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County Clare

Photo of County Clare

About County Clare

Visiting County Clare is a multi-sensory, hot and cold Irish experience. Firstly you have the wild, windswept beauty of the landscape and the desolate, dramatically pounding Atlantic coastline. Then you've the wonderful warm of traditional Irish music, which doesn't just live on in County Clare, it flourishes in hundreds of different venues. There is a wide range of accommodation on offer and the best places to stay vary from bijou B&Bs to country house hotels.

County Clare is home of the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, on the edge of the strange, rocky landscape of the Burren. Despite the fact that nothing but grasses grow on this vast limestone sheet, the Burren has been inhabited since the building of the Pyramids, and some of Ireland's oldest monuments and archaeological treasure can be found here. Including the Caherconnell stone ring fort and Poulnabrone Dolmen, a five and a half thousand year old burial chamber.

As well as being windswept and interesting, and musical and welcoming, Clare is also is a much appreciated backdrop for outdoor pursuits. In addition to all the walking and biking routes, there's golf courses, surfing, diving, kayaking, sailing, horse riding and both freshwater and saltwater fishing. There are probably other things you can do as well, these are just the ones the area's especially known for.

Ennis is the regional capital, and a good place to hear a lot of music - but then so is the smaller village of Doolin, unofficial world capital of Irish folk music. If you stay, or pass through Ennis, you might want to visit the famous friary.

Some of County Clare's other highlights are:

  • Bunratty and Knappogue Castles, where you can also attend a medieval banquet;
  • Quin Abbey;
  • and the Bronze Age village by Craggaunowen castle.

If you're from around these parts, but a long time back, Corofin is the place you'll want to be heading to, as this is where you'll find the Clare Heritage and Genealogical Research Centre.

For foodies

  • Gregans Castle Hotel is the perfect place to stay if you're trying to finish a book - remote, peaceful, beautiful and historic. CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and Seamus Heaney have all stayed here and enjoyed the serenity. Though it might not have has the same 3 AA Rosettes then, it would still have been a great country escape for birdwatching and long walks.

Country inn

  • If you're here for the great outdoors, then the Wild Honey Inn in the Burren is one of the best places to stay in County Clare. This great little counrty inn is close to two great surf beaches, a golf course and plenty of walking and biking trails. And apparently the food is excellent, and the garden charming.

Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in County Clare, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice.

Best Hotels in County Clare

  • Wild Honey Inn 14 rooms from $91

    Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, County Clare

    Traditional country inn serving fabulous food in The Burren. Fourteen simple but stylish rooms with plenty of options for families. Charming garden for relaxation and loads of activities close by: walking, cycling, surfing...A great value base for exploring Ireland's rugged West Coast.

    Sights nearby  -  The Cliffs of Moher are just down the road or you can get a ferry to the Aran Islands from Doolin.
    Great walks  -  Situated in The Burren where there is fantastic walking
    Views  -  All rooms have views of the surrounding countryside
    Surfing  -  Lahinch and Fanore beaches are within easy reach
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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  • Sheedy's 11 rooms from $126

    County Clare

    Welcoming 18th century country house. Traditional bedroom interiors feature writing desks, sofas and modern bathrooms. Library and lounge to relax in. Excellent menu with focus on Irish seafood. A great spot to explore the coast.

    Active Holiday  -  With the cliffs of Moher just a ten minute drive, with coastal walks and surfing, return to cosy hotel for gourmet dinner
    Great walks  -  The Burren Way stretches from Doolin to Ballyvaughan
    Sights nearby  -  Aran Islands is a fantastic day trip
    Surfing  -  Lahinch Surf School
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  • Gregans Castle Hotel 21 rooms from $269

    Ballyvaughan, County Clare

    18th century manor house hotel with literary connections within a scenic national park in Western Ireland. Rooms have stylish contemporary decor, views are sublime and the food is award winning. Very family friendly, some rooms even have a small private garden area, and dogs are welcome too.

    Child friendly  -  There are a selection of family rooms some with direct access to their own garden area.
    Foodies  -  3 AA Rosette standard fine dining.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Outstanding location
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller, Sawdays
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