Clare is the county of the world-famous Burren. Its eastern boundary is formed by the River Shannon and Lough Derg, while in the west, there's the wonderful Atlantic coast, varying from mighty cliffs to caverns or sandy bays. To the north, the coast rises to almost 700 feet above the sea, giving birth to the Cliffs of Moher. To the south, The Shannon, Ireland's greatest river, meets the sea in a broad estuary.
The town of Ennis, both a tourist base and a thriving market town, is at the same time a historic town, full of monuments. One may take the Ennis Heritage Walk in order to learn more about it.
Lahinch, about 20 miles from Ennis, is sure to have an odd mixture of people: wealthy middle-aged people who come here to play golf on the famous Lahinch Golf Links Course, young people who come for surfing, and families who come for the caravan park and for the beach. Lahinch Seaworld and Leisure Centre, incorporating the Atlantic Aquarium, is a good choice, especially if it's a rainy day.
The town of Shannon, a very new one, developed to service Shannon Airport, the world's first Duty-Free airport; Bunratty Castle is not far from Shannon, and, about 8 miles from it, there's the Craggaunowen Project, that includes the restored Craggaunowen Castle and early Irish dwellings, such as crannogs and ringforts.
The Cliffs of Moher, on the west coast, are one of the county's natural wonders. Travelling up the coast, The Burren is not far away. About 150 square miles in area, the Burren, Europe's largest rock garden, with slabs of limestone rock and tufts of grass growing between them, carries evidence of prehistoric life as well, with its dolmens (Poulnabrone Dolmen), stone forts, ancient churches, holy wells, burial grounds; the Castletown Castle is here too, to witness the history of the places. The Ailwee Cave is a captivating place, the former hibernation chamber of the brown bear being now full of stalactites and stalagmites. Should a heavy rain fall, the turloughs, little lakes that appear over ground, will be a spooky, but fascinating sight, too. The Burren constitutes a habitat where cold and warm weather vegetation grow side by side, and rare specimens of the flora and fauna are present here.
Boat trips are available to the Aran Islands, as well as around Carrigaholt Harbour, which is a natural home for bottlenose dolphins; the route of the tours is dictated by the movements of the dolphins.
Lough Derg is the ideal place for watersports: sailing, rowing, windsurfing, canoeing, cruising, diving. However, some of the tourists come here to see "Inis Cealtra" or "Holy Island", near the centre of the lake; the remains of 5 churches are here, as well as a cemetery with graves dating from earlier than the 12th century and an unusual 80-foot high round tower.
Killaloe, at the south of the lake, preserves the site of the royal palace of Brian Boru, the first high king of all Ireland, as well as the Cathedral of Saint Flannan, with the tomb of Muircheartach and the ogham stone.
Beautiful countryside surrounds the area and traditional music is heard everywhere in Clare. In July, Milton Malbay is completely taken over by "Willie Clancy Summer School", a unique event, in that it offers both demonstrations and lessons/workshops on all aspects of traditional Irish music.