Cliff Coast

Galway City to Limerick City

3 Days
  • Beaches
  • Coastal Views
  • Burren National Park
  • Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre
  • Loop Head Lighthouse
Must-see

Leaving Galway, the next route along the Wild Atlantic Way is Cliff Coast, and this drive will see you travelling through County Clare before arriving in Limerick.  The highlight of this route is the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and The Burren area, while the towns of Doolin, Lisdoonvarna, Lahinch, Doonbeg and Kilkee will provide a real taste of Cliff Coast, one of the most famous coastal stretches in Ireland.  Indeed, the town of Doolin is the traditional music capital of Ireland, so you’re sure to come across a trad session or two as you venture along Cliff Coast.

Day 1

Galway City to Doolin

As you leave Galway to head into ‘The Banner County’, prepare to see some of the most amazing scenery anywhere on the island of Ireland (if not Europe). The UNESCO Global Geopark at the Burren and Cliffs of Moher are the undoubted highlight of this leg of your route, but the towns of Lisdonvarna and Doolin offer plenty for visitors to see and do.

Visit Doolin, the home of traditional Irish music

Travelling south from Galway City, you’ll pass the towns of Doolin and Lisdonvarna. Doolin is recognised as the home of traditional Irish music, so music lovers among you might want to consider staying the night in Doolin to enjoy one of the many trad nights in the towns bars. Outdoor activities are extremely popular in this area and while the town is traditionally a fishing area, you can enjoy activities like caving, scuba diving, rock climbing, hill walking and mountain biking, so the adventurous among you might want to spend more time exploring Doolin.

Be sure to stop off at Doolin Cave, home to the largest stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. Catch a ferry from Doolin to explore the nearby Aran Islands or explore the Cliffs of Moher by land.

Explore the truly unique Burren area

Perhaps the most famous landscape along the whole of the Wild Atlantic Way, The Burren and Cliffs of Moher are a UNESCO Global Geopark and a must see for anyone exploring Ireland’s west coast. With one of the most unique eco-systems in Europe, The Burren has an almost moonlike, lunar landscape that is just waiting to be explored. With numerous walking routes and discovery points across The Burren, give yourself plenty of time to explore this truly unique landscape.  If you’re travelling with kids, a visit to the Burren Nature Sanctuary is a must.

Some of the highlights of The Burren area include Lisdoonvarna Spa Wells, Burren National Park, Lough Bunny, Burren Perfumery and the Michael Cusack Centre. While driving through The Burren, keep an eye out for Father Ted’s Parochial House, which is located in Lackareagh. It’s not the easiest to find but is a popular spot for photos among those who find it. For fans of the hit TV show, be sure to take a tour of the real Craggy Island (which isn’t an island but rural Clare) with Teds Tours.

 

Burren National Park

Burren National Park

Explore 1500 hectares of stunning limestone dominated landscape by driving through Burren National Park.

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Doolin Cave

Doolin Cave

Discover the Great Stalactite as you marvel at Doolin Cave.

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Doolin Cliff Walk

Doolin Cliff Walk

Explore the stunning cliffs of Clare's coastline with the Doolin Cliff Walk.

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Day 2

Doolin to Kilkee

As you leave Doolin on day 4, take more time exploring the vast landscape of The Burren as you’ll likely have so much more to see and do. As you make your way to the town of Kilkee, you’ll pass the Cliffs of Moher, perhaps the most popular attraction along the Wild Atlantic Way. You’ll also pass through the popular seaside town of Lahinch, famous for its beaches which attract surfers, and links golf course which attracts keen golfers throughout the year.

Marvel at the Cliffs of Moher

Very few places in Ireland will leave you as speechless as the Cliffs of Moher, and these enormous cliffs are the real superstars of Clare (if not The Wild Atlantic Way). Start out by finding out more about the story of the cliffs at the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre before heading out to see the real thing.

Beginning at Hags Head and continuing on for as far as the eye can see (8km to be exact), these cliffs will provide the perfect backdrop for the most memorable of photo opportunities for your trip. A location fit for a Hollywood story, the Cliffs of Moher have appeared in a number of blockbuster movies including Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. O’Briens Tower is one of the most photographed Irish landmarks and sits proudly along the cliff edge of ‘The Cliffs’, while you can also enjoy a cruise of this rugged landscape from nearby Doolin. The visitor centre is the best location to avail of these majestic views, but do take time to stop at the different viewpoints along the way.

Surfs up at Lahinch

As you head south from the Cliffs of Moher, the next big town you’ll hit is Lahinch, one of Ireland’s surfing hotspots, and a popular holiday destination for many during the summer months. Surfing is just one of the many popular water sports in Lahinch, and on a warm, clear day, the beaches will be filled with surfers of all levels and abilities. If golf is more your thing, Lahinch has some of Ireland’s best links golf courses with the old course at Lahinch Golf Club regularly voted among the best in the land. When you finish with the waves and the fairway, make your way to one of the towns many watering holes to enjoy a music session.

