The Wild Atlantic Way's Cliff Coast - County Clare & County Kerry
With Rain comes Rainbows!
After a nice afternoon in Galway City and a pleasant stay at the Kinvara Guest House that night, I drove the next part of the Wild Atlantic Way route from there to Glencarrig, Co. Clare. The weather was unfortunately rainy and so misty that a lot of the main attractions along this stretch of road were not visible. A lot of disappointed tourists I imagine. Fortunately, I have been here a few times before so I can recommend highlights for the Cliff Coast that you should try to see!
- The Cliffs of Mohr - A definite 'Must See' as these are the number 1 tourist attraction in all of Ireland. Just breathtaking, so if you can't see them one day due to weather, then drive on and try to loop back. They are worth it. You have probably seen the iconic picture of them whenever you see an advertisement about Ireland. Seeing them in person is inspirational though.
- The surf town of Lehinch is a good spot to stop, sit and have a coffee, maybe watch the surfers or walk the beach. I have watched the surfers here late in the evening as the sun goes down and melts into the Ocean facing due West. Really beautiful and as the sun sets very late in Summer here (nearly 11:30 pm some nights), it is a perfect place for a cocktail or beer on a pleasant evening.
- The town of Kilkee is a good spot to stop for a walk on either the beach or up on the cliffs near the Diamond Rocks Cafe (at the southern end of town, up the hill). The beach and bay in Kilkee are quite good for swimming in summer and there is an indoor water theme park.
- At the end of the peninsula is Loop Head Lighthouse. One of the series of '12 Great Lighthouses of Ireland' that you can stay in. This is a working lighthouse and until recently, the lighthouse keeper had lived and maintained it for many years before his recent passing.
- I stayed the night in Glencarrig at a Farmhouse B&B. The owners also do sportfishing tours for visitors to the area. The pictures of the more than satisfied visitors and their variety of 'catch of the days' was most impressive. So fishing is definitely an option for tourists if you are so inclined!
- The next day I took the Ferry from Kilrush, County Clare across the Shannon River to County Kerry (19 euro one way). It runs regularly and was very efficient. It cut off going through Limerick and saved a lot of driving time (probably close to 2.5 or 3 hours). However, if the weather is bad then I suggest going on through Limerick and stopping at Bunratty Castle & Folkpark (definitely interesting history. It's not far from Shannon Airport either). Good shopping location here, just across the road from Bunratty, where you can also get lunch.
- Stopping at the charming towns of Adare or Glin are also great rainy day ideas (or even splash out on a little luxury) by spending a night in one of these castle/manor house hotels. Both Adare Manor and Glin Castle accommodate guests in their way and have impressive grounds with all sorts of activities available.
- If you are up for a bit of golf then both Adare Manor (course designed originally by Robert Trent Jones Jr) and Ballybunion (Ireland's most famous links course adjacent to the seafront) are also part of the Cliff Coast region. I understand Ballybunion has just had a recent restructuring/maintenance update of their course too.
- Finally, the large market town of Tralee is at the end of this section of the route. Quite big and busy and perhaps a good place to stop for the night before you venture further.
Loop Head Lighthouse
It's on to the Southern Peninsula region next!