The Wild Atlantic Way Clare & Limerick
This is the third of our 4 part blog on the Wild Atlantic Way Road Trip with a Caravan (WAW), the longest defined coastal touring route in the world. It stretches for over 2,500km so it?s best to divide it into areas and take your time to explore and really see the beauty that Ireland has to offer. However, you don?t have to follow these routes and can cross over into other areas. The best thing is to be flexible and take your time to explore this great country.
There?s adventure and excitement around every corner of the Wild Atlantic Way.
In this blog, we explore the Clare and Limerick area of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Clare ? a county with terrain ranging from rolling countryside to craggy Atlantic coastline Clare has many secrets to share and plenty more to explore.
There?s so much to love about county Clare; from the incredible coastline along the Cliffs of Moher to the geological wonder of the Burren and the surfer?s paradise that is Lahinch. Here lies the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark. In the stunning surrounds of this UNESCO, recognised Geopark, you will find the longest cave system in Ireland, the largest stalactite in Europe, the Burren National Park, the Carron Nature Reserve, and a host of wild flora and fauna waiting to be discovered.
Experience a visit to Clare in your caravan or motorhome or by pitching your tents. Clare is home to a good selection of top quality sites throughout the county. For a list of caravan & camping sites in Clare click here.
The Cliffs of Moher ? no trip to Clare or even Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. Looming 700 feet above the crashing Atlantic along 8km of rugged, unspoiled coastline the first time you see the cliffs will leave you speechless.
The best time to visit the Cliffs is early morning or late afternoon/evening. Sunset at the cliffs is truly spectacular. They can be very busy particularly during the summer months.
Also, it might be wise to check the weather before you visit as it could impact your experience. At the Cliffs, you can visit the Visitor Centre built into the hillside. There are also plenty of spots where you can enjoy the scenery for free, looking out at the sea arches and caves caused by coastal erosion, as well as wildlife such as puffins and dolphins.
The Burren ? Limestone pavements and curious rock formations make it a fascinating place to visit where you will see rare native Irish plants and flowers. The word ?Burren? comes from the Irish word ?Boíreann? meaning a rocky place. Wander through the narrow passages of the underground caves in The Burren National Park and watch out for waterfalls, stalactites, and stalagmites. Explore fascinating fairy forts and stone dolmens dotted across the karst landscape of The Burren. The Burren National Park is located southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size and is free to access. Near the National Park you will find Corofin Village where Corofin Village Caravan & Camping Park is loacted a sheltered small family run site.
Visit a cave ? Clare is home to two of Ireland?s most famous caves ? Ailwee Caves and Doolin Caves. The tour at Ailwee Cave takes you through winding passages and chasms, past fascinating rock formations and even an underground waterfall. Also, take in a visit to the Bird of Prey Centre at Ailwee Cave where you will see a demonstration of the largest display of eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures in the country. Doolin Caves has the deepest underground experience in the Burren and you will see the biggest stalactite in Europe. If you don?t fancy going underground there is a lovely nature trail at Doolin Cave planted with native Irish trees. You have two great sites in Doolin that you can pitch up for a few nights – Nagles Doolin Camping & Caravan Park, overlooking the Cliffs of Moher or O?Connors Riverside Camping & Caravan Park overlooking the Aille River.
Spend a day at the beach ? In 2021 nine beaches were awarded Blue Flag status – Ballycuggeran, Cappa Pier, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Mountshannon, Spanish Point, White Strand Doonbeg and White Strand Miltown Malbay
Lahinch ? located a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher you will find the seaside town of Lahinch. Famed flooding tide makes it ideal for surfing, sea kayaking and kite surfing. Seasoned surfers travel here from all over the world but there are also plenty of surf schools here where you beginners can take lessons. Here you will find 2km of long sandy beach perfect for spending a relaxing day on the beach, swimming, having a picnic and watching the surfers. Pitch up for the night at Ocean View Park overlooking Liscannor Bay.
Kilkee ? If you want to be more energetic take a trip to Kilkee and experience some of the best scenery in Ireland at the magnificent Kilkee Cliffs. You can choose from a brisk 5km or more challenging 8km looped walk. Start at the Diamond Rocks Cafe at Kilkee’s West End and follow the cliff path. See the shipwreck site of Intrinsic Bay, the Diamond Rocks that glitter in the sunshine, scenic Foonagh Bay, and check out the glorious views from Moveen Hill.
Loop Head Peninsula ? Loop Head Lighthouse is located 90 metres above the Atlantic Ocean and has stood guard over this spectacular promontory for over 340 years. At the moment the lighthouse is closed for renovations (June 2021). From the lighthouse you can see the huge white letters carved out of the grassy headland spelling EIRE ? a relic from WWII to let pilots know they were entering neutral airspace. The Loop Head Peninsula comprises the villages of Cross, Kilbaha and Carrigaholt, as well as the charming seaside town of Kilkee, with its beautiful sheltered bay and stunning beach. Around 160 bottlenose dolphins are living in the waters. You should be able to spot them playing in the area ? or take a Dolphin watch boat trip from Carrigaholt. Located on the Peninsula is Green Acres Caravan & Camping with unspoilt views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Doolin Cycle Hub ? there are four great circular routes as part of the Doolin Cycle Hub.
Loop 1 is the shortest tour (18KM, 1.5-2 hours). It goes from Doolin south towards the Cliffs of Moher.
Loop 2 (26/39KM, 3-4 hours). Visits the southwest corner of North Clare taking in some amazing coastal view
Loop 3 (43 KM, 4-4.50 hours). Guides cyclists inland towards Kilfenora and the Burren region.
