Counties of Ireland - Clare

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Quiet and unassuming, Clare secretly holds many Irish treasures. Home to not only the dramatic and beloved Cliffs of Moher - one of the most popular natural attractions in the world - Clare also lays claim to the rocky karst landscape of The Burren and is bounded to the east and south by the River Shannon.

Coat of arms for County Clare

The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

The Shannon Estuary flows along the south coast of Clare and offers an endless number of recreational activities, including golf (at Dromoland Castle or at world-class links courses in Doonbeg and Lahinch), water sports (try Windsurfing, Sailing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Surfing and Scuba Diving at Kilkee – its magnificent horse-shoe bay, nearly one mile in length, has long been recognised as the best and safest bathing place on the western coast of Ireland) and dolphin watching (with daily dolphin watch tours from the modern marina in the West Clare market down of Kilrush).

The town of Shannon houses the Republic of Ireland's second-largest airport, Shannon Airport, and built next door is the Shannon Free Zone, a 2-square-kilometre business park that has drawn numerous multinational corporations with its promise of attractive tax packages. This has led to an inordinate number of international expats, especially North Americans, being settled in what would otherwise be a tiny, non-descript village.

Ennis is Clare's county town, known as a centre of nightlife in the county, while up North, the village of Doolin draws huge crowds of international visitors with its renowned traditional Irish music scene, though be prepared to battle hordes of American college students if you decide to attend a gig here. Likewise, the quaint village of Lisdoonvarna, noted for its annual matchmaking festival, was immortalised in song by Irish folkster, Christy Moore. And Ireland's most famous sitcom, Father Ted, was largely shot at Glenquin in Co. Clare.

The village of Bunratty is home to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, and while the costumed performances here err on the side of twee, the castle itself is indisputably one of the most well preserved medieval fortresses on the island. Co. Clare is also home to a number of historic religious sites and ancient tombs, many of them situated within the stark, lunar landscape of The Burren.

Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare

Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare

Many of Clare's most famous people are its musicians, including several noted trad performers, such as the Kilfenora Céilí Band, Maura O'Connell and Sharon Shannon. Other famous Clare people include G.A.A. founder, Michael Cusack, former President of Ireland, Patrick Hillery and John Philip Holland, who invented the submarine.

The Burren is a karst-landscape region in northwest Co Clare. It is one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe. The region measures approximately 250 square kilometres.

A dolmen in County Clare

101 Must-Do’ ways to live your regional connection.

Our 101 team have been working with local tourism, business, community and Council initiatives to bring you some of the best ways for you to live your connection to Clare.

Top 20 Surnames from Clare

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8 Day Clare Region and Best of Ireland Tour
Look beyond the amazing landscape Ireland has to offer and launch your own personal journey to the heart of Ireland with experiences crafted around your interests. Find out more »
Clare Irish 4 Day Getaway
Step back in time. Step forward in your understanding of who you think you are. Get a taste of what is at the essence of Ireland. Find out more »
Cultural Map of Ireland