Deep in the belly of County Clare lies a town that stole my heart many moons ago.
Maybe it’s the fact that it’s at the heart of some of Clare’s best scenery, or the fact that it’s home to many a cosy and buzzy pub.
All I know is that Doolin is a place that I’ll keep visiting over and over again.
The one thing you won’t get is a fully detailed road trip guide. If you’re visiting Clare and looking for a guide on things to do, check out our coastal road trip guide and skip to the section on Clare.
Right, let’s get cracking.
First up, a little dash of inspiration
Sit back, hit play and check out the gorgeous video below from Doolin Tourism.
Where to stay in Doolin?
So, for me, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of when choosing a place to stay in this gorgeous corner of Ireland:
The first is budget (unsurprisingly)
There’s a tonne of great hostels that you can stay in if you want to keep costs low, and there are also numerous hotels and B&B’s if you’re happy to spend a bit more
The second is location
I made an almighty balls of booking a place to stay in Doolin back in 2016. It said the place was a 11 minute walk to the nearest pub on Google Maps, but it was winter, it got dark early, and the roads leading to the pub didn’t have paths.
In a nutshell – we were stuck in the room for the night.
For those of you looking to stay in a hotel, I can recommend a place that I stayed in back of October of 2017.
This isn’t in any way of an advertisement, I just remember my experience with the lads below very well.
The Doolin Inn
The Doolin Inn was absolutely flawless.
We stayed in a private twin room and were able to take the short stroll over to Gus O’Connor’s Pub for food and pints later in the evening.
The price for the night was decent, too!
There are many different B&B’s in Doolin that you can spend a couple of nights in.
The one I’m going to recommend is one that’s been recommended to me on many occassions, due to the host and the view of the Cliffs of Moher that it treats visitors to.
The Limestone Lodge B&B
Welcome to Limestone Lodge in Doolin in County Clare.
If you look at the picture below, you’ll get a taste of the view out to the Cliffs of Moher that awaits you in this charming guesthouse.
The hand-built stone wall seals the deal for me.
Hostels in Doolin
I’m going to be 100% honest, I stayed in one hostel in Doolin over the years and I couldn’t recommend it.
So, I’ve had to have a little dig around online to find out what the best ones are, according to other travelers.
According to Hostel World, the below hostels are the best in the area:
- Rainbow Hostel Doolin
- The Doolin Hostel
- Flanagan’s Village Hostel
Next up, 6 of the best things to do in Doolin at any time of the year
Now that you’re sorted with a place to stay, let’s move on to the best things to do in the area.
If there’s anything that you think I should add, pop a comment in the comments section below.
1 – Take the Doolin Ferry out to Inis Oírr (Inisheer)
I hate boats. No, really. I absolutely hate them. With a passion.
It could be down to movies like JAWS and the Perfect Storm, but it’s probably more likely due to the fact that I get seasick at the drop of a hat.
But, I took the ferry to Inis Oirr recently… and loved it!
Doolin Ferry provides a boat to Inis Oírr from the village pier and it’s worth every penny.
The trip to the island takes just 30 minutes but when you arrive you’ll reach a slab of rural paradise off Ireland’s West Coast.
Rent a bike for a tenner and cycle along the narrow country roads, surrounded by hand-built stone walls that separate the different fields on the island.
It’s like taking a step back in time.
I can’t even begin to recommend this enough.
Finish off your trip with a creamy pint of Guinness in the pub near the pier.
2 – Check out Moher on the Doolin Cliff Walk
If you’re staying in Doolin then the chances are you plan on wandering over to the Cliffs of Moher. If it wasn’t on your itinerary then get it jotted down sharpish!
The Doolin cliff walk is a unique and active way to experience the Cliffs of Moher and is run by local expert Pat Sweeney.
The walk kicks off early in the morning from Fisher Street in Doolin, just outside O’Connors Pub.
A handy walk if you’re staying in the village. If you have the car, there’s some limited parking just outside the pub but there are many more spaces down at the pier.
The walk takes adventurers towards Doonagore Castle and up to the walking trail along the Cliffs of Moher. As you walk, you’ll be greeted with spectacular views of the cliffs as they rise up into view in the distance.
If you manage to tear your eyes away from the scenery along the route, Pat will take you through the history of the area, recounting memorable stories, myths and past memories.
If you plan on visiting the cliffs without the guide, they’re only a stones throw from the village with the journey only around 15 minutes in length by car.
3 – Mosey on down to the Doolin Cave
After a long walk along the cliffs, a trip to the Doolin Cave is the perfect follow up.
Armed with a roomy cafe out front, you can grab a coffee and a cake before you kick off the tour.
The Doolin Cave is home to the largest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. Known as ‘The Great Stalactite’, it hangs from the ceiling like some giant cone-shaped chandelier.
Particularly mesmerising when you think that it formed from a single drop of water many years ago.
Located in the Burren region of County Clare, the cave was formed around 350 million years ago, but was actually only discovered in 1952.
The most recently opened show cave in Ireland, it opened to visitors in 2010 and now boasts a popular visitor center.
The tour itself packs a punch, taking visitors to the natural entrance of the cave, a stream sink at the base of a cliff face, through the main chamber where a guide turns on a light to illuminate the Great Stalactite.
Definitely worth a visit!
4 – Sample some of the best chocolate in the land
I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but the stuff this place is churning out is just stupidly tasty. Known as the Doolin Chocolate Shop, it’s actually a sister company of Wilde Irish Chocolates, who’ve been perfecting their craft since 1997.
These guys create over 80 different chocolates out of a small artisan chocolate factory. On a recent visit, we went for the white chocolate Oreo meringue. It tasted even better than it sounds.
5 – Cruise beneath the cliffs
One of the tours you can choose with Doolin Ferry involves cruising beneath the Cliffs of Moher on the return journey from Inis Oírr.
I’ve been to the cliffs twice before and loved each visit, but this is just a whole other ball game.
You get surprisingly close to the cliff face, and it’s only when you approach from below that you truly appreciate the sight of the 700 foot cliff that’s towering above you.
Couple the view with the fact that you’re on a relatively small boat that’s swaying side-to-side thanks to the rough Atlantic Ocean and you’re in for a treat.
If you’ve got the time, I’d 100% recommend doing the Inis Oírr/Cliffs of Moher Ferry tour. Y
ou take a spin out to Inis Oírr on the ferry, spend a couple of hours on the island and then take a trip back along the cliffs.
6 – Grab a pint and some beef and Guinness stew in Gus O’Conners
After a ramble along the cliffs or a trip to Inis Oírr, the chances are you’ll be tired, hungry and probably cold/wet.
Gus O’Conners pub is the perfect spot to recharge the batteries.
Pubs in Doolin
- McGann’s Pub
- McDermott’s Bar
- Fitzpatrick’s Bar