Final stop, Kilkee and Loop Head Peninsula

Voted the best place to holiday in Ireland by the Irish Times readers, Loop Head Peninsula is the perfect place to end another day of travelling along the Atlantic Way. Birdwatching is popular along Loop Head, but it’s another type of animal that draws in the crowds – dolphins. As the River Shannon opens up to the Atlantic Ocean at Carrigaholt, Europe’s largest collection of bottlenose dolphins call this part of Ireland home. Take the boat from Carrigaholt Pier and prepare for an amazing sea adventure that you’ll remember for many years to come.

Diving, coasteering and other water sports are popular around Loop Head. Call it a night in the popular Victorian town of Kilkee. Kilkee is the main town of the Loop Head Peninsula and offers many scenic walking routes for visitors along with some great restaurants and bars to enjoy a night in. Kilkee is also one of the most popular scuba diving spots in Ireland with Duggerna Reef considered one of the best places to dive in the whole of Europe. If you’re blessed with the weather, take time to relax at Kilkee beach, one of Ireland’s best beaches.

Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre

Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre

Discover the history and geological significance behind one of Ireland's most visited tourist attractions.

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Dolphin Watching at Loop Head

Dolphin Watching at Loop Head

As the River Shannon meets the Atlantic at Carrigaholt, Europe's largest group of bottlenose dolphins await your visit.

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Lahinch Golf Club

Lahinch Golf Club

Tee off at one of Ireland's finest links courses in Lahinch, Co. Clare.

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Loop Head Lighthouse

Loop Head Lighthouse

Perched right at the end of Loop Head Peninsula is the spectacular Loop Head Lighthouse which has been shining a light at sea since 1670.

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Day 3

Kilkee to Limerick City

As you leave Kilkee and County Clare behind, you can choose to continue venturing south and head into Kerry by ferry at the town of Killimer and travel along the Southern Peninsulas route. Alternatively, you can spend the day exploring Limerick City and other popular towns in Clare like Ennis and Bunratty (home of the famous Bunratty Castle and Folk Park). The choice is yours, but either way, you are sure to have another day packed with some of Ireland’s finest sites.

Before leaving Kilkee, take the time to explore the area on foot as you walk the popular Kilkee Cliff Walk, a great way to start the day.

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

As you leave Loop Peninsula and pass the towns of Kilrush, Killimer, Ballynacally and Latbon, make the town of Bunratty your first stop for the day. Originally built in 1425, Bunratty Castle was restored to its medieval glory in 1954 complete with many 15th and 16th century furnishings and art work, making it a popular destination for art and history buffs. The adjoining folk park and walled garden have transformed the gardens of Bunratty into an area for everyone, regardless of whether or not you are interested in arts and culture.

Visit Thomond Park

From Bunratty, make your way to Limerick City and take time exploring ‘Treaty City’. Famed as Ireland’s sporting capital, try to tie your trip to Limerick in with a game of rugby at the famous home of Munster, Thomond Park. If you are visiting midweek or during the off season, book a tour of Thomond Park Museum and relive the recent and historical successes of Munster, including the story of the famous victory over the All Blacks in 1978. A full stadium tour allows you to follow in the footsteps of Irish rugby legends Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara, Donncha O’Callaghan, John Hayes and Peter Stringer in visiting the changing rooms, heading pitch side and even taking your seat in the dugouts.

Explore Limerick City

From Thomond Park, make your way towards the centre of Limerick and get to know the city a little more intimately. Take a tour of the city on foot, by boat or by bus and take in the famous attractions on offer in Limerick. Celebrate the medieval past of the city by visiting King’s Island, home of King John’s Castle and the nearby St Mary’s Cathedral and Hunt Museum. The Georgian Quarter and Greystones areas of the city are popular for bars, cafes and restaurants while The Milk Market is one of the finest indoor artisan food markets in Ireland, and a must see.

You can find out more about the city’s past by paying a visit to The Limerick Museum, or if maritime and aviation is your thing, make the trip to the town of Foynes and visit The Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum. Ireland’s third largest city, Limerick has a bustling nightlife, so if you are looking for music, entertainment and a taste of nightlife in Limerick, you’ll not have to venture far to sample the famous Limerick atmosphere.

Kilkee Cliff Walk

Kilkee Cliff Walk

Walk the picturesque cliffs at Kilkee and marvel at the spectacular natural landscape.

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King John’s Castle

King John’s Castle

Uncover over 800 years of Limerick City history at King John's Castle.

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