The brilliant Kilkee Cliff Walk is one of the most popular things to do in Kilkee in Clare.
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. 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, which is where you end the walk too.
2. Time it takes and length
There are two routes – the 5km, short route will take you between 60 and 80 minutes to complete while the 8km route will take you 2 to 3 hours, depending on pace.
3. Weather and safety
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. While there is a good pathway, getting too close to the cliff edge always carries risks, so please stick to the paths.
4. Where to park
Park at the Pollock Holes car park at the Diamond Rocks café. Stopping off here after you have finished the walk is highly recommended. A hot chocolate and a nice cake make a well-deserved treat.
The Kilkee Cliff Walk (the long and short version)
As mentioned earlier, there is a long and short version of the walk. Opt for the 5km if you fancy a short stroll or the 8km if you’re feeling particularly energetic.
The 5km version turns left just before Dunlicky Road, whereas for the longer route, you turn right instead walking along the coastal path until you come to a left turn, which will take you back to Kilkee.
A Google map of the walk
To give you a better sense of the route to follow, we’ve knocked up a Google map that outlines the full loop here.
As you can see, the first half of the trail takes you along the coast, while the second brings you back to the town via Moveen (with some gorgeous views en route).
Kicking off the walk
The walk starts at the Diamond Rocks Café, where you can either start or stop your ramble with a hot drink and food. The café is well known for its lovely baked goods and magnificent sandwiches.
The first half of the trail
As you set off, you will pass the Pollock Holes, the natural swimming pools for which Kilkee is so famous, and then the Diamond Rocks that are quartz-filled (hence the name) a natural stone amphitheater created by the waves, and Intrinsic Bay where the Intrinsic ship sank in 1836, losing all hands on board.
The second half
The second half of the Kilkee Cliffs Walk takes you away from the coast and back to the town, via Moveen Hill.
Now, caution is needed here, as you’ll be walking along a narrow road with no path for the most part, so keep an eye and an ear out for cars and step in off the road if needed.
Finishing up the walk
When you arrive back into town, make your way to Kilkee Beach and soak up some final ocean views to round off your ramble.
If you’re feeling peckish, or if you’re looking for a place to stay, you’ll find plenty of places dishing out food and providing accommodation in our Kilkee Hotels guide.
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 (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
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.