Unique Places in County Clare

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by pfsmalo
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by pfsmalo
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by pfsmalo

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in County Clare

  • leafmcgowan's Profile Photo

    Poulnabrone Portal Tomb

    by leafmcgowan Updated Nov 2, 2010

    In the heart of the Burren, sits the infamous Irish "hole of sorrows". It is a portal tomb that dates back to the Neolithic, approximately between 4,200 and 2,900 B.C.E. dolmen consists of a 12' tall, thin, slab-like tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones. The construction creates a 9m low cairn chamber that has a north facing entrance. Excavations in the area uncovered between 16 and 22 adults with 6 children buried underneath the monument. Personal effects included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons, and pottery. A later burial of a newborn baby was found in the portico just outside the entrance. This sacred space was most likely used for ceremonies and rituals as well as the burials.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Photography

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  • donpaul77's Profile Photo

    The East Clare Way

    by donpaul77 Updated Feb 17, 2010

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    The East Clare Way is one of several long distance walking routes in Ireland. These routes are loop walks and can be broken up into day-hike sized sections. The idea is that you could hike all day and stay in a B&B at night.

    Since I was staying locally, I arranged to be picked up at the end of each day and dropped off at the same point the next day. I completed about three sections of it, beginning with Killaloe to Broadford, Broadford to O'Callaghan's Mills, and then from Tulla, into Feakle, ending with a pint at Pepper's Bar. I was blown away by the things I saw, heard and even smelled!

    The messiest bit was from Tulla to Feakle, as we had to cross an expanse of wet bog. All along the way there are places of interest, such as tombs, castles, churches and plant and wildlife, along with the tremendously varied terrain.

    I highly recommend picking up a good map and guidebook. Not just to for planning your hike, but for appreciating all the amazing stuff you will be seeing. The map published by the East Clare Way Limited has a lot of good detail, including where you can expect to find food, drink, lodging and music.

    Guidebooks can be found at:

    Mid/East Clare Way Office
    Ennis Tourist Office
    Ennis Book Shop
    Killaloe Tourist Office
    Bane's Tourist Information Point Scariff
    and online at the link below.

    Crossing the bog Maps, the key to explorarion Pepper's bar in feakle A well earned pint Just one many views
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    A step back in time...

    by donpaul77 Updated Jan 18, 2010

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    O'Callaghan's Mills is home to two of my favorite pubs in Ireland. One of these is the BlackSticks. If you can find it you should drop in for a pint and experience an old-school country pub. The Blacksticks is small and spartan and the seating is limited to three benches along three walls in a sort of a horse shoe shape. There is no such thing as a private conversation here. You will only be a stranger for a few minutes because you can't help but converse with the people who are sitting so close by you. The floor is concrete and the bathrooms are outside, but I always feel really comfortable here. I've heard it argued that they pour the best pint of Guinness outside of Dublin. Of course, I've heard that argued many places.

    While you're there, look on the wall for a picture of Biddy, the pub's former owner. According to history, Biddy used to doze off on the stool behind the bar, so if you wanted a pint, you would have to wake her up. Like many old pubs, the Blacksticks was also a general store of sorts where you could buy tea and bread and things like that, if you hadn't anything at home for your breakfast.

    Pubs like this are dying out, as the exceptionally strict drunk driving laws are keeping people at home. When you see a place like this, drop in and give them some business. Hopefully they won't all disappear.

    Make sure you call before visiting the 'Sticks, as they are open odd hours.

    A very small session in the Blacksticks
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel
    • Beer Tasting

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    LoopHead peninsula and the Bridges of Ross

    by donpaul77 Updated Oct 23, 2009

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    If you want to get away from the crowded Cliffs of Moher then drive south along the coast towards Loop Head. This area is unfrequented compared to Moher, but is graced with natural beauty. The most outstanding natural feature on the trip down here are the Bridges of Ross. They are natural arches carved by the see. Several of them have collapsed, but some still remain. Use your own judgment in venturing out on these things. No railings and, most of the time, no one around to call for help. It's a nice spot for a picnic.

