Killimer Ferry to Kilkee via Loop Head

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The Wild Atlantic Way Route from Killimer to Kilkee via Loop Head starts your trip going North through the beautiful and unspoiled County Clare in Ireland.

This post will guide you on the route from the Killimer Ferry to Kilkee (or Kilkee to Killimer Ferry if you are heading South) via the Wild Atlantic Way Signature Point of the Loop Head Lighthouse in County Clare.

County Clare on the West Coast of Ireland is one of the Wild Atlantic Way’s unspoiled counties. We moved here several years ago because it is so peaceful and unchanged over time.

There are no traffic jams, not many people, lots of Trad Music, and a beautiful rugged coastline with some fearsome cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches.

But don’t believe me. Come and explore for yourself.

Although it is not that long to drive there are a few things to see along the way which you may want to stop for.

This route takes you through the towns of Kilrush and Kilkee and through some back roads with fantastic cliff-top views and hidden beaches. Visit the walled garden at Vandeleur, Kilrush Marina, the Museum of Irish Rural Life, the Bridges of Ross and the Kilkee Cliffs on the route.

Wild Atlantic Way Map Clare

Approx. 81km distance, 1hr 37 minutes driving time

Read: How to use the route files in Google Maps, before you download the route files.

Download the route map with ALL points of interest included here: Killimer Ferry to Kilkee via Loop Head

You can of course go directly from Killimer to Kilkee, but we recommend driving via Loop Head. At the Loop you can visit the lighthouse and walk along the cliffs and if you are lucky you may see some dolphins in the Shannon Estuary or at sea, where they go to feed.

Killimer Ferry

killimer ferry
Tarbert to Killimer. The short way from Kerry to Clare

When you join the boat from in Tarbert in Kerry you have a short journey of just less than 30 minutes to reach Killimer. You can pay onboard but it is actually cheaper to buy a ticket upfront online.

As you arrive in Killimer and leave the boat you take a left at the top of the hill to drive towards Kilrush.

Moneypoint Power Station

moneypoint power station
Moneypoint Power Station

This route takes you past Moneypoint Power Station. Moneypoint is Ireland’s largest power station which was commissioned in 1987 and can produce up to 915MW of power.

Because it is a coal-fired station there is a lot of political pressure to have the station converted to more renewable forms of power in the future. There are already several wind turbines around the site which you will see as you drive past.

I love this bit of road, as when you descend the hill outside the entrance to Moneypoint, you get some great views of the estuary looking out to sea. The road opens up to show the ships at anchor waiting to bring their cargos into Moneypoint and Aughinish Alumina.

near Moneypoint
The road past the entrance to Moneypoint
near Moneypoint
The same road showing a ship at anchor

Just before you see the signs for Kilrush you take a left that takes you past the Aylevarroo caravan park and along the Shannon to the village of Cappagh.

Cappagh Pier

Discovery Point Cappagh Pier
Discovery Point at Cappagh Pier
cappagh pier
Cappagh Pier

Cappagh Pier played an important part in the history and development of Kilrush.

Cappagh Pier

In the past, it was an important location for the shipment of goods by sea.

A solid pier where every summer the local kids are taught to swim and where now the pilot boat is berthed to assist the large ships up the river to Moneypoint, Auchernish Alumina and Shannon airport.

Cappagh Pier
View from Cappagh Pier looking back to Moneypoint. Pilot boat in the foreground

Muhammad Ali’s great-grandfather was said to have departed from here for America in the 1860’s.

Cappagh Pier

Cappagh was an important port for transporting people between Limerick and this part of Clare in the 19th century, where passengers would be transported by paddle steamer.

cappagh pier
A view of Cappagh from the water
cappagh pier, cappagh beach
Cappagh Pier on a calm evening

Cappagh Beach, Kilrush is located to the right of the Pier and is a stone beach. be careful swimming here as the tides and currents can be very strong.

Vandeleur Walled Gardens

Vandeleur Walled Gardens Photos
Vandeleur Walled Gardens

A short way from the main WAW route, these gardens are well worth the short deviation. A beautifully maintained walled garden with a lovely bistro where you can buy fresh cakes, snacks and ice cream.

The gardens are about 800m from the gated entrance.

vandeleur gardens snow
The entrance to Vandeleur after some unusual snowfall in 2018

You can also buy plants and flowers here. The entrance is free and there are fun activities for the kids including a maze and butterfly hunt. There are Easter egg hunts at Easter as well as other activities throughout the year (Christmas, Halloween etc).  

Vandeleur Walled Gardens photos
Vandeleur Walled Garden

There are some nice walks through the woods surrounding the gardens and it is popular with dog walkers all year round.

There is a Parkrun every Saturday Morning here.

Vandeleur Kilrush woods
Bluebells in the Vandeleur woods in the spring

Kilrush Golf Club

This club is a lovely local club with well-maintained fairways and greens.

