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County Clare is home to some Ireland’s finest walking trails and looped walks. Added to this are fascinating local walking guides who will help you discover the stories behind the landscape.
www.shannonregiontrails.com is a great resource for walking trails.
The Lonely Planet has dubbed North Clare one of the 5 best cycling routes in the world and there are a number of marked cycling routes throughout the area. Bike hire is available throughout the county with electric bikes also on offer.
The Burren is famous for its flora from many varying origins with arctic and alpine plants growing next to tropical ferns and Mediterranean flowers
Rock climbing and caving are popular in the Burren area. Horse riding is available at various locations throughout the county and can prove a wonderful way to see the landscape.
Bird & Wildlife Watching
Dolphin watching cruises are available at Carrigaholt & Kilrush and the Shannon Estuary is home to large pod of bottlenose dolphins. Those taking the ferries from Doolin to the Aran Islands will often see marine wildlife such as dolphins, seals and basking sharks.
Cliffs of Moher
The cruises along the base of the Cliffs of Moher are excellent ways of viewing seabirds during the bird nesting season from April to August and can provide a completely different view of the Cliffs of Moher. The Loop Head peninsula also offers wonderful bird watching opportunities.
A pair of white tailed sea eagles have recently be seen building a nest on a small island Lough Derg visible from the pier in Mountshannon. There are many lakeland and river spots that lend themselves to viewing the local birdlife.
Heritage & Genealogy
There’s no better place than County Clare to get in touch with your roots from tracing your family tree to learning the old stories of your family and people. A number of genealogical resources are available to you.
Tap into the counties heritage with a walking tour, a traditional ceili or set dancing night or a mediaeval banquet in a castle.
As well as cookery schools and classes you can enjoy tastings at a number of County Clare food producers from St Tola Cheese to the Burren Smokehouse to Wildes Irish Chocolates to Linnalla Icecream. A series of Food related activities takes place in the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark every Monday night from April to October. For more information see www.burrenecotourism.com.
Fishing & Angling
Clare’s coast offers deep sea and rock fishing opportunities and the counties many lakes and rivers are a mecca for anglers. Equipment and boat hire as well as instruction are available.
Those with a musical inclination will find wonderful musical festivals the length and breadth of County Clare with the famous Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay running for over 40 years at the start of July just one of a host of festivals.
Beaches and Water sport
North Clare is home to numerous blue flag beaches. Lahinch, White Strand, Spanish Point and Fanore are among the most popular beaches in North Clare. These beaches are excellent for beach activities., walking and have an abundance of water sport activities.
Book yourself a surf lesson and try catching a wave! Lahinch is a great spot for starting your surf career; the swell is usually good; the beach breaks suit beginner to intermediate; while the reef breaks are more suited to upper intermediate to advanced levels. You can also rent surfboards from the many surf shops in the area or from any of the surf rental vans that line the promenade. Check the surf on www.magicseaweed.com to check what the waves are like. Surfing is also available at Fanore, Spanish Point, Doonbeg & Kilkee.
Sometimes all you want is a walk on the beach to clear your head; the beaches in Clare are safe and scenic, what more could you ask for?
Paddle boarding has been popular in recent years and this can be tried at the White Strand, Spanish Point where the water is usually flat and calm. For other thrill seekers, there are companies that will bring you on guided kayaking trips. If you are a kayaker you may want to take a look at the Falls in Ennistymon. http://www.irishwhitewater.com/river_guide/gallery/view_pic.php?id=349.
Diving is also available at various locations along the coast with a rich marine life to be encountered. The famous marine explorer Jacques Cousteau referred to the waters off the coast of Clare as some of the best cold water diving in the world.
County Clare is home to internationally renowned links and parkland courses including the Old Course and Castle Course at Lahinch, the Greg Norman designed links course at Doonbeg, the rolling greens of Dromoland Castle Golf & Country Club, the unspoilt views of East Clare Golf Club in Bodyke not to mention courses at Ennis, Kilkee, Kilrush, Shannon, Spanish Point and Woodstock. There are also a number of Par 3 or Pitch & Putt course around the county. Golf & club hire, caddies and golf instructors are available at most locations and a number of golf tour specialist also operate tours to the county
The Clare Tourist Forum website www.clare.ie