Loophead Peninsula Attractions
Loop Head Peninsula, Co Clare
- Bird watching
- Dolphin and Whale watching
- Spectacular cliff walks
- Dramatic cliffscapes
- Cozy pubs; fresh seafood restaurants
The Loop Head Peninsula in southwest Clare stretches from Kilkee to Kilbaha, continuing further to one of Europe’s major lighthouses. It marks the Mouth of the Shannon, Ireland’s longest river and is a premier sea bird watching area. Carrigaholt, on the south side of the peninsula, is the first safe anchorage for ships coming in from the Atlantic, and steeped in maritime history.
Carrigaholt Castle watches over the entrance to the Shannon with many a story to tell of bloody battles for marine supremacy. Kilbaha is the last village on the peninsula, the nearest to the lighthouse, and increasingly popular with artists and craftspeople. Interesting facts and stories are presented in an artisan fashion in the village park areas.
Cliff walks abound with long views of spectacular coastal scenery. Free car parking at the Bridges of Ross and the Loop Head Lighthouse allows you to ramble in comfort on the footpaths that take you along the cliffs and storm beaches of this remarkable area. Ancient churches, stone forts, ring forts and even a cliff top folly are some of the structures that await the adventurer. Wild coastal flowers like sea pinks and orchids add stunning colour and contrast to the rough and wild landscape.
Less people means more wildlife and this is evident in abundance on the Peninsula. The cliff ledges provide nesting sites for guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and kittiwakes. The storm beaches are refuges for grey seals to give birth in late summer. A short walk east from the Lighthouse car park brings you to the spectacular sight of one of the major breeding colonies of guillemots around the Irish coast.
Whales and dolphins and diving gannets are often seen from the tip of the Peninsula and along the coast. The sheltered Mouth of the Shannon is home to a large resident group of bottlenose dolphins which are sometimes visible from the land or the pier at Carrigaholt. Wild goats, hares, falcons, ravens and choughs are some of the fauna that can be seen in this beautifully remote area.
The Peninsula has an island feel and offers a genuine look at old Ireland. Cozy, warm pubs give respite from the Atlantic breezes. Famous seafood chowder, local produce and home cooking can be enjoyed in Carrigaholt and Kilbaha.
Photographs of Loop Head: Brian Doyle, Loop Head Studios. www.loopheadstudio.com