Normally open to visitors, but you will need to book a tee time if you want to play. 

kilrush golf club
The 9th hole, a par three over the water

Crotty’s Pub

This lovely little pub is a great friendly local pub where you can eat, watch the game or drink a beer and listen to some trad music on a Saturday night.

Crotty's Kilrush
Crotty’s Kilrush

Chat with the locals and discover the real friendliness of county Clare.

Crotty's Kilrush
Elizabeth Crotty

They also have accommodation available and a nice open fireplace. The BLT’s are super!

crotty's pub kilrush
A nice quiet pint in Crotty’s
Crotty's Kilrush
Tasty food

Kilrush Marina

This beautiful marina is a safe harbour protected by lock gates from the sea.

Kilrush Marina
Kilrush Marina

From the Marina, you can get boat tours out to Scattery Island, take a trip on the Dolphin Discovery or have a play in the West Coast Aqua Park.

kilrush marina
Kilrush Marina, looking out towards the lock

If you are travelling in a campervan they have a place now to park overnight and you can make use of their show facilities at the marina. They also have some glamping pods available.

kilrush marina
The Marina on a quiet winter’s day
Kilrush Marina
One of the information boards showing Kilrush Marina many years ago

Scattery Island

Scattery Island, or Inis Cathaigh in Irish, is an ancient monastic site where St. Senan once lived in the 6th Century (and where he died).

The island has had various inhabitants/captors over the years, ranging from the Vikings to Brian Boru, and more lately in recent times the pilots that take the ships up the Shannon.

Now the Island is no longer inhabited, but you can take an Island tour with Scattery Island Tours from the marina in Kilrush.

Scattery Island Tours also provides rib adventure tours in the estuary.

The Island still has an intact round tower and several old monastic ruins. Some of the old inhabitants’ houses are in the process of being renovated.

scattery island
One of the graveyards at Scattery
scattery island tours
Scattery Island Tours Boat at Scattery Pier

Also worth visiting are the ruins of O’Cahane castle, built in the 16th century, and the 18th-century battery built to defend against a French invasion.

St. Senan’s well is on the island and is said to have healing properties.

St. Senan's Well
St. Senan’s Well

West Coast Aqua Park Kilrush

West Coast Aqua Park Kilrush
West Coast Aqua Park Kilrush

A relatively new source of entertainment on the West Coast, this aqua park is fun for all. Well, the young ones let’s say!

Located in the Kilrush Marina, the park is open, weather permitting, during the summer months. Wetsuits and safety gear are provided.

The Museum of Irish Rural Life

This museum, built and run by local man Joe Whelan, shows how the Irish people lived in the days before electricity (not that long ago).

The Museum of Irish Rural Life

The museum has a large collection of tools that were used in the fields, historical artefacts, ancient tractors (being Joe’s old business), and Irish history in murals, books and historical records.

There is an interesting collection of memorabilia, including things from WWII.

The Museum of Irish Rural Life

This place helps you understand what a hard life it was in the old days.

The Museum of Irish Rural Life

The Museum can be found by the large mural on the wall showing British soldiers evicting tenants during the famine. 

The museum of Irish Rural Life
The Museum of Irish Rural Life

Well worth a visit. Entry is free, but donations are appreciated.

West Clare Railway Museum

In former days a wonderful railway used to run all through Co Clare from Kilrush to Ennis via  Kilkee, Lahinch and Ennistymon.

West Clare Railway
West Clare Railway

Unfortunately, in 1961 it was decided to end the service, despite it carrying large volumes of traffic, as it was making a financial loss.

West Clare Railway
West Clare Railway Museum

This decision to get rid of the railway probably did not help the economic status of the area which still has a significantly smaller population than during the famine.

Public transport is still rather limited in this area.

The railway no longer exists, but in Moyasta you can still see some of the old carriages and there is a small museum. It was closed when I visited, but maybe you will be lucky.

Cammoge Point

A small detour down some rough tracks brings you to Cammoge Point where you can see the Oyster farms of Moyasta Oysters.

Cammoge Point is at the mouth of Poulnasherry Bay. There is also, hidden away at the end of the path, a memorial to 41 people who drowned near here on the 12th of December 1849 when their ferry sank. Strangely the memorial does not name all of the victims. 

cammoge point

Querrin Pier

This is another short detour off the WAW which brings you to a pier with nice views over the Estuary.

querrin pier
Querrin Pier

There are also walking trails you can do from this spot.

Walking trails Querrin

Glasheen Beach

If you are out of season, this is a beautiful beach to come and visit, overlooking the estuary. There is a parking space and it is very quiet. It is quite challenging to find if you do not know the way. You need to follow my route.

Glasheen Beach, Doonaha
Glasheen Beach looking over Estuary at Kerry

There is now a signpost at the turnoff to the beach.

access to Glasheen
If you see this you are on the right track (note: no overtaking!)

On a hot summer’s day, you may find it difficult to park.

