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The Clare Road Trip: 2 Different Ways To Spend A Weekend In Clare (2 Full Itineraries)

The Clare Road Trip: 2 Different Ways To Spend A Weekend In Clare (2 Full Itineraries)

If you want to head off on a Clare road trip but you’re not sure where to start, you’ve landed in the right place.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything you need if you fancy seeing some of best places to visit in Clare over 2 days.

You’ll be given several Clare itineraries to choose from and you’ll find advice on where to eat, sleep and where to grab a post-adventure pint.

Planning your Clare road trip: Pick a base before you do anything else

kilkee cliffs

Photo by Johannes Rigg/

Before you get into planning your weekend in Clare, it’s worth taking some time to think about where you’re going to base yourself from.

This county is pretty handy to get around, but you want to be somewhere in the middle (in my opinion) so that you can do day trips without needing to spend to much time in the car.

Personally, I always tend to go for Doolin or Ennis as a base, as both towns are packed with great restaurants and pubs and each is a handy spin from an endless number of things to see and do.

However, there’s also Spanish Point, Kilkee, Lahinch, Ennistymon, Miltown Malbay, Fanore and many more.

Below, you’ll find two itineraries for spending two days in Clare: the first uses Ennis as a base while the second uses Doolin.

A weekend in Clare: A quick look at itinerary #1

Lahinch village

Photo by shutterupeire/

OK, here’s a quick overview of our first 48 hours in Clare road trip. This itinerary uses Ennis as a base and explores all around it on day trips.

Day 1

  1. Breakfast in Ennis
  2. Loop Head
  3. The Bridges of Ross
  4. Kilkee Cliffs
  5. Kilkee Beach
  6. Spanish Point for lunch
  7. Ennis for the night (see our guide to the best hotels in Ennis)

Day 2

  1. Coffee and a ramble in Ennistymon
  2. A stroll on Lahinch Beach
  3. The Cliffs of Moher
  4. Lunch in Doolin
  5. Doonagore Castle
  6. Some optional stops
  7. The Burren
  8. Ennis for the night

Clare itinerary: Day 1

Right. Let’s dive on in, so! As we only have 48 hours in Clare in this guide, we need to make sure that we’re on the road early, to make the most of our time.

Get up, lash some coffee in and aim to be in Ennis nice and early. If this isn’t possible, just adjust the times to suit you.

1. Ennis for breakfast

ennis for breakfast

Photos via The Peppermill Ennis on Facebook

Right, when you arrive in Ennis you’ll find plenty of great places to grab a bit of breakfast, as you’ll discover in our guide to the best restaurants in Ennis.

It’s hard to go wrong with a trip to Peppermill (above). Now, for some reason we’ve a photo of the lunch they do…. but they do great breakfast, also! Get in and fuel up.

2. The Loophead Peninsula

kilbaha cliffs loop head

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The first stop on our Clare road trip is the beautiful Loophead Peninsula. Pop ‘Loop Head Lighthouse‘ into Google Maps – it’s a 80-minute drive, but it’s well worth it.

On the way, you can stop at Carrigaholt Castle and, if you fancy a very unique experience, Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt.

The cliffs near Loop Head Lighthouse are, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked places to visit in Clare. When you think of cliffs in Clare, your mind generally flies to Moher (which we’ll be visiting later).

Few visit the cliffs at Kilbha. And that’s what makes them even more special. I’ve been here on many different occasions, and it’s rare that you’ll ever meet more than a handful of people. Often, you’ll have the whole place to yourself. Read more about them here.

3. The Bridges of Ross

the bridges of ross in clare

Photo by Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

The Bridges of Ross are a short, 10-minute spin from Loop Head Lighthouse and they’re one of the more unique places you’ll visit on this Clare road trip.

You’ll find these natural sea arches on the northern side of the Loop Head Peninsula. There was originally three, but two have since collappsed into the sea.

There’s a big car park here and the walk out to the Bridges takes 5 – 10 minutes max. 

4. The Kilkee Cliffs (and beach)

kilkee beach

Photo by shutterupeire (shutterstock)

The next stop on our Clare itinerary is a handy 20-minute spin from the Bridges of Ross. Kilkee is a little seaside town that comes alive during the summer.

If you visit during the off-season, expect it to be very quiet. If you fancy a long stroll, there’s the 2 – 3 hour Kilkee Cliff Walk that’ll treat you to incredible views throughout.

If you just fancy stopping off, park near Kilkee Beach and head for a ramble along the sand. You can grab lunch in Kilkee, if you fancy, or you can hold off until we reach Spanish Point.

5. Spanish Point and Miltown Malbay

Spanish point Clare

Photo by walshphotos (Shutterstock)

The next stop on our Clare trip is a 40-minute spin along the coast – Spanish Point, home to one of the best hotels in Clare – the Armada.

There’s a beach in Spanish Point where you can have a dip, if you fancy. Or you can just sit back and watch the waves roll in.

Although there aren’t many things to do in Spanish Point itself, it’s the perfect stop-off point before heading on to Miltown Malbay for lunch (the food at The Yard Café is the business!).

6. Ennis

Ennis Friary

Photo left: Fabian Junge. Photo right: shutterupeire (Shutterstock)

So, if you arrive back early, there’s plenty of things to do in Ennis to keep you occupied, from Clare County Museum and Ennis Friary to Quin Abbey and more.

After you’ve chilled for a bit, it’s time for food. There’s some great places to eat in Ennis, with something to tickle most fancies.

If you fancy, you can then round off day 1 of your Clare road trip with a pint in one of the many old-school pubs in Ennis.

