County Clare is one of my favourite counties, I love the rugged landscape, the rolling green hills, the slow-paced rural life… so I will most likely have another post with new adventures next time I go back. For anyone who doesn’t know where this county is, here’s a map:
So far, I have been to this county on two separate occasions so I will put both experiences in here!
Quin is a quite and peaceful village perfect if you feel like getting away from the city life. The people in Quin are welcoming and friendly, and very hospitable. Quin was historically an import site for gold in the prehistoric days.
There is a beautiful well preserved abbey built, right beside a 13th century Gothic style church. Visitors are free to explore the church, climb it’s spiral staircase and take in the surrounding area’s countryside. The abbey was home to monks, with the last monk in occupation in 1820.
There is a pub/restaurant just across the road which is a great place to grab some comfort food and a pint at The Abbey Tavern.
The next place I stayed just outside of Ennistimon along a quiet country road by the river around small holdings. The town of Ennistimon offers a few traditional pubs were you can sit back, grab some food and listen to some local music. (Next time I will remember to take a few pictures!) Anyway, it’s lovely for a base camp to explore the surrounding area. Places nearby are the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin.
Cliffs of Moher
Wow! The Cliffs of Moher are always a treat to go to. I do recommend that anyone who goes should make sure to bring along a rain jacket and something warm! It can get quite breezy and drizzle is common in this part of the country.
The cliffs run along the coast for 14 Km, with a height of 120 m in the South to max height of 214 m. From O’Brien’s Tower – pictured below – visitors can purchase a ticket to climb to the top, offering spectacular views of Galway Bay with Aran Islands, the Twelve Pins mountains, and Loop Head (on a clear day!)
This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Republic so it will be crowded despite any weather conditions, so brace yourself! With that being said… the cliffs are worth it! Lovely walks up and down the cliffs with endless scenic beauty.
The guest center is also worth a mention. It was built in 2007, taking 17 years to build. It was created with the intention of the least amount of environmental impact, and they took visual impact into account! It reminds me more of the hobbit houses than anything else, all built into the hills. It comes complete with solar panels, grey water recycling and geothermal heating and cooling!
Like exploring caves? Not sure? Give it a try! You are given a hard hat, making you feel like an explorer. It’s a limestone cave with the longest known free hanging stalactite in Europe! The impressive stalactite was formed by a constant dripping of water over thousands of years.
The area around the caves – the Burren was a tropical lagoon near the equator 350 million years ago, and in the photo below you can see the water line of the lagoon.
The caves are also home to some prehistoric fossils that you can see on the tour – image below.
The Rock Shop is worth a mention for when you are in the area of the Cliffs. It’s a shop full of collectible stones, fossils and gemstones. It’s a great place to find unique and eye catching jewelry, grab a souvenir or two and have some of their great coffee. It’s the perfect stop to stretch your legs a little.