Kilkee to Miltown Malbay

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Some beautiful beaches, golf courses and villages to visit

This Wild Atlantic Way route runs from Kilkee through to Miltown Malbay, or Miltown Malbay to Kilkee, depending on your direction of travel.

This route through county Clare gives you plenty of beautiful windswept sandy surfing beaches to visit as well as some challenging golf courses with some spectacular views.

This is a particularly good Wild Atlantic Way cycle route as it is relatively flat compared to other keen cycle routes of the Wild Atlantic Way, like the Beara Way or the Ring of Kerry.

It is also quite a short route for a day trip, so you could easily add the route to Ballyvaughan as well if you are not intending to play a round of golf along the way.

Wild Atlantic Way Route Map, co. Clare

Approx. 44km distance, 53 minutes driving time

Download the route map with ALL points of interest included here: Kilkee to Miltown Malbay

Pollock Holes, Kilkee

This spot, next to the Diamond Cliffs Cafe in Kilkee, is a popular swimming spot in Kilkee. There is a car park and wonderful views of Kilkee, the Pollock Holes and a nice hike up to Kilkee cliffs.

pollock holes kilkee
The Pollock holes

The pools at low tide are perfect for a swim or snorkel. Check the Kilkee tides before you plan your swim.

pollock holes
Pollock Holes during a storm
diamond rocks kilkee
Diamond Rocks Cafe


Kilkee is a beautiful seaside town with a wonderful horseshoe bay, protected from heavy seas by a pier and rocks out at sea.

At low tide, there is a huge semi-circular beach and it is a good place to do beachy things (swim, dog walk, hit a sliotar with your hurley, walk away the stress, jump off the pier or just take it easy). Be careful jumping off the Kilkee Pier as the wall is not vertical and you need to jump away from the pier (as my daughter discovered!)

There is also the possibility to do lots of water sports, including summer camps here during the summer months.

kilkee beach
Kilkee Beach

You can buy ice creams and they often sell winkels and dillisk (dried seaweed) on the front.

The town is a keen holiday resort for many people from Limerick who come to their holiday homes during the summer months. During the winter period, it is very quiet here, and many of the restaurants shut down for the winter.

kilkee beach
Kilkee Beach

Kilkee Pubs do a roaring trade during the summer when the streets are full with young and old.

Nolan Fish and Chips

There are several Kilkee restaurants, but before you leave Kilkee, if Nolans is open, you should try a takeaway fish and chips and eat it along the front. We like their food.

There are a few benches put there just for that purpose I suspect.

kilkee bench

The fish is always fresh and the batter is super crispy.

Kilkee Golf Club

This 18-hole golf club is in a beautiful setting overlooking the cliffs of Kilkee or the Northside of the beach.

kilkee golf club photos

You are however at the mercy of the elements which may influence your swing and the flight of your ball. It looks like Evert-Jan lost his cap for this photo!

There are some beautiful holes although when we played there the course could have been in better condition. But the views more than made up for it.

Call them directly for enquiries.

kilkee golf club
Kilkee Golf Club

Byrne’s Cove

A nicely hidden away little cove which is great for an invigorating swim when the weather is fine.

The car park near Byrne’s Cove

There are steps leading to the water and a steel ladder to get in and out. But do not expect it to be warm.

Byrne's cove

Byrnes Cove
Some of my kids taking a dip, with Kilkee Cliffs in the background

Baltard Cliffs

After visiting Kilkee there is a gentle drive up the coast, passing some wonderful cliffs at a distance until you reach some of the West Coast’s beautiful beaches.

The Baltard Cliffs are set away from the main road and are fairly unspoilt. There is little or no fall protection, just as at the Kilkee cliffs, so do be careful if you do explore.

There is a notorious spot around here called the Blue Pool which is well known for people fishing here getting swept into the sea.

Probably safer to watch on YouTube:

Baltard Cliffs, co Clare. Credit : Torbjørn Hundere

Whitestrand Beach, Doonbeg

This lovely sheltered beach overlooks the Doonbeg Golf course but is protected from the often westerly winds which come in from the Atlantic.

We have often swum here, and there are some groups that swim all year round.

Whitestrand Doonbeg
Whitestrand Doonbeg

There are nice rock pools for the kids to explore on the left-hand side and great views across the bay. Limited parking makes it quite busy on a summer’s day.

Whitestrand Doonbeg

So get there early before the daily 09.00 o’clock swimmers arrive!

Doonbeg Village

Doonbeg is a charming village on the Doonbeg river with a number of wonderful pubs along the main street.

If you are here when the Jazz festival is on, then visiting Doonbeg is a must as all the pubs are buzzing!!

And if you are here anyway then Morrissey’s is a good place to eat, if they are open.

Morrissey’s of Doonbeg

Located on the corner next to the bridge this Michelin-recommended restaurant has a tasty collection of Irish food and is well worth visiting.

Morrissey's of Doonbeg
From the terrace of the restaurant

Now they have a partly protected area outside where they serve food, weather permitting.

I have taken a large group of fussy golfers to this restaurant before and we had a great evening. The food is super and the service is great.

You will need to book a table beforehand though.

