The Atlantic Coast of County Clare is as dramatic and varied as it is possible to imagine giving rise to folklore, legend and history as colourful and fascinating as the shoreline. The area is the home of the O'Briens, the ancient kings of Ireland; one of their number, Lord Clare, raised a regiment of Catholic Irishmen known as the wild geese who fought alongside the French against England in 1745. The countryside is the inspiration of music to be heard in pubs and at festival time. Despite the building of a railway that once linked Kilkee with Limerick, Co Clare has kept its secrets to itself unlike its more famous neighbours, Co Galway and Co Kerry.
The perfect seaside town prettily situated in the middle of a wide crescent-shaped bay protected from the Atlantic forces by the reef-like Duggerna Rocks. The coast line down to Loop Head is crenellated with caverns, chasms, sea-stacks and weird-shaped rock formations. Almost as majestic as the Cliffs of Moher.
Overlooking the Shannon Estuary was built by the MacMahons in the 15th century, became a stronghold of the O'Briens in the 16th century and saw the formation of Lord Clare's Wild Geese in the 18th century.
Cu Chulainn, much loved by women, escaping from one, the termagant Mal, leapt from the cliff top to a tall sea stack 30 feet beyond. She followed him but she fell trying to follow him back. This explains Loop Head or, in Irish, Leap Head. Her body was swept north to Hag Head.
Is as close as you will get to the origins of the Irish people. A fascinating area of 25 by 15 miles south of Galway Bay, it is rich in pre-historic stone forts, megalithic tombs, 12th century stone crosses and much more. Visit the Burren Display Centre at Kilfenora.
The Aran Islands:
Wonderfully described by Irish playwright John Synge, still manage to preserve their unique culture and windswept way of life. Catch the boat from Doolin.
The Cliffs of Moher:
With a sheer drop of 1,000 ft to the crashing sea below, are home to an immense variety of birdlife, from Peregrines to Puffins. On a clear day you can see the Twelve Bens and the mountains of Connemara.
Swimming, sightseeing, walking, riding, windsurfing, diving.
Kilkee, Coastal coarse, 18 holes, 6185 yards, Par 69.
Founded 1892. Designer E Hackett.
Kilrush, Parkland course, 18 holes, Par 67.
Ballybunion, Links course, 18 holes, 6477 yards, Par 71.
Founded 1896. Designer R Trent Jones Snr.
Lahinch, Seaside course, 18 holes, 5600 yards.
Founded 1892. Revised by Donal Steel.
Halpins Hotel, Kilkee, Clare
Ballyroe Hotel, Tralee, Kerry - 43 miles
Ross Lake House Hotel, Oughterard, Galway - 85 miles