Loop 4 (21/47KM, 4.5-5 hours). Takes cyclists north from Doolin along the coast road with spectacular views of the Aran Island
Each cycle offers wonderful views of the local countryside with stunning coastal panoramas. There are numerous stop-off points along the routes with excellent restaurants, pubs and other facilities and services.
Ennis ? An historical town with its narrow with winding streets, historical buildings and a busy market town atmosphere. There is a load to see and do in Ennis. Take a visit to the Franciscan Friary which dates back to 1242 or visit the Clare Museum which will give you a good insight into the history of the area or take a walk through the narrow winding streets with something for everyone. Why not see what is taking place at Glór, the arts centre located in the centre of Ennis.
They offer a programme of theatre, music, dance, visual arts, film and workshops.
Moving inland, a trip to Lough Derg is well worth the detour. Set in the heart of Lough Derg at Mountshannon is Lakeside Holiday Park where you will have access to a host of activities on the lake.
Limerick, while technically is not part of the Wild Atlantic Way due to its close proximity to Clare it is only natural that if you are visiting Clare you will want to make a trip to Limerick. Limerick has a fascinating past, stunning countryside and is overflowing with culture.
Move inland and check out the charming heritage town of Adare, Ireland?s prettiest village. Pitch up your tent, caravan or motorhome at Adare Caravan & Camping Park just 3.5km from the town.
Limerick City ? recently crowned the Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City, Limerick is a city that is steeped in history. King John?s Castle is a 13th Century stronghold on King?s Island in the heart of medieval Limerick and is one of the best-preserved Norman castles in Europe. Here you will find interactive activities and exhibitions, CGI animations and projections that really bring its story to life. Also, in the city, you will find the Hunt Museum where you will find artefacts from ancient Greece and Rome, art by modern masters like Jack B Yeats, Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore, and important Irish relics from Neolithic tools to the famous Antrim Cross. For any sports fans, a trip to Thomond Park is a must. You will be able to take a guided tour of the stadium and experience areas of the stadium normally reserved for players and coaches. If you are lucky you might be able to experience the ?Munster Roar? at a match.
Kayaking in Limerick City ? What better way to see Limerick than kayaking on the River Shannon. Tours vary in length from 1.5 hours to 5 hours. You will see many of Limerick’s most interesting sites like King Johns Castle and the Treaty Stone. You will go under some of the oldest and most famous bridges and past many well-known landmarks and along the way. There are also lots of fun kayaking games and adventures.
Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum ? just a short drive from the city is the town of Foynes. The Museum will bring you back to the thirties and forties when Foynes was a vital hub in the development of transatlantic passenger flight. The exhibitions, memorabilia and a life-size replica of a Boeing 314 Flying Boat will bring you back in time. It?s also where the first Irish Coffee was served, so it would be rude not to partake!
Curraghchase Forest Park ? not on the Wild Atlantic Way, but still worth a visit if you are in Limerick. Curraghchase Forest Park is a fantastic amenity for all the family to enjoy. The Park covers 313 hectares of mixed woodlands, parkland and lakes which together provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants. There are several looped way-marked trails in the park to suit all visitors. They vary from the multi-access trails suitable for wheelchair users and family walkers to the longer Curragh and Glenisca trails suitable for those looking for more demanding walking and cycling options. You can also overnight in the park at the Curraghchase Caravan & Camping Park where you are free to explore the grounds of the 774 acre estate.
Lough Gur – Lough Gur is located within the Ballyhoura region just 21km from Limerick City where visitors can enjoy rural unspoilt beauty. Explore Lough Gur Visitor Centre and view the fascinating exhibitions at one of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites.
Check out replicas of famous archaeological finds in this region including Stone Age pottery, the famous Bronze Age Lough Gur Shield (the original is now housed in the National Museum) and the Countess of Bath chalice and paten. Learn about the activities of the first farmers in this rich archaeological area, including their dwellings, rituals, tools, implements and burial sites. Discover Lough Gur, the horseshoe lake at the bottom of Knockadoon Hill, see the 113 standing stones of the Grange Stone Circle and take a guided tour to discover the facts and magical myths of this scenic setting.
Click below for other blogs on the Wild Atlantic Way:
Part 1 Wild Atlantic Way ? Donegal & Sligo
Part 2 Wild Atlantic Way ? Galway & Mayo
Part 4a Wild Atlantic Way ? Kerry
Part 4b Wild Atlantic Way ? Cork
Caravan & Camping in Ireland
I hope these help you to really enjoy your holiday in Ireland. There is no better way to see the country with all your own home comforts. Click Camping Ireland to find information on all the great caravan & camping sites throughout Ireland before you travel. It is always wise to book ahead so you won?t be disappointed or have a wasted journey. Download the Camping Ireland App which you can use to browse and search for approved sites with ease while you are travelling around. For more information on the app click here
There are over 100 quality approved caravan & camping parks throughout Ireland. Sites offer top-class facilities with many onsite amenities.
There is a variety of sites around Ireland. Maybe you are looking for a quiet site where you can pitch up and use the site as a base for travelling around. Maybe you want a site where there is a playground for your kids or even sites where there are a host of onsite activities for all the family to enjoy.
Whatever you want Camping Ireland has something for everyone.
Don?t forget to order your Camping Key Europe Card which offers great discounts and savings at campsites, visitor attractions and many more outlets. The card is accepted in over 2,800 sites in Ireland and Europe. It also includes free third-party insurance. You can order the card here
For information on these sites, the facilities they offer and other information log onto our website Camping Ireland Enjoy the independence and flexibility that camping in Ireland can offer in quality approved sites. We look forward to welcoming you to outdoor living.
(All information corrected at time of publishing)