Planning a visit to County Clare with the family? Here our some of our favourite things to do in Clare with kids, from active days out to historical places to visit.
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Clare offers so many exciting and fun things to do, with a rugged coastline full of glorious beaches to a unique historical setting that leaves plenty of scope for exploring. Kids definitely won’t be bored with all that’s on offer, so let’s get started with some of our favourites!
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Brilliant Family-Friendly Things To Do in Clare
1. Visit the Burren and The Flaggy Shore
One of the most unique things to do in Clare – and definitely one not to be missed is visiting the amazing landscape of The Burren. The kids will love to spot the unique flora and fauna!
The Flaggy Shore, Clare has a fabulous coastal family walk. Head to New Quay, just off the N67 Kinvara/Ballyvaughan road where you walk with the wild Atlantic ocean to one side and the limestone rocks of the Burren to the other.
This loop walk brings you from New Quay to Finavarra Point and is suitable for all members of the family. You can choose to walk along the beach or stroll along the quiet road. Be sure to visit the well preserved Martello tower at Finavarra Point and check out the rocks to see if you can find any fossils.
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2. Spend the day at Craggaunowen
A visit to Cragganuowen will satisfy all ages. As well as a restored medieval castle, you can visit a crannóg and ring fort, and find out how people lived in the past and their traditions.
Wander the woods then pay a visit to the ‘Brendan Boat’ – a leather hulled boat built by Tim Severin who sailed across the Atlantic re-enacting the voyage of St. Brendan.
Those into animals will enjoy seeing goats, soy sheep and wild boar. There is a tearoom and shop on site, and also seasonal events throughout the year so check what’s on before you go.
3. Head for the Beach
Take a bucket and spade and head to one of Clare’s beautiful beaches – you won’t be short of beaches to choose from, but here are some of our favourites:
Fanore Beach: a vast expanse of beach perfect for making sandcastles, snd dunes to explore, and limestone formations where you might even spot fossils or sea life in the rock pools.
Lahinch Beach: Lahinch is a pretty seaside town on the coast of Clare, well known for its golden sandy beach which stretches for a mile. Popular with surfers, if you’ve a learner surfer in the family this would be a great beach for them. And the rest of the family will enjoy paddling or even a dip in the sea.
Kilkee Beach: a stretch of golden sand gently sloping toward the sea with interesting pools and good cliff walks. This beach is lifeguard patrolled during the bathing season.
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4. See “The Cliffs”
A visit to the Cliffs of Moher is on everyone’s list for things to do in Clare. Some tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher with kids:
- Allow at least two hours to do all the things at the Cliffs
- Certain times are busier than others: peak months are July and August, however, the Cliffs of Moher are very busy from April to September each year. The busiest time of day is between 11.00am and 4pm
- You can view the Cliffs from three primary viewing platforms.
- The Cliffs View Café on the first floor of the visitors centre offers outstanding views
- Climb up O’Brien’s Tower for spectacular views to the Aran Islands, Liscannor Bay and Galway Bay.
- Take time to do the self-guided tour at The Cliffs Exhibition
Or you could consider seeing the cliffs from a different perspective and book a one-hour adventure on Cliffs of Moher Cruises.
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5. Visit glór in Ennis
glór in Ennis is a lovely place to visit. With a child-friendly café, art exhibition space, book corner, regular events and workshops for kids and families, this is one of our favourite things to do with kids in Clare. Look out for the world’s tallest chair and the fresh pizza vending machine in the lobby!
While you are in Ennis, visit the Lees Road Sports & Amenity Park, perfect for a picnic, strolling through the woods, kite flying or kicking a ball.
6. Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Step back in time and visit the medieval castle and village at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval castle in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times. At evening time Medieval Banquets are held in the castle and are open to the public to enjoy.
Kids will enjoy the sights and sounds of the Folk Park, where you can walk from house to house or around the charming village street complete with school, post office, doctors house, hardware shop, printers and McNamara’s pub.
Don’t forget to see if you can spot fairies in the magical fairy village right in the heart of the Folk Park. The Fairy trail and village are located in a pretty woodland section where you can explore a willow tunnel and willow hut and see a miniature Bunratty Castle and mini replicas of the houses that surround the folk park.
There is a café and shop at the Castle and nearby you can also enjoy Bunratty Village Mills with Blarney Woollen Mills and Meadows & Byrne and cafes and pubs.
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7. West Clare Railway
At West Clare Railway, the highlight is one of the original West Clare Railway steam engines, The Sliabh Callan, brought back to its former glory. There’s also
- An old dining carriage renovated for tea/coffee area and souvenir shop
- The original station house with living quarters, kitchen, bedrooms, toilets
- Ticket office & waiting room
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8. Loop Head Lighthouse
Drive the scenic loop and see fabulous cliffs from Kilkee to Loop Head Lighthouse. There has been a lighthouse at Loop Head since 1670, the present 23m high tower was built in 1854. The lighthouse is open to the public every day from the 16th March through to the 4th November, from 10am to 6pm.
An exhibition on the history of Irish Lighthouses is located in the Light Keeper’s Cottage. Visitors can take a guided tour up the tower and go out onto the balcony, from where, weather permitting, you can see south as far as the Blasket Islands and north to the Twelve Pins in Connemara, along the Wild Atlantic Way.
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9. Dolphin Trail
Would your kids enjoy the Shannon Dolphin Trail in Kilrush? Start at the Shannon Dolphin Information Board in the town’s Market Square, then follow the Trail Marker Posts along the trail. First stop is the Millennium Park at the end of Frances Street where you can see the sculpture of a dolphin mother and calf.
Next, onto the Kilrush Marina Centre, the starting point for dolphin-watching boat trips operating from April to October. Directly opposite the Marina centre is the Shannon Dolphin & Wildlife Centre where you can listen to amazing sounds from the bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon estuary, see real skeletons of whales and dolphins, learn about recent research and conservation efforts and the children can enjoy plenty of dol-fun educational activities.
Then take a walk out along the picturesque coast road to the dolphin-watching site at Aylevaroo Point, which as well as offering stunning views of a large area of the estuary, overlooks an area that is known to be regularly frequented by dolphins.
You can also book a boat trip and see some beautiful scenery and meet the dolphins on the water. Dolphinwatch departs from Carrigaholt and Dolphin Discovery departs from Kilrush.
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10. Dromore and Cratloe Woods
Get the kids out walking in the woods. Both Dromore and Cratloe Woods have great paths away from roads, perfect for a ramble.
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Do you have a favourite place to visit or things to do with kids in Clare? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!