If you’re in search of the best things to do in Kilkee, you’ve landed in the right place.
Kilkee in County Clare is a charming beach resort that grew in popularity in Victorian times. It’s a horse-shoe shaped bay, its entrance protected by a reef known as the Duggerna Rocks.
At its most popular, the town attracted almost a quarter of a million visitors every year—tempted by its climate, bathing areas and the nearby amenities.
In the guide below, you’ll discover lots of different things to do in Kilkee, from the cliff walk and the beach to places to eat and more.
Our favourite things to do in Kilkee
The first section of this guide tackles our favourite things to do in Kilkee in Clare, from walks and coffee to food and surfing.
Below, you’ll find everything from the brilliant Kilkee Cliff walk and the mighty Kilkee Beach to some fine spots for a feed.
1. Kick-start your visit with a bite from the Diamond Rocks Café
Food with a view, anyone? The Diamond Rocks Café perches on the cliff walk and on a clear day, you’ll be able to see the Aran Islands to the north, Kerry to the South and the Duggerna Rocks.
The food is locally sourced and treats include the full Irish breakfast, fish and chips and a well-supplied pastry cabinet. See our Kilkee hotels guide for loads more places to eat.
2. Then head off on the Kilkee Cliff Walk
Belly filled, you’ll need to walk off the calories. The Kilkee Cliff walk is arguably one of the most popular things to do in Kilkee, and for good reason.
The walk starts at the car park that overlooks the Pollock Holes at the town’s west end. The cliff walk is a loop that takes the walker along a cliff path that meanders its way past varied coastline.
The walk is just over 18 kilometres/11 miles and will take you about 4-5 hours, depending on fitness. Remember to dress appropriately and pack water/energy snacks to keep you going.
3. Or brave the chilly Atlantic with a paddle on Kilkee Beach
Kilkee Beach is reckoned to be one of the best and safest places for bathing on the Irish west coast. The semi-circle strand is sheltered, and the water will be at its warmest in September.
The waters are crystal clear and thus attract many scuba divers wishing to explore everything below sea level. Dog walkers are welcome, so long as they keep their dogs on a lead and clean up after them.
4. Head off in search of dolphins with Carrigaholt Dolphin Watch
The Loop Head Peninsula is home to Europe’s largest collection of bottlenose dolphins. Dolphin Watch allows you to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
The Dolphins and Nature Trip is a wildlife adventure where you will see the dolphins mainly in their family groups as they follow the tidal currents in search of food, rest or bathe.
Dolphin calves are born every year and you may be lucky enough to see some of the young ‘uns, who tend to be particularly playful and enjoy bow riding.
You will also see other marine wildlife such as grey seals, peregrine falcons, choughs, gannets, the nesting sites of pelagic sea birds and be shown the historic landmarks that are rich in maritime culture and folklore.
The trip lasts two to three hours and, as it’s one of the more unique things to do in Kilkee (well, near Kilkee, booking is advised).
Popular things to do in Kilkee (and close by)
When you’ve finished ticking off the various things to do in Kilkee mentioned above, you’ve plenty more to explore nearby.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Kilkee (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Take a spin out to Loop Head Lighthouse
It’s from Loop Head Lighthouse you will see some of the finest wild Atlantic views in Ireland. There has been a lighthouse on the site for hundreds of years and it’s a great place to stare upon the Atlantic Ocean and its inhabitants, the dolphins, seabirds and seals.
The Loop Head Peninsula was awarded the European Destinations of Excellence Award in 2010, meaning that visitors can enjoy their stay with a clear conscience as the area is committed to developing tourism in a responsible, sustainable way.
2. Visit the Bridges of Ross
The Bridges of Ross are on the western side of Ross Bay near the village of Kilbaha and 8 kilometres from Carrigaholt. Once upon a time there were three ‘bridges’ or sea stacks but today only one remains. It’s a very popular spot for bird watching as the sea birds pass very close to the shore, especially in the autumn.
3. Spin along the coast to Spanish Point
This village near Milltown Malbay is named for the Spanish ships that were part of the Spanish Armada that came to ground here in the late 16th century.
All the sailors who escaped their wrecked ships were later executed and buried in a mass grave. The village has many holiday homes, and its beach is popular with surfers.
There’s plenty of things to do in Spanish Point (like Snámhai Sásta) and there’s plenty more to see along the coast.
4. Then stop off again at Lahinch
The small seaside town of Lahinch is another popular resort for surfers. It’s on the Liscannor Bay and also has a golf club. There are several small cafes and restaurants, a church, a pub, two hotels, a bookstore and a surfing school.
5. Soak up the view at the Cliffs of Moher
Famous for its appearance in major films such as Harry Potter, and the Princess Bride, the Cliffs of Moher is a County Clare must see. There are safe paved walkways to explore and views over the Atlantic that will take your breath away. The visitor centre, sculpted from the local landscape, includes permanent exhibitions marking the history and geography of the area.
6. Explore Doolin
Close by the Cliffs of Moher is Doolin, a lively little town that’s worth kicking-back in for a bite. Attraction wise, there’s plenty of things to do in Doolin.
FAQs about the best places to visit in Kilkee
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything for what are the most unique things to do in Kilkee to where to see nearby.
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 are the best things to do in Kilkee?
I’d argue that the best things to do in Kilkee are the cliff walk and a ramble along Kilkee Beach.
What Kilkee attractions are often missed by those visiting?
In terms of places that are often missed, the Loop Head Peninsula is one that can be overlooked at times, but that’s well worth exploring.
Are there many things to do near Kilkee?
Yes! You’ve everything from beaches and walks to Doolin, the Burren, Spanish Point and lots more near Kilkee.
Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he’d still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.