County Clare is the county in Ireland where I live with my family, only a few hundred meters from the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW).
So this is the first county I have included on this site, as I have visited most of the sites along this coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way several times in the last few years.
I have split the route along the Wild Atlantic Way into 4 separate routes in County Clare, three along the coast (WAW) and one going inland so as not to miss out on the amazing Burren area.
There are plenty of other wonderful places to visit in county Clare, but they are not directly on the WAW, hence I have not included them here.
What to do in County Clare?
Trad Music Festivals in County Clare
County Clare is home to Traditional Irish music and many of the pubs will have some sort of live music at the weekends on a Friday or Saturday night.
Sometimes it may be a bit late though, after 22.00 pm, so if you have little ones with you, but if you want to experience the real craic then you really need to sort out some babysitting, if you want a good night out and experience the real Ireland.
County Clare also has many festivals during the year, when they are not postponed due to pandemics. Carrigaholt is famed for its Oyster and Trad music festival, while Cross also has a trad music weekend.
Doonbeg hosts a great Jazz weekend and Miltown Malbay is of course famous for its Willy Clancy week, named after their famous uileann piper, which normally runs from the first week of July.
Kilkee has its Marquee by the sea in the summer months and Kilrush has its own traditional music and dance festival.
Beaches in County Clare
County Clare is home to many lovely sandy beaches. They are shown individually as points of interest on the downloadable routes.
But most of the beaches are directly facing the Atlantic so are often showing big surf. Not all beaches are safe to swim on because of the strong tides and currents so be careful if you do.
County Clare Cliffs
Clare is home to several stretches of Cliff: Kilkee Cliffs, Baltard Cliffs and the Cliffs of Moher. They are all worth visiting and they can be spectacular on a clear day.
You can visit the Aran Islands, though officially in Galway, by boat from Clare, also have some spectacular cliffs to visit.
The Burren, Clare
Clare is also home to the Burren, an amazing area of natural beauty. The Burren is an area of limestone rock that was formed in the Carboniferous period millions of years ago.
Since then water has eroded the rock to leave this amazing sculptured rocky surface that covers a huge area of Clare. The Burren has its own National Park and there are plenty of things to do and visit, as well as some great walks.
So if you plan to visit make sure that you find out what is on during your trip so that you can plan your visit.
This post covers a number of routes to travel along the Wild Atlantic Way in county Clare, with a number of interesting and fun detours along the way.
How long each route takes depends on your interests, how long you have to visit and what you really want to stop and see. There is plenty to do!
Click on the routes below to see a description of that route and points of interest (POI’s) along the way.
Each route link downloads to Google Maps to guide your way, showing the route along the WAW and the points of interest along the way, with descriptions, photos and links.
Routes to follow in County Clare
Travelling South to North
I have split the routes in Clare into 4 main routes. I just happen to travel South to North for this stretch but of course, the downloadable maps routes can be used in either direction, so feel free to go the other way.
The first three routes are along the Wild Atlantic Way and the fourth is a trip through part of the Burren area.
The Burren is such an amazing place to visit we could not leave it out. It is not directly part of the WAW, but the WAW does go through it at one point so it would be a shame not to explore if you are already so close.
The driving times are an indicative minimum, determined by Google, as in practice you will probably be wanting to stop and visit places, take photos or meet people.
I recommend downloading the route files of the routes you want to follow onto your phone.
If you read the relevant blog post before then you can determine where you want to visit beforehand. Then when travelling you just use Google Maps to navigate along the route to the places you wish to visit. It could not be easier.
Read: How to use the route files in Google Maps, before you download the routes.
Route 4. Killimer-Kilkee via Loop Head. 80.5km / 1 hr 37 mins
Link to: Killimer-Kilkee via Loop Head (Blog Post)
Link to: Killimer-Kilkee via Loop Head (Route link with POI’s and descriptions)
Route Summary for Killimer Ferry to Kilkee via Loop-Head route
There is a lot to see along this route and you could easily spend a day or two doing this one trip, depending on what you want to do. You may wish to go Dolphin watching or fishing in the Estuary or visit some of the interesting Museums along the way.
Perhaps you could spend some time in Kilrush and visit Scattery Island or Cappagh Pier where Mohammad Ali’s great Grandfather left for the States.
Or maybe you would like to play a round of golf, or a swim in the Pollock holes?
The Kilkee Cliffs are a definite must-see and there are some great walks to be done at the cliffs or the Bridges of Ross.
Route 3. Kilkee to Miltown Malbay. 44 km / 53 mins driving time.
Link to: Kilkee to Miltown Malbay (Blog Post)
Kilkee to Miltown Malbay
Link to: Kilkee to Miltown Malbay (Route link with POI’s and descriptions)
Route Summary for Kilkee to Miltown Malbay route
I think there is a little less to see along this route in Clare compared to the other routes. This route passes the Baltard Cliffs and includes a number of golf courses at Kilkee, Doonbeg and Spanish Point.
There are also some fantastic beaches along this route at Whitestrand, Doughmore and Spanish Point.
But if you are there for a festival at Kilkee or Miltown then you will have plenty to do and see.
Not all of this part of the WAW is along the sea so just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Route 2. Miltown Malbay to Ballyvaughan. 69 km / 1 hr 28 mins
Route Summary for Miltown Malbay to Ballyvaughan route
This is a wonderful route to take and there is plenty to do along the way. Again depending on what you wish to see, you could spend several days enjoying the different things to see along this route.
There is one Championship golf course on this route in Lahinch but plenty of other activities along the way. Visit the famous Cliffs of Moher, tour the Aran Islands (day trip or longer), and drive the stunning Burren coast road between the Burren and the Atlantic.
The beaches of Lahinch and Fanore are also along this route.
Route 1. Alternate Ballyvaughan – Burren route (NOT WAW!) 79 km / 1 hr 40 mins
Route Summary for Alternate Ballyvaughaun – Burren route
This route is only a small part on the WAW. This route is really a circular route that you can do starting in Ballyvaughan and ending up there. With a few interesting things to see along the way, like the Ailwee Cave, Poulnabrone Dolmen or the Burren Perfumery.
You can also go hiking in the Burren and take your picture at Father Ted’s house near the Burren National Park.
Try the seafood at Linnane’s on the water and drive Corkscrew hill. A nice day trip if you are staying in Monk’s at Ballyvaughan, for example.
Last Updated on March 11, 2023 by Gav