winter.
2) Doolin Cave:
Since we had planned to go to Ailwee Cave, we decided to skip the Doolin Caves.
I have seen lots of discussion on internet regarding the comparison between Ailwee and the Doolin caves.
Personally I have visited only Ailwee caves and hence might not be in a position to do a comparison here. I would suggest you to visit both and draw your own conclusions.
3) Burren Way / Burren National Park:
The Burren, on part of the Wild Atlantic Way – from the Irish ‘boireann’ meaning rocky place.
It is a 123km walking route that takes in the best of what the Burren area has to offer, from the coast at Doolin to majestic wild-flower-decorated limestone terraces and from the remains left by the Neolithic inhabitants of the Burren to the rich heritage of early Christian churches and site.
The Limestone rocks beside the road provides a spectacular display.
4) Fanore Beach:
Fanore is located on the main road from Doolin to Ballyvaughan and this road is well worth a drive on your visit to the Burren. It has some fantastic views on a clear day
This large sandy beach and clear water is very popular with walkers, swimmers and surfers.
Fanore Beach is on the northwest coast of the Burren and its golden arc of sand with the backdrop of bare limestone hill make this a very distinctive Geosite.
Ample parking space with clean toilets are available.
The views are spectacular from this beach, especially the rock formations.
From Murrooghtoohy, you can get magnificent views of the whole of Galway Bay from the Aran Islands to Oranmore Bay east of Galway City, with a back drop of the Connemara mountains.
Another place which you can cover is the ‘Flaggy Shore’. I have personally not visited this place during our trip.
6) Ailwee Caves/ Birds of Prey Center:
This was First discovered by a local farmer in 1940.
Later only in the year of 1973 is when he shared this information with a group of students (Cavers). The cave had been fully explored and mapped in 1977. The cave is not operational currently.
Formed by water flowing through cracks in the limestone hill, it is one of the oldest caves in the Burren. The remains of bears can also be seen inside the caves and allusions have been made to it being the last bear den in Ireland. There is a also a very small water fall inside the cave.
You can also visit the Birds of Prey Center which is in the same campus.
There is a ticket to get inside the caves and the prey center
Individual tickets will cost around 7 Euros and the 2 attractions combined will cost around 12 Euros. The cave ticket charge includes a guided tour. The tour takes approximate 30-35 minutes and is a great option for people who have never visited any caves in their life time.
The bird centre is the home to one of the largest and most varied collections of Birds of Prey in Ireland – Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, Owls and Vultures to name but a few.
It’s a nice place where you will get a chance to see some trained birds in flight. You can also have them land on your hand which was very exciting for the younger members in our group. Birds Flying Display are daily at 12noon & 3.00pm
There is a also a Café and a gift shop within the cave campus. Lot of parking space is also available.
7) Poulnabrone Dolmen Tomb:
It’s an amazing view to see the rocks that heavy, that high off the ground and that too around 5000 years ago when there was no much machinery available.
I know from reading about this tomb that it was put back together a couple of years ago as one of the supports fractured or was going to collapse, but it still doesn’t take away from the sheer wonderment of something so old.
The site is very quite and free of charge. There is parking space available and information signs on the way from the carpark to the tomb itself. It is off the beaten track to get to this.
8) Kilimer Port:
We desperately wanted to cover a Ferry trip during this 5 days but unfortunately most of the services were not operational due to winter.
Finally we decided to take Shannon ferry which goes from Kilimer port to the Kerry island(Tarbert Port)
You can keep this as an optional plan in your trip as the driving distance is more.
Kilimer to Tarbert takes around 20 minutes one side in the ferry.
Website –> https://www.shannonferries.com/
Detailed Schedule can be found below:
Shannon Ferries also provides a discount (15%) for the online booking.
The return Car fare cost is around 30 Euros (25.50 for Online). They charge only for the vehicles and no additional charges for the passengers in the car. You can simply drive in to the ferry and the tickets will be given during the journey.
There is a snack shop inside the ferry but it was closed (not sure if its due to the Winter season)
There are Toilets available within the ferry.
In case if you plan to take this Ferry to explore Kerry, I would suggest you to take morning trips.
The main attractions like the ‘Rings of Kerry’ would take a minimum of 2 hrs from the Tarbert Port.
We took the return trip in the ferry back to Kilimer Port and went to the Airbnb accommodation that was prebooked near ‘Cliffs of Moher’.
In case if you are near Kilimer and want to explore some other places near by(avoiding ferry to Kerry), I would suggest some of the below places:
Loop Head Light House
Road map- Day 5:
Places covered on Day 5:
Cliffs of Moher and then Back to Dublin
Cliffs of Moher:
This was the last day of our 5 day road trip. We wanted to spend some quality time at the cliffs and hence decided to reach there in the morning itself.
One of the important things to be noted is that we need to take tickets to visit the cliffs.
At the gate, it’s a flat rate of 8 Euros. (For adults). For Children up to 16 years, it’s a free ticket.
If you book online (at least one day in advance), you need to pay only the half amount of 4 Euros for the morning and evening visits.
Morning visit time is between 08:00 – 10:59 (Means you can enter any time between 8:00 and 10:59)
Evening visit time is between 16:00 – 19:00
More information and ticket booking @ https://bookings.cliffsofmoher.ie/
The Cliffs of Moher are located about 90 minutes south of Galway or 3 hours from Dublin on Ireland’s west coast in County Clare. This might be the most famous destination in the entire scenic wild Atlantic way. The cliffs run for around 10+ kms and at some places, it rise to a maximum height of 214 metres (702 feet) above the Atlantic Ocean. It ranks one among the most visited tourist sites in Ireland, with around 1.5 million visits per annum.
You can also visit the Cliffs of Moher visitor’s center. This state-of-the-art underground visitor centre features various interactive exhibits, images and displays that can be enjoyed by people of all age groups. There are some restaurants and public toilets available within this center.
There’s also a observatory tower here with a ticket of 2 Euros. But now its closed for some major maintenance work.
The parking area is huge. But you will have to walk a long distance to reach the cliffs from the parking area (Private vehicles).
There are safety barriers which prevents visitors from going near the cliff. However, if you keep walking away from the Visitor’s center, the barrier ends. So be a little careful and dare not to go near the edge. Already many have lost their life here.
During summer, you can use the boat trips to experience the cliffs from the water and there are Helicopter rides to see the cliffs from the top. In winter, such options are not available.
If you have only limited time in Dublin and want to cover this scenic cliffs, you can search and book for day trips. There are many companies like ‘Wild Rover Tours’ , ‘PaddyWagon’ and so on arranging such trips.
If you’re into photography you’ll want to stick around and wander along the coastal walk since there are many different vantage points to enjoy.
Being one of the busiest attractions in Ireland, you are bound to find visitors all year round, however July and August are the peak months.
It’s recommended that you leave at least half a day(or atleast 3-4 Hours) for your visit to the Cliffs of Moher, as the site isn’t simply a pretty tourist destination but also includes an impressive number of hiking trails that offer spectacular views of their own.
We had stayed in Pake’s Cottage (Near to Cliffs of Moher)
In this entire 5 days road trip, Grandma’s Products helped us to have some homely Dinner.