Had enough of surf and seafood for the moment? Then there are plenty of stunning trails waiting to be walked in Co Clare.

There is no cheaper way to clear the head, soothe the soul and explore the outdoors than a good walk. Whether you live in Co Clare or are just visiting, make sure you pack your rain gear and head out into the elements for a stroll in the wilds of the Banner County. The following are some of our favourite walks in Clare. We know it’s not an exhaustive list though, so please let us know about your favourite routes!

1. Dromore Wood Nature Reserve

Distance: 6km

OS Map: 58

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This easy yet beautiful walk through the southeastern area of the Burren region will take you approximately two hours. The 400-hectare Dromore Woodland Nature Reserve is known for the diversity of its flora and fauna. It is packed with nature’ marvels to explore with a river, lakes, limestone pavement, and rich woodland species. It also has several historic sites, including the 17th century O’Brien Castle, the site of Cahermacrea Castle, the site of Kilakee Church, two ring forts and a lime kiln. Start from the village of Ruan (northwest of Ennis town) and follow the purple National Loop arrow.

2. Caher Valley Loop

Distance: 14.5km

OS Map: 51

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This is a bit of a tougher walk than the first, with 300m of climbing. It will take 3 hrs 30 mins to complete. Follow the red arrows on white backgrounds up the Caher Valley on a minor road before following an elevated green road. Make sure to look up from your feet and take in the stunning views of the surrounding Burren landscape, paying close attention to the views of the Aran Islands which are particularly spectacular.

3. Kilkee Cliff Walk

Distance: 8km

OS Map: 63

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The Kilkee cliff walk is every bit as mesmerising as the Cliffs of Moher trail – just without the crowds or the fencing! Some of the key attractions of this 8km cliff walk are the Pollock Holes, Diamond Rocks and Intrinsic Bay. The usual start point is at the Diamond Rocks Café at the West End of the town of Kilkee. There are no walls between the walkway and the cliff’s edge, so you’ll get your daily dose of adrenaline just by walking. But remember to be careful!

Things to do in Clare: the complete guide for the outdoor enthusiast

4. The Lough Avalla Farm Loop

Distance: 8km

OS Map: 51

Lough Avalla Farm Loop Walk.
Photo: Eoin Hogan

This is the perfect walk to experience the beauty of the Burren National Park. The trail is easy but has a few challenging spots, so allow two to three hours to complete it. Meander through the classic Burren limestone pavement and note the fascinating geological features. As you gain height, you’ll be treated to views of Mullaghmore. Keep an eye out for the delightful details left by a local farmer along the way. They include a stash of handmade hazel walking sticks for visitors to use and drop back, handmade hazel gates and stiles, and two glass mugs by a hazel tree to allow walkers to drink from the well. It’s rumoured to cure diabetes!

Check out everything you need to know about the Lough Avalla Farm Loop.

5. Cliffs Of Moher Coastal Walk

Distance: 18km

OS Map: 51 and 77

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This route offers a much better way to see the Cliffs of Moher than simply parking up across the road from them. Walk to the cliffs and you’ll enjoy the best views on the approach! The full Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk is 18km long, but really you can start and finish anywhere, so make it as short as you like. But be warned, this route is along an exposed clifftop path so it requires some common sense and a healthy level of fitness. Combining steep ascents, flagstone steps and farm tracks, the Cliffs Of Moher Coastal Walk is a tough but spectacular walk. It will take four and half hours and is waymarked with a blue arrow on a white background. The usual starting point is Liscannor.

6. The Burren Way

Distance: 114km

OS Maps: 51, 52, 57 and 58

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For a long-distance walk in Clare, the Burren Way is a great choice. The Burren is well known for its unusual landscape and what better way to experience the limestone pavements than on foot. Winding its way from Lahinch to Corrofin, the karst landscape of bedrock makes for a piercing contrast to the deep emerald green of the Atlantic swell below. It will take around five days to make your way along the quiet tarmac roads, forest paths, tracks and up a few of the sweat-inducing climbs.

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By Orla O'Muiri

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