I visited Cliffs of Moher and Burren on an organised tour from Galway.
My intention had been to visit Cliffs of Moher independently on a day trip from Galway and to do some hiking there. But to my disappointment there were very few buses on a Monday in the end of February, only two arriving before the last one returned and it would not give me more than 2h at the cliffs.
At the hostel where I was staying, Kinlay House Hostel, I asked about the day tours going to Cliffs of Moher to see if that could be an option. I was told that the tour was a better option as it would give me 2h at the cliffs plus stops at interesting sights along the way, and it would be cheaper than going independently. The tour was with Galway Tour Company and booking from the hostel I paid 20 Euro (February 2013) and that also included the ticket to the visitor centre at Cliffs of Moher. The tour started at 10 and finished at 18.
The day of the tour I and a few others were picked up by a small bus and taken to the coach station. To my surprise we there changed to a big coach and it turned out to be fully booked. I think I was the oldest tourist on the bus. In the beginning of the tour we were told that we were not staying 2h at the Cliffs of Moher as the brochures says, but were only staying 1h 15minutes. This was because they used to eat lunch there, but they are very slow at the restaurant there so we were now stopping in Doolin for lunch instead (I wonder how long it has been like that). Well, lunch or not, I was disappointed to get less than 2h at the cliffs.
The bus driver talked almost all the time and gave us lots of information about the places we passed. At a few places we stopped and we got 15 minutes or less at each stop. These are the stops we made:
Ballyvaughn (for bathroom and snacks)
Ballyalban Earthen Ring Fort
Kilfenora (High Crosses)
Doolin for lunch at a pub (not included in the tour)
Cliffs of Moher, where we stayed 1h 15min
While I would have preferred to do this tour on our own, I didn't want to drive by myself after my husband left for home. For people not wanting to drive, Rail Tours Ireland has a lot of daytrips that leave from Dublin to places all over Ireland. Although I could have easily found more to do in Dublin, I decided to spend my last day in Dublin outside of Dublin visiting County Clare. It made for a very long day, I started from the hotel at 5:40 am to catch a Luas tram to Heuston Station where we boarded a train for Limerick at 7am. The tour goes through Limerick on the way to a 1 1/2 hour tour of Bunratty Castle, a stop for lunch at a pub in Doolin, an hour stop at the Cliffs of Moher, a 10 minute stop at the Burren and finally a little less than an hour in Galway before the train back to Dublin, arriving back at 20:55.
The trains are comfortable and the group had reserved seats so that we could all sit together. The coach was also comfortable. In order to see all that we saw on this trip in a day, you would have to do an organized tour.
The cost was 109€, I booked just a couple of days before going. Currently they are running a special where you get a Dublin Hop on Hop off pass for free, 15€ value, which you can pick up before your tour if you want to use it ahead of time.
The mouth of the river Shannon is quite wide and long at the westcoast of Ireland and there is an interesting ferry-connection between the villages of Tarbert in the north of County Kerry and Killimer in the south of County Clare.
Instead of driving 137 extra km ( 85 miles )you simply have to wait a few minutes for the ferry, pay around 13 Euros one way for cars and small motorhomes and take a ferry-ride of ca. 20 minutes. This makes sense, when you want to get from Co.Kerry to the Burren and places like Kilkee, Kilfenora,Milltown Malbay or Ennistimon and the Burren.
For updated prices and timetables of that ferry-connection - please check the webpage below !!
Shannon is the gateway to the West of Ireland and several American airlines have direct flights to Shannon. I flew on Aer Lingus which is the national carrier of Ireland.
Flight time from Boston is between 5-5 1/2 hours and usually leave 7:00 and 8:45 and arrive the next morning from 6-8:00.
The easiest way to get around County Clare is by car, though don't expect to get anywhere fast - the roads are narrow and there are plenty of tourist buses to get stuck behind!
Just drive safe and enjoy the scenery.
An alternate way to travel from County Clare into County Kerry is to take the car ferry from Killimer in County Clare to Tarbert in County Kerry (or vice versa).
It is a 20 minute trip, that takes you across the River Shannon and is a very civilised way to travel.
It cost about 13 euros oneway/20 euros return per car.
We used this map for a drive around the Burren
1 Aillwee Cave
2 Earthenring fort
3 Stone fort- Cahermore
4 Gleninsheen wedge tomb
5 Poulnabrone portal dolmen
6 Caherconnell stone fort
8 Limestone pavements, clints & grikes
9 Leminagh castle
14 Cliffs of Moher
15 Doonagore Castle
18 Ballinalackan Castle
19 Only overground river
21 Corkscrew hill
If you are driving up from Co. Kerry take the ferry over the Shannon from Tarbert (Co. Kerry) to Killimer (Co. Clare).
It costs 10 IEP which you pay on the boat and saves you a lot of miles and time! Boats go from Killimer on the hour, from Tarbert on the half hour.
This is the fantatsic restaurant at the Ballinalacken Hotel, also dueled as our wedding reception...more
North of Tully, Renvyle, Connemara, Ireland
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
Bunratty Village, Bunratty, County Clare, Ireland
Good for: Business