Accommodation wise, see our guide to the best B&Bs and hotels in Ennis (there’s something to suit most budgets).

Clare itinerary: Day 2

The second day of our Clare road trip is nicely spread out, with a mix of walks, indoor attractions and colourful towns and villages.

The best part is that, as you’re staying in Ennis, there isn’t a huge amount of driving needed to get to each place.

1. Coffee and a ramble in Ennistymon

Ennistymon in clare

Photo left: Patryk Kosmider. Photo right: shutterupeire (Shutterstock)

The first stop of day two of our Clare trip is the gorgeous little town of Ennistymon – a short 25-minute spin from Ennis.

This is a lovely little town to ramble around in the morning, so, grab a coffee from the mighty Cheese Press and then head down towards the falls to soak up the view.

2. Lahinch

lahinch beach

Photo by Anna Ozimkowska (Shutterstock)

Stop 2, Lahinch, is a handy 5-minute spin from Ennistymon. Now, what you do here is entirely up to you, as there are plenty of things to do in Lahinch.

If you fancy adding something adventurous to your Clare road trip, you could try surfing on Lahinch Beach with one of the many surf schools in the town.

Or, if you just fancy a stroll, you can walk along the sand and see how the surfers are fairing out against the waves.

3. The Cliffs of Moher

visit the cliffs of moher ireland

Photos via Shutterstock

Next up are the mighty Cliffs of Moher, and you’ll find them a 15-minute spin down the road from Lahinch.

Now, how you tackle the Cliffs is up to you: you can see them via the visitor centre, you can see them from the Hag’s Head side, or you can do the Doolin Cliff Walk.

If you have time and you like to walk, the Cliff Walk is a great shout (takes 2 – 3 hours). If you’re stuck for time, enter via the main visitor entrance.

If you’d like to see them from a different angle, you can park near Hag’s Head and see them from that side (it’s less crowded here).

4. Lunch in Doolin

the best doolin restaurants

Photo left via Anthony’s. Photo right via the Ivy Cottage on Facebook

When you finish at the cliffs, take the short, 10-minute spin to Doolin. It’s time for a feed and there are some great restaurants in Doolin to grab a bite to eat.

Now, if you visit at lunchtime during the summer, you’ll find parking on Fisher Street a nightmare. If you fancy great pub grub and handy parking, McDermott’s is a great shout.

5. Your choice of ways to spend the rest of day 2

doolin cliff walk

Photo by Foto Para Ti on Shutterstock

After you’ve finished lunch, it’s time to decide how you’ll spend the rest of day two of your weekend in Clare.

There’s a lot to see near Doolin. If you fancy seeing the Aran Islands, you can take a ferry to Inis Oirr, Inis Mor or Inis Meain from Doolin Pier.

If you fancy exploring Doolin itself, you’ve Doonagore Castle and Doolin Cave. Or, you could spend the day tackling one of the many Burren walks – the choice is yours!

6. Ennis for the night

pubs ennis

Photo via Knox’s Pub

When you finish up in/near Doolin, you’ve around a 40-minute drive to get you back to Ennis, and it’s from here that you’ll round off night 2 of your Clare road trip.

Again, you’ve plenty of pubs in Ennis and restaurants in Ennis where you can toast your eventful weekend in Clare.

48 hours in Clare: A look at itinerary #2

things to do in Clare

Photo left: Photo_Traveller. Right: David Steele (Shutterstock)

Ok, so I’m not going to go into detail on our second weekend in Clare itinerary, as we’ve covered a lot of the places in the first half of the guide.

This itinerary uses Doolin as a base and explores all around it. The beauty of using Doolin as a base is that it cuts driving down a lot, as it’s right on the coast.

Day 1

OK, so you’ll want to try and get out to Clare nice and early. When you arrive, aim straight for Doolin and, if you can, check into where you’re staying.

You’ll find plenty of places to stay in our Doolin accommodation guide. Here’s an overview of how to spend day 1:

  1. The Doolin Cliff Walk
  2. Lunch in Doolin
  3. Doonagore Castle
  4. Doolin Cave
  5. Lahinch Beach
  6. Ennistymon
  7. Food in one of the many pubs in Doolin

Day 2

For day 2, you could either nip over to the Aran Islands, spend the day in the Burren (there’s everything from Fanore Beach and Poulnabrone Dolmen to the Aillwee Caves here).

Or, you could drive out to Loop Head and then work your way back along the coast, through Kilkee, Lahinch etc. You could also visit Fr Ted’s House!

Clare road trip FAQs

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what are the best Clare day trips to how to do a weekend in Clare.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What is the best Clare road trip to follow?

The itineraries above, which use Ennis or Doolin as a base, are good starting points for a great weekend in Clare. Each itinerary above is easy to follow, doesn’t pack too much in and ensures you’ll see some of the best the county has to offer.

Is two days in Clare enough?

Yes. Although more time is always better, of course! If you only have two days in Clare, you can still see and do plenty, you just need a decent itinerary (see above).

What are the best Clare day trips?

If you’re looking to tackle some Clare day trips, great – but which ones are feasible will depend on where you are based. E.g. if you’re in Ennis, Clare or any of the towns mentioned above, there’s an endless number of Clare day trips for you to tackle.

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Sunday 1st of August 2021

Thank you great site information just what I was looking for & a little more

Kathryn O'Hara

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Love the website Keith ? getting started discovering my home country n this is just the kind of info (and no nonsense delivery) I've been looking for?Nice one!

Shane Geraghty

Friday 16th of August 2019

Brilliant Keith!


Saturday 17th of August 2019

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Shane! Glad you found it useful!

Enjoy the weekend!


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