    You can continue your drive south along the Loop Head Drive to the light house. The area feels very remote and you can breath in the atmosphere. There is much to see and do here, so a few hours up to a half day is appropriate.

    DIRECTIONS:LoopHead is in the southwest of Clare. From the Cliffs, follow the most coastal roads. The r478 to the n67 will get you on your way.

    NOTE: If you go there from the Cliffs of Moher, you pass through some cool villages: Lahinch, and Miltown Malbay.

    The website below has some good info on the area.

    A view from the Bridges of Ross A view from the Bridges of Ross A view from the Bridges of Ross Carrigaholt Castle, Loophead
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching

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  • donpaul77's Profile Photo

    Dysert O'Dea Church and High Cross

    by donpaul77 Updated Mar 31, 2009

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    Near Dysert O'Dea castle is the beautiful ruin of O'Dea Church and round tower, as well as a massive high cross. Unlike O'Dea Castle, access to the church ruin is free. The castle is well preserved/restored, and is certainly worth a visit, but I enjoyed walking across the field, past the high cross to roam around the church ruins.

    The church dates back to the 12th century and features a wonderfully detailed Roman archway. The high cross is located to the east of the church, and the ruin of the round tower is right next to the church.

    Located off the R476, 5kms south od Corofin, 11kms north of Ennis

    The link below has good directions to the cross and church.

    scaling the tower dysert o'dea church o'dea high cross broken slab roman arch

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  • donpaul77's Profile Photo

    Quin Friary

    by donpaul77 Written Dec 23, 2008

    Tucked away in the village of Quin are the subtle ruins of Quin Friary. The friary was founded in 1480 on top of the ruins of a Norman castle. The ruin is surrounded by idyllic pasture and has a very peaceful sense to it. I've never known it to be flooded with tourists, so it's one of those spots where you can take your time and contemplate your surroundings. There is limited access to the inside of the friary. It's not a place to go way out of your way to get to, but if you are not far away, it's definitely worth a visit. At the time I write this, there is no fee to get into the grounds.

    Also nearby is the ruin of St. Finghin's Church. It was built between 1278-1287.

    Quin is a nice village, so you could stay for lunch in one of the pubs there, or pack a picnic.

    Location: Quin, Co. Clare
    Directions: It's right in the village center, set back from the road.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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  • donpaul77's Profile Photo

    Teerovannan Castle

    by donpaul77 Updated Oct 24, 2008

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    I came to this castle while hiking along the Kilgory Walk in O'Callaghan's Mills, East Clare. Teerovannan Castle is the beautiful ruin of what was a massive 17th century keep. It is located in the middle of a field to which I found easy access from the road. I was able to walk right up to the castle and could have walked within the walls, if I wasn't turned away by all the cow patties.

    Teerovannan is crumbling gracefully. The inner stonework is masterfully done, and with sections of the wall missing, you can see the guts of the castle, with the exposed skeleton of a spiral staircase on one corner.

    I created a google marker for this site below, as it is difficult for me to describe how to get there.

    *Just a general warning: This isn't Disneyland. The castle is indeed slowly crumbling, so think twice before getting too close!

    A crumblng wall Teerovannan Castle spiral staircase
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Ennis - Singing Pubs & colorful shop-facades

    by globetrott Written Sep 20, 2005

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    Ennis is the largest town in the Burren with 16.000 inhabitants and it is well known for its plenty of great "Singing Pubs" and the beautiful shop-facades, like to be seen on my picture.
    Ennis Friary is another good reason to go to Ennis - it dates back to the 13th century and you may still see great sculptures and tombs there. The friary is to be found in Abbey-street and it is open for visitors daily between may and september.
    Next to the Friary you may see Cruise's Restaurant and Queen's Hotel - both of them are mentioned in James Joyce's novel Ulysses.

    colorful shop-facades in Ennis
    Related to:
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    • Backpacking
    • Arts and Culture

