The coastal walk, which kicks off at the Diamond Rocks can be tackled on a short or long route (info below) and each treats you to magnificent sea and cliff views throughout.
And, thanks to the Kilkee Cliffs being no where near as popular as the nearby Cliffs of Moher, the chances are you’ll only meet a handful of people as you stroll.
In the guide below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about the walk, from where to park to the route to follow.
Some quick need-to-knows before you do the Kilkee Cliff Walk
Although the Kilkee Cliff Walk is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
1. There are several trails
There are several different trails that you can tackle here (we’ve them outline on a map if you scroll):
- The short walk: 1.8 – 2km / 30 – 40 minutes (follows the cliff path)
- The short loop: 4 – 4.5km / 1 hour (follows cliff path and country road – care needed)
- The long linear walk: 11 – 12km / 2.5 – 3 hours (follows cliff path and country road – care needed)
2. Where it starts and ends
The Kilkee Cliff Walk is a circular route that starts at the famous Diamond Rocks café in the town’s west end.
3. Where to park
Park at the Pollock Holes car park at the Diamond Rocks Café (here on Google Maps) or there’s plenty of parking in the town itself, too!
As you might expect, the walk along the Kilkee Cliffs exposes you to all that nature can throw at those who walk her coastal paths. Dress appropriately – waterproof clothing and sturdy hiking boots are recommended.
5. Safety warning
If you tackle the loop or the longer linear Kilkee Cliff Walk, you’ll have to walk along the road for a chunk of the walk. Care is needed as you’ll be sharing the road with vehicles.
A Kilkee Cliff Walk map and trail overview
So, there are several different versions of the Kilkee Cliff Walk, depending on what you’re looking for.
If you open the map above, you’ll be able to click on the different trails (these are rough outlines) to get a sense of what to expect.
1. The short walk
The short version of the Kilkee Cliff Walk is 1.8 – 2km and should take no more than 30 – 40 minutes (although allow longer for soaking up the views).
It starts at the Diamond Rocks Cafe and follows a paved path along the coast. This is an easy walk that treats you to stunning coastal views as you stroll.
This trail climaxes right before it reaches public road when glorious cliff views open up in front of you.
2. The loop walk
The looped version of the Kilkee Cliff Walk follows the same trail as the short walk, but you continue onto Dunlicky Road and follow it back into the town.
This trail stretches for 4 – 4.5km and should take around 1 hour. The key thing to note here is that this loop follows country road for a good section of it, so care is required.
The section that follows the road isn’t scenic and, in our opinion, you’re better off sticking to the cliff path.
3. The long walk
The longer Kilkee Cliff Walk is an 11 – 12km ramble that’ll take you 2.5 – 3 hours to conquer.
It starts at the Diamond Rocks and follows the cliff path before continuing onto Dunlicky Road and heading off in the opposite direction to the town.
Please use caution on this road as you’ll be sharing it with a variety of vehicles.
On this trail, you’ll encounter several interesting sites, from Bishop’s Island and St Kee’s Well to Dunlicky Castle and plenty of craggy cliffs.
Things to do after you’ve finished the Kilkee Cliff Walk
One of the beauties of the Kilkee Cliffs is that they’re a short spin away from some of the best things to do in Clare.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Kilkee Cliffs (you’ll find plenty of places dishing out food and providing accommodation in our Kilkee Hotels guide).
1. Head for a paddle on Kilkee Beach
This horse-shoe shaped beach is famous throughout Ireland and beyond. It’s a Blue Flag beach, indicating high environmental standards, and is very popular in the summer months. Treat yourself to an ice-cream and leisurely bare-foot stroll through the gently lapping waters or why not go all-in and take a dip? Lifeguards patrol the area in the summer.
2. Take a spin out to Loop Head Lighthouse
You’ll find Loop Head Lighthouse at the top of the Loop Head peninsula. It guards the entrance to one of the busiest rivers in Ireland (the River Shannon), and has been there since 1670. In the early days, the lighthouse was a stone vaulted cottage where the light keeper and his family lived—the building equipped with a platform on its roof where a coal-burning brazier warned ships how close they were to the cliffs.
3. Visit the Bridges of Ross
The Bridges of Ross are on the west side of a natural harbour (Ross Bay) near to the village of Kilbaha. At some point, the Bridges were three natural sea arcs in number, but two have since fallen into the sea although the plural name remains. The viewpoint is very popular in autumn because seabirds pass very close to the shore, and so people flock (sorry) here to watch and wonder at the migration.
FAQs about the Kilkee Cliffs Walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from how long is the Kilkee Cliff walk to where does it start.
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.
How long is the Kilkee Cliff Walk?
The shorter 5km trail will take you a bit over an hour to complete while the longer, 8km trail, should take 2 to 3 hours, depending on pace.
Where does the Kilkee Cliff Walk start?
The walk at the Kilkee Cliffs starts at the Diamond Rocks Cafe.
Is the walk worth doing?
Yes – this is an excellent way to see some of the most under-appreciated cliffs in Clare from a wonderfully unique angle.
Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.