Doonbeg Golf Club

One of the many stunning links golf courses along the Wild Atlantic Way.

This one overlooks Doughmore Bay. 9 holes out and 9 holes in.

Stunning views of the Bay, but make sure you hit straight!

Doonbeg Golf Club

Doughmore Beach

This is a gorgeous surfing beach with big Atlantic waves.

Strong tows make it very dangerous to swim, which is not recommended by the locals, and there are no lifeguards so no one to help you if you get into trouble.

Doughmore Beach
Doughmore Beach

Great for dog walking or general playing on the beach stuff. Or surfing.

You can park near the golf course in the Car Park as indicated on the downloadable route, or roughly halfway along the beach where you can cross the course and enter the beach halfway up.

Look for the ‘P’ icon on the map marking the surfer’s parking area.

Seafield Beach and Pier

This is another great beach for walking the dog. Actually, there are two beaches, on either side of the pier.

Very quiet out of season, but best to avoid during the summer as the road to the beach tends to clog up and you can, believe it or not, get caught in traffic!!

Seafield Beach and Pier

This is one of the only places this has happened to us in Ireland! There is little space to turn on the single-track road.

Views out to Mutton Island. The pier is used to moor fishing vessels. You may indeed find cows on the beach out of season!

Seafield Beach

Quilty Tavern

This is a very friendly pub overlooking the beach at Quilty that serves food and a good pint of Guinness.

A nice place to stop for a pint or a roast from the Quilty Tavern Menu, and a chat. Or drink your Guinness overlooking the beach.

quilty beach photos
Quilty Beach

Bellbridge House Hotel

A pleasant hotel overlooking the sea. Good food and a nice bar with a good pint of Guinness. A good location to stay near Spanish Point Beach and Spanish Point Golf Club.

I used to have a pint of Guinness here every Wednesday while my daughter was at Irish dancing lessons at the golf club.

Spanish Point Golf Club

Spanish Point Golf Club

This is a beautiful 9-hole links course, situated opposite Spanish Point beach. I used to be a member here. The drainage is very good meaning it is normally open throughout the winter months, whatever the weather.

Spanish Point Golf Club
The 1st Fairway

The 8th hole and the tee for the 9th (both par 3’s) are situated on top of a hill known as Hangman’s hill (after 1588 when many of the surviving shipwrecked Spanish sailors from the Armada were executed).

Spanish Point Golf Club
Looking at the 9th green, Par 3

The course is open to visitors but best to book a tee time beforehand. The course has some fantastic views of the Atlantic and is a little bit hilly.

The greens are normally immaculate. The clubhouse is sometimes used for Irish dancing lessons for the local kids and other social events (Willy Clancy week for example).

Spanish Point Beach

This is another one of the beautiful sandy surfing beaches in county Clare.

Spanish Point Beach
Spanish Point Beach
spanish point
My daughter and I at Spanish Point

There is parking space available which sometimes floods over into the local secondary school on busy summer days. The surfing is great here, but be careful of the dangerous tidal rip which can occur in the middle of the beach.

Spanish Point beach

There are lifeguards present during the summer months and they will have you swim between the flags.

There is a new monument there to part of the Spanish Armada that sank off this coast in 1588, hence the name of this location.

Spanish Point beach
Spanish Point Beach at low tide

The shipwrecked Spanish sailors that survived the sinking were executed by the High Sheriff of County Clare at the time, Sir Turlough O’Brien of Liscannor and Boethius Clancy. 

Armada Hotel

This is a lovely hotel overlooking the sea and beach at Spanish Point. Built in the 1970’s near the site of the old Atlantic Hotel which dated back to the beginning of the 19th century.

The Armada
The Armada

Aptly named, after the sunken Armada, the hotel is a good place to stop for a few days R&R.

The food is good and the views from the restaurant are stunning. 

A Pornstar cocktail for the missus on her birthday
birthday surprise
And a nice complementary surprise from the hotel
The Armada Hotel

There is a model of the São Marcos de Portugale in the Hotel Lobby. The ship was one of the Armada vessels that sank off this coast in a storm in September 1588.

All of her crew but 4 died, and those that survived were executed by the High Sherriff of Clare. 

Sao Marcos de Portugale
A model of the São Marcos de Portugale

Miltown Malbay

Miltown Malbay, or Milltown Malbay (many Irish places have differing spellings), is home to the yearly Miltown Malbay festival known as the Willy Clancy trad music festival at the beginning of every July.

This is well worth a visit as all the pubs are filled with performers for a week playing traditional Irish music.

willy clancy week
Kids performing Trad music during Willy Clancy week next to his statue

Willy Clancy was an Irish pipes player and you can find out information on the festival week here.

The town is very small but has some lovely pubs hidden along the main street.

You will need to book accommodation in advance if you wish to stay over during the festival as it is very popular. 

For your next Wild Atlantic Way Clare route click on the routes below.

Next Route – Going South

Killimer-Kilkee via Loop Head

Next Route – Going North

Miltown Malbay to Ballyvaughan

Next Route – Alternative off WAW Route

Alternate Ballyvaughan-Burren

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Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by Gav

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