The car park of the secret Glasheen beach at Doonaha
Glasheen beach
And the other bike

Carrigaholt Dolphin Watch

There is also a boat from Carrigaholt that also watches the Dolphins.

They normally operate during the summer months, or from April through to October.

Book online via:

Carrigaholt Long Dock

A great little pub/restaurant famed for its seafood. Make sure you call to reserve a table as it can get very busy.

Carrigaholt Castle

This ancient castle looks over one of the fishing piers in Carrigaholt, a small fishing village in Clare.

The castle was built in the late 15th century by the McMahons. There are nice views over the estuary and you can fish off the pier.

Carrigaholt Castle
Carrigaholt Castle
Carrigaholt Castle
Carrigaholt Castle


Unfortunately one of the few places where you can have a drink on the waterfront in Clare when the sun is out.

Located near the fishing pier at Kilbaha and with great views over the estuary. 

Fishing Adventures Ireland

The fishing off the coast of Ireland is still fantastic. You can catch many species offshore. If you want to have a day or half-day of fishing in the Estuary or beyond Loop Head at sea, then Sean Maguire is the skipper to take you out there.

You can book a trip on his boat Lady Gwen II via his website, all weather permitting, of course. 

Fishing adventures ireland
On board the Lady Gwen II
Fishing adventures ireland

Kilbaha Gallery

This art gallery and coffee shop provides art from well-known and local Irish artists. Worth a visit.

Loophead Lighthouse

One of the WAW Signature Points, this lighthouse at the end of the peninsular is stunning.

loop head lighthouse
Loop Head Lighthouse

It is now automated like all lighthouses in Ireland, but still has the old lightkeeper’s cottage.

You can climb to the top which provides spectacular views of the Atlantic and the amazing local cliffs.

loop head cliffs
Loop Head Cliffs

Here there is also the old Loop Head Eire sign (EIRE 45) visible from the air, an old WWII relic, which you can walk up to.

dolphins at Loop Head
A school of Dolphins – picture taken from Loop Head cliffs

If you are lucky you may see dolphins from the cliffs, when they come out of the estuary to the sea to feed.

Free parking is available.

Loop Head Lighthouse
View from the top of the lighthouse

The Bridges of Ross

Here there used to be three natural land bridges which was quite a tourist attraction back in Victorian times.

Now only one bridge remains, but there is a beautiful walk along the rocks. Well worth a visit.

bridges of ross
The single remaining Bridge of Ross

There is a small car park there and a walk of a few hundred meters to the remaining bridge.

 Bridges of Ross

Bridges of Ross
Just along from the Bridges of Ross

Kilkee Cliffs

Kilkee Cliffs
Kilkee Cliffs during a storm

These cliffs south of Kilkee are absolutely spectacular and great competition to the cliffs of Moher.

The advantage of these is that they are free to visit.

But be careful as there is not much fall protection available and it can blow a hooley up here, as you can see.

Kilkee Cliffs
Kilkee Cliffs

You can hike to the top of the cliffs from both directions, either parking at the top or from the Diamond Rocks Cafe, near the Pollock Holes.

But be especially careful parking and walking, especially when it is blowing. It is a long way down and accidents are common.

kilkee cliffs
It is not always blowing like crazy here luckily
Kilkee cliffs

kilkee cliffs
Lovely spot for a picnic
kilkee cliffs

Pollock Holes, Kilkee

This spot, next to the Diamond Cliffs cafe in Kilkee, is a very popular swimming spot in Kilkee.

The pools at low tide are perfect for a swim or a snorkel. You can find the Kilkee tides here.

pollock holes
The Pollock Holes

But again be careful when the sea is up though and the tide is coming in……..sometimes the waves will come crashing over the rocks unexpectedly.

pollock holes
The Pollock Holes in a storm

But it is lovely when calm, and you can have a nice cup of tea and a scone at the Diamond Rocks Cafe.

Diamond Rocks Cafe

There is a car park here for the Pollock Holes and the Diamond Rocks Cafe. This is a great little place for a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

The Diamond Rocks Cafe Photos

Diamond Rocks Cafe

The Diamond Rocks has been recently refurbished and now has seating outside when the weather is good.

The Diamond Rocks Cafe
The Diamond Rocks Cafe

There are wonderful views of Kilkee and the Pollock Holes and you can do a great Kilkee cliffs walk from here.

kilkee cliffs
Or a good place to watch the waves during a storm

So if you have not yet done so, download the route map with ALL points of interest here: Killimer Ferry to Kilkee via Loop Head

Depending on your direction of travel now head South to Kerry (or Limerick) or North towards Miltown Malbay and Spanish Point – click on the links below.

Search for Kilkee accommodation here:

Next Route – Going South


Next Route – Going North

Kilkee to Miltown Malbay

Next Route – Alternative Route in Limerick

Tarbert to Foynes

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Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by Gav

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