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    There is not only Poulnabrone Dolmen

    by globetrott Written Sep 20, 2005

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    There is not only Poulnabrone Dolmen, BUT also another similar such construction next to the parking where you have a small space to park your car, when visiting Poulnabrone Dolmen. You simply have to step over the stone-wall and turn to the right instead of heading towards the much more famous Poulnabrone Dolmen.
    The Dolmen in my picture looks less spectacular, but it reminds me a lot more of a tomb - Don't miss it, when you are in the Burren.
    On my 2nd picture you may see my old motorhome, parked in the street, and - unfortunately quite dark - the other Dolmen in front.

    another Dolmen close to Poulnabrone Dolmen another Dolmen close to Poulnabrone Dolmen another Dolmen close to Poulnabrone Dolmen
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    Leamaneagh Castle

    by globetrott Written Sep 20, 2005

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    Leamaneagh Castle is quite an impressive building in the south of the Burren. The castle dates back to the 17th century and is uninhabited today, in fact the ruins are in the middle of a meadow with lots of sheep and cows and you may not get any closer to the building. Leamaneagh Castle is more of a landmark today at the crossing of the roads R480 and R476 and you may use it when driving from Aillwee-cave in order to remember to turn right and drive to Kilfenora.
    Leamaneagh Castle is about 5km east of Kilfenora and ca. 6km south of the Poulnabrone Dolmen.

    Leamaneagh Castle
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Architecture
    • Road Trip

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    Build your own dolmen!

    by Krumel Written Jun 28, 2003

    Build your own little dolmen in what looks like a stone legoland in a stone field behind the Poulnabrone Dolmen. Someone had started building their own little dolmens with the stones that are scattered all over the area, and when I was there a few years back there were hundreds of them, in all shapes and sizes, from luxury three-storey dolmens to very basic versions.

    Unfortunately they were all gone the next time I went there, and our tiny match-box sized dolmen looked pretty lonely there on its own. So get going and build some more when you're out there!

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  • chrissyalex's Profile Photo

    Not the Cliffs of Moher, but a pretty view!

    by chrissyalex Written Apr 26, 2003

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    As I said in my intro, our first day in Ireland, we ending up off the beaten path and got a little lost. We THOUGHT we were on our way to the Cliffs of Moher but ended up in this pretty beach town instead. I believe the name of this town is Lahinch. Well, in December it was too cold to swim, but we did enjoy some pretty views while we regathered ourselves and then headed back out . This time on the right track.

    Lahinch
    Related to:
    • Beaches

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  • Burren roads

    by sabsi Updated Nov 25, 2002

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    Get into your car and drive around this area. Make sure not to miss the street from the picture (between Ailwee Caves and Poulnabrone Dolmen - I felt like driving on the moon) and the street at Corkscrew Hill.

    Did you know why this part of Ireland became so stoney? Ireland used to be full of forests some thousand years ago until some people arrived who cut all the trees down. Unfortunately by cutting all the trees down the wind blew away the soil and all that was left over was the limestone which was easily washed away by the rain and the wind!

    Driving on the moon

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County Clare Hotels

Top County Clare Hotels

Ennis Hotels
62 Reviews - 111 Photos
Shannon Hotels
73 Reviews - 177 Photos
Doolin Hotels
118 Reviews - 231 Photos
Lisdoonvarna Hotels
10 Reviews - 14 Photos
Ballyvaughan Hotels
29 Reviews - 37 Photos
Sixmilebridge Hotels
2 Hotels
Newmarket on Fergus Hotels
8 Reviews - 23 Photos
Milltown Malbay Hotels
1 Hotel
Liscannor Hotels
10 Reviews - 22 Photos
Lehinch Hotels
5 Reviews - 9 Photos
Kilrush Hotels
10 Reviews - 45 Photos
Killaloe Hotels
9 Reviews - 42 Photos
Kilkishen Hotels
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Kilkee Hotels
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Kilfenora Hotels
15 Reviews - 57 Photos

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County Clare Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of County Clare off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for County Clare sightseeing.
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