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, sooth the soul and explore the outdoors than a good walk. Whether you live in Co Clare or are just visiting, make sure you get the layers on and brave the elements for a stroll in the wilds of the Banner County. The following are some of our favourite walks in Clare, and it is by no means exhaustive, so please let us know about your favourite routes!
1. Dromore Wood Nature Reserve
OS Map: 58
An easy yet beautiful walk through the southeastern extremity of the Burren region that will take you approximately two hours. The 400 hectares Dromore Woodland Nature Reserve is known for the diversity of its flora and fauna. It is packed with natures marvels to explore, with a river, lakes, limestone pavement, and rich woodland species. Plus several historical 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
OS Map: 51
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 arrow on white background 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
OS Map: 63
The Kilkee cliff walk is every bit as mesmerizing as the cliffs of Moher, 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 be careful!
4. The Lough Avalla Farm Loop
OS Map: 51
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. At a height, you’ll be treated to views of Mullaghmore. Keep an eye out for the delightful details left my a local farmer along the way. A stash of handmade hazel walking sticks for visitors to use and drop back. Handmade hazel gates and stiles, and two glass mugs from 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
OS Map: 51 and 77
A better way to see the cliffs then simply parking up across the road from them, the best views are always on the approach and well earned! The full walk is 18km long, but really you can start and finish anywhere, so make it as short as you like. But be warned it is an exposed cliff top 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 start point is Liscannor.
6. The Burren Way
OS Maps: 51, 52, 57 and 58
For a long distance walk in Clare, then the Burren Way is exactly what you are looking for. 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 around the quiet tarmac roads, forest paths, tracks and up a few of the sweat-inducing climbs.
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