Those of us who know of Clare would have no problem agreeing with the title of this article, whether or not we have visited or lived there...
I would love to hear your comments and thoughts...
What, to you, is the stand out 'must visit' part of Clare and why?
N.B. Apologies to those who have tried to post comments... there seems to be a problem with this at the moment. I have reported it. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me by email as per the address in the About Me left hand column and I will post your comments on your behalf.
From here to Co. Clare: Ireland's west coast gem
Ireland's beauty stretches far and wide, from the rugged pulchritude of Connemara to the verdant hills of Kerry to the seaside splendor of Wexford. Even the urban grit of Dublin boasts innumerable specimens of gorgeous art and architecture.
But nestled quietly midway on Eire's west coast is a county that still features the picture post-card prettiness that is often attached to many Americans' idealization of the land: Clare.
If you're looking to encounter ancient ruins, sea-swept coasts, traditional music, thatched cottages and plenty of sheep blocking narrow roads, Clare may be the best destination for you. Although you can find most of those features in many parts of Ireland, Clare is a great home base for exploring the entire west coast area. It's only an hour from Galway City and less than that to Co. Kerry.
It also showcases such natural wonders as the Cliffs of Moher and the rocky, almost lunar-like limestone terrain of the Burren. Its county seat, Ennis, is short drive from Shannon Airport.
While there are numerous reasons to visit this bucolic haven, below are five that make it exceptional.
Doolin – This tiny village, nestled along the coastline just up from the Cliffs of Moher, is a music and arts haven. It's basically one road with three famous pubs: Gus O'Connor's, McDermott's, and McGann's. All three pull a fine pint and feature traditional music many nights of the week.
Ancient portal tomb Poulanbrone in Co. Clare is thought to be at least 3,000 years old. George Lenker
Poulnabrone – There is something magical about this millennia-old dolmen (a rock-covered portal tomb) set out in the middle of nowhere on the craggy landscape of The Burren. Knowing you are looking at a burial chamber from at least 2900 B.C. where the remains of 22 adults and six children were buried should give anyone pause. (More in article...)
The ruins of Leamaneh Castle, located in the heart of Co. Clare George Lenker
Ruins — Ireland's landscape is dotted with old, intriguing stone buildings in various states of disrepair, but Co. Clare has some of the more interesting ones. The more famous of these are Dysert O'Dea Castle and Corcromroe Abbey, but smaller interesting ruins sit just off main roadways. (More in article...)
Ennis – This bustling little burgh is the county seat of Clare and has much to offer in the way of pubs, arts and, of course, shopping. You can't beat Brogan's for a pint and a bite, as well as for some great tunes at night. The quieter Diamond Bar is about as friendly and quaint a place as you'll find in all of Ireland. Just walking its medieval cobblestone streets is a delight. If you go in May, there is also a wonderful traditional music festival.