I have listed the time it takes to travel by car from our home to these spots but as with all places in Ireland the drive itself is most enjoyable and plenty to see along the way.
- Walk the Cliffs of Moher
1 hour from Balally House
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the local weather site magicseeweed.com. It is very accurate and it means you won’t be disappointed by the rain. Honestly most days are great in Ireland during the summer other than the occasional shower that will usually cross over so never look out the window in your B&B and think ‘today is not the day to do something’ The weather can change by the hour and it can be completely different only 20 mins up the road. So keep an eye on the above website each morning and plan your time out of the car accordingly.
The height of summer can be very busy up at the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre but please be aware that this is only the visitor centre. You don’t have to go to this part as you will be charged. The cliffs are there to enjoy for free. I would encourage you to get out of the car and put a couple of hours into walking the cliffs. Slow your holiday down a little. I see so many people getting out of the car to take a picture and move on. I think these people regret this on their flight back home. Yes I understand you want to see as much as possible but you will never see all of Ireland (as small as people think it is), so make peace with this fact and enjoy what is in front of you. Choose an area and see it well. Be present!
Please note, you can get a connecting bus back from Doolin to your car. So you could park here and get the bus back or vice versa. This route is 8km.
Cliffsofmohercoastalwalk.ie Alternatively you can park at Hag’s Head and walk 6km to the visitor centre. Even better bring a packed lunch and sit and enjoy the view. It doesn’t get much better.
The Cliffs by sunset when the other tourists have left can be very special and memorable but again keep an eye on what time of year it is as our summers can have sunset as late as 10pm
If you go direct to the cliffs from Balally House, or direct home I suggest you check out the village of Ennistymon (30 mins from Balally House). It’s a lovely typical Irish village. It’s busy with local people going about their business but the streetscape and houses are wonderful and a great photo opportunity. Make sure to get out and see the cascades and stretch your legs along its river walk. There are lovely little restaurants to catch some lunch or dinner. The Red Fox is special.
Lahinch is worth stopping at and you can park down near the waterfront. The locals all swim and you can get surfing lessons here. Lots of cute souvenir shops and pubs with music. Fish and chip restaurants and ice cream parlours galore. Egan’s pub in Liscannor is a cool pub to stop for a drink.
The turn for hags head ( the alternative cliffs of moher car park without the major crowds) is just after Liscannor and a left turn before the Rock shop.
Find St Brigid’s Shrine on your way out of Liscannor.(taking a right turn past the rock shop) It is a typical holy well that is said to have healing powers to those that believe. There are said to be 3000 in Ireland. It is one mile down from the Cliffs of Moher car park. Look out for the obelisk statue beside it.
If you have kids, I highly recommend the Moher Farm to stop, see the many animals, enjoy the view and grab a coffee while the kids play in the many indoor and outdoor playground and sand pits.
- The Loop Head
1 hour drive from Balally House to Carrigaholt.
Walk around the lighthouse at The Loop Head and discover the Bridges of Ross
An optional day trip from Balally House is to take the 45 min drive to Kilrush town. Hop on the boat over to Scattery Island between June and August. There are a number of historical buildings including a monastery, round tower, several churches, a lighthouse and artillery battery. It is lovely to walk and explore and learn of life on the island through the years. Pack a picnic.
I’ve spoke of The Loop Head in my other blogs. The view the whole way is spectacular. Make time to pull the car over and check out the old graveyards and holy wells signposted along the way. There are plenty of typical farm cottages to take a picture.
The walk around the lighthouse is stunning. Watch out for the EIRE sign in the grass (a WW2 relic that warned pilots they were in neutral airspace.)
Carrigaholt You can book a boat to find Europe’s largest group of bottlenose Dolphins with approx. 200 living off this shoreline.
- The Bridges of Ross you have to look out for, as you may pass it without realising. Make sure to take the short walk around to them as you can not see them from the car park. Hopefully you will see the wild goats walking along the edge of the cliffs.
Don’t take any shortcuts driving back towards Kilkee. Ignore the sat nav and follow the Wild Atlantic Way signs and you can’t go wrong.
- Kilkee is a fun seaside village with a beautiful beach. I highly recommend driving up the left side as you look at the beach and park at the Rocks Cafe car park. From here you can swim in the rock pools. Do walk the cliff path as it is one of my favourite walks. It is a must see.
- Go get lost in The Burren ( all directions are beautiful)
Only 30 mins to the start of the Burren from Balally House
See Ireland’s eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures at the Aillwee Cave, Ballyvaughan
Pick up some signature scents from the Burren Perfumery. If you want to sample smoked Irish salmon, The Burren smokehouse is located not far in Lisdoonvarna.
Buy some homemade Chocolate from Hazel Mountain Chocolates in the
heart of the Burren. Try to find Leamaneh Castle. Built 1480 (40 mins from Balally House)
I always enjoyed seeing this when I was little. It is a ruined castle located in the townland of Leamaneh North, parish of Kilnaboy, between the villages of Corofin and Kilfenora.
Dunguaire castle is also worth driving by.
Not far from the castle I recommend Linnane’s lobster bar in new Quay for a fresh tasty fish lunch or dinner.
So to summarize, The loop head will take you one day
Scattery island is the guts of a day.
The Cliff of Moher walk, Enistymon, Lahinch and Doolin is another day.
The Burren area is a full day.