As the saying goes, the best things in life are free. So let’s find some of those things to do in Clare! As a parent, I’m all for exposing my kids to a wide variety of things to find out where their interests lie. So try occasionally going to a different activity that the family has never tried before. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how much fun you’ll have. Here’s my pick of the best free things to do in County Clare with kids.
Visit a Playground
There are new ones popping up all the time in Clare. Instead of going to the same one every time, check out neighboring playgrounds or go find a new one you’ve never been to before.
Our favourite playground in Clare is the amazing Cratloe Woods Playground. It has an extra long zip line, an obstacle course, a sand activity station, swings, slides, snake walk, spider rope and everything is made from wood to blend in with the surroundings. We love to go there for a walk in the woods, a picnic and then loads of fun in the playground; a great day out for all.
Related: Great Playgrounds in Clare
Head to the Beach
Don’t wait for the sun to come out. Head to one of Clare’s fantastic beaches (with coats, hats and wellies, if need be) and take a walk on the shore.
Though, most likely, the kids will want to get wet, so bring towels and a change of clothes even if you don’t plan on swimming!
I remember the freedom I had living in the country as a child and our favourite beach brings me back to those times. Fanore Beach, in the heart of the Burren and near Ballyvaughan, is one of the best beaches in Clare. The vast expanse of beach is ideal for races, running, walking and making sandcastles.
The sea lends itself to small kiddies paddling and also to bigger kids who are have recently learned to swim. There are sand dunes for hiding in and a little stream to paddle in and maybe spot a little fish or two. My kids would stay there in all weathers and I have to say there is something really special about it for me too.
History & Heritage
The Clare County Museum in Ennis has interactive experiences, audio visual, discoveries from archaeological sites and artifacts. The Museum also has a small gallery displaying local artists.
Or visit one of the amazing historic and archaeological sites like Mooghaun Fort near Newmarket-on-Fergus, Poulnabrone Dolmen in the Burren, or Quin Abbey just to name a few.
Try out a Trail
Stop by the Ennis Tourist Office attached to Clare Museum and they will supply you with maps and descriptions of the Ennis Sculpture Trail or the Historical Trail.
Kilrush town has a Shannon Dolphin Trail which starts at the Shannon Dolphin Information Board in the town’s Market Square.
Follow the trail markers and it will take you to the Shannon Dolphin & Wildlife Centre where you can listen to sounds from the bottlenose dolphins, see real skeletons of whales and dolphins, and many more dol-fun educational activities for children.
Or try the Kilkee Habitat Trail which follows the beach and cliffs. It’s a scenic walk with six panels each one themed to its location illustrating the diverse wildlife habitats of Kilkee. While you’re in Kilkee, take the nets and try to catch fish in the rock pools, or play the unique local game of Racquets (a form of outdoor squash) against the West End wall on the beach.
One of our favourite things to do is pack snacks or a picnic lunch and head to the woods for a hike. Here are some of our favourite nature trails.
Make The Most of Libraries
Check out the activities going on at your local library in Clare, or try a different library for a change.
Recently, my daughter and I visited a different branch and she really enjoyed herself in the kids section of Kilrush Library. It’s not the closest branch to us but she wants to visit again.
Festivals and Events – Check out our What’s On section regularly. Frequently, there are free events and festivals happening around the county.
Burren Smokehouse has a free audio visual presentation, mosaics indoors and outdoors, and gift shop to meander through. Sample their award winning smoked salmon, which I’m sure you’ll be tempted to buy some to take home.
The Rock Shop have free audio visual presentations and a stunning showroom of crystals, stones and stone products, and jewelry. There is also a café.
Article written by Laura from Ennis.
If you know of other free activities for the family to enjoy, then let us know in the comments below.