Over the years much discussion has taken place in Clare among tourism providers and agencies regarding the branding and active promotion of the county. A number of studies of the Tourism Industry in Clare have also been commissioned, presenting a range of recommendations and proposals to maximise our tourism potential. The single most important recommendation was the need to market County Clare as an entity.
In response, the Clare Tourism Forum was established to provide a collaborative approach to tourism promotion in County Clare that will facilitate the efficient and effective development of the tourism industry in the county. The forum consists of a public / private organisation partnership and is representative of all the sectors of the Clare tourism industry. A working group is in place, meeting on a monthly basis, to co-ordinate the Forums activities.
County Clare is a maritime county lying midway on the Mid West of Ireland. The county is bordered by the Atlantic to the west, the Shannon Estuary to the south and Lough Derg to the east. The county boundary commences just east of the city of Limerick and runs in a north westerly direction to Galway Bay just north of the town of Gort. Neighbouring counties are Tipperary, Limerick, Kery and Galway.
The landscape of Clare is varied, from rich pastureland of the golden Vale by the Shannon Rover to the rugged lunar like stone pavements of the Burren Region. On the eastern periphery of the County lie Lough Derg and the wonderful hills of Clare by Killaloe, Scarriff and Tuamgraney. Southward beyond Kilmaley is rich bog land and sylvan terrain offering total contrast. Along the coasr from Kilrush to the Cliffs of Moher is some beautiful coastline scenery, from the ‘Bridges of Ross’ near Kilkee to the Cliffs of Moher which span the coastline for about 5 kilometres.
While the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren are iconic landmarks that are much celebrated, the county has a trove of hidden roads and areas waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
The majority of the county is limestone based and where land is good, the natural drainage provides rich pasture for grazing of animals. East of Ennis, in Quin and Newmarket on Fergus, there is a thriving equine industry in the rearing and training of horses for racing and eventing. Elsewhere, cattle farming is divided between dairying to the east and improver herds on the dry land close to the Burren area.
Most parts of the County are accessible through National Roads marked “N” on the roadmaps eg “N85”. Smaller country roads are denoted with the letter “R”. Other roads or tracks may be prefixed with the letter “L”- these roads are tighter and usually not marked. They often serve specific locations. It is best to ask directions when using these roads.