That very first pony ride that started your daughter’s life-long love for riding. The laughter at the cheeky duck that stole all the bread your little ones threw… and the afternoon of carefree play spent in the Park. It could be as momentous as the first time your teen stood upright on a surf board and soared with pride – or as simple as sitting on the sea wall eating the best ice cream ever and truly feeling ‘life is good’. These are the special times that count – and whatever the memory, they’re what turns a simple holiday into an epic adventure and a moment to be treasured forever. Here in Clare we’re big on family time – which is why we’ve made sure our county is packed full of everything you need for endless magical moments in the making.
Moher Hill Open Farm and Leisure Park – Whatever you do, make sure to factor into your holiday a trip to the beautiful Moher Hill Farm – a chance for little ones to interact with and get to know their favourite animals in their natural surrounds and have so much fun they don’t realise they’re learning too! A 14 acre open farm, Moher Hill is situated overlooking Liscannor on the West Coast of County Clare – handy for visits to Lahinch, Ennistymon, Liscannor and Doolin. Children are able to get up close and play with animals typical of Irish farm life as well as some more exotic characters like Leroy the llama and Andy the alpaca. Look out for the delightful family of Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs and join in the fun or daily bottle feeding. To round off the experience the farm also features a host of fun activities from a bouncing castle to ball pool and mini golf. Bring a picnic and make a day of it and relax in the new coffee shop.
The Farmyard – Live, work and play – the healthy way! A slightly different farmyard experience can be enjoyed at The Farmyard – nestled at the foot of the Mullaghmor Mountains in Corofin. This is a working farm that promotes good health for families and lets you experience farm life up close and personal – from beautiful walks around the farm to cow milking and sheep shearing demonstrations. Restful, rejuvenating and totally rewarding.
Linnalla Ice Cream – While you’re out The Burren Way, be sure to stop off at the legendary Linnalla Ice Cream – an absolute gem of an ice cream Parlour on a farm that is situated on the Wild Atlantic Way’s ‘Flaggy Shore’ (made famous by Seamus Heaney’s poem Post Script). It’s the creamiest, most delicious of ice creams made from fresh, natural, farm-produced ingredients and nothing else. It’s the taste of rich and authentic Irish tradition in an ice cream.
If it’s more of an inside type of a day – the interactive toddler area at Barney’s KidzClub in Ennis could be just the thing to occupy busy little ones. A baby and toddler area with fun, educational equipment, toddler slide and ball pool are instant hits! Also in Ennis is Dennis’ Den FunWorld featuring a toddler area with ball pool, slide and play area (slightly older kids will love the Adventure Land here – with mega fun activities like a Snake Slide, Tube Slide and Free-Fall Slide.)
Of course sometimes it’s the simplest things of all that are the biggest hits – like an afternoon walk at the beautiful Two Mile Gate which is the start of the Ballycuggeran Loop Walk in Killaloe and a beautiful place to take in the lakeside tranquillity while feeding the resident ducks and swans.
Vast open countryside, big sky wonder, the mighty Atlantic and endless hills and vales – it’s all just begging for outdoor action and offering up endless exciting options to keep older kids entertained. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
• Lahinch Adventures – a first-rate company offering a wide range of outdoor adventure activities, from surfing and archery to sea kayaking and cycling.
• Shannon Leisure Climbing Wall – at the Shannon Leisure Centre, Shannon, this is a great way to get kids and adults moving while having loads of fun.
• Surfing Lessons – there are a whole range of surf centres in Lahinch, Spanish Point and Fanore to introduce older kids to the exciting world of surfing. Clare has some of the most experienced instructors in the world and centres are members of the Irish Surfing Association. Only the best quality equipment is used and most centres offer fun summer surf camps for kids of all ages.
• Burren Outdoor Educational Centre – Kids love discovering the secrets of The Burren – above and below ground. From underground passages and streams to climbing limestone crags, this dramatic Karst landscape that is a unique feature of Clare is the stuff adventures are made of. Experienced tutors and guides who know the best, off-the-beaten track places to go are available to make sure you get the most from your experience.
• UL Sports Activity Centre – don’t miss this home of high quality adventure in the East of Clare at Killaloe. Activities include sailing, power boating, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing, dragon boating and archery.
One of the great things about being in County Clare is that there is simply SO much for families to do that doesn’t cost a cent. So your holiday spend goes that much further. Be sure you look up the many and varied places and attractions that invite you to explore, enjoy and:
Connect with the past…
The Clare Museum in Ennis includes a collection of over 400 fascinating artefacts of Clare origin and includes original works of art, interactive experiences and fascinating audio-visual displays.
Treat the senses…
Inspired by the flora and beauty of the Burren landscape, the Burren Perfumery and Floral Centre creates signature scents and an artisan range of hand-crafted soaps, creams and candles. It’s a true sensory treat for the whole family! View the fascinating manufacturing workshop and be inspired by the award-winning organic herb garden.
If great taste is more your thing, be sure to head to the Burren Smokehouse to find out how Ireland’s favourite fish is smoked, see the biggest ever wild salmon ever caught for the smokehouse and load up with delicious treats from the gourmet shop.
Get closer to nature…
Situated in the South-East Part of the Burren, Dromore Woodland Nature Reserve is around 400 hectares of rich and diverse landscape, flora and fauna – truly an experience for mind, body and soul. Plus, as historical interest, the 17th century O’Brien Castle is still standing by the lake edge
Alternatively, Lees Road Sports and Amenity Park is just 1 km from Ennis town centre and is set on 134 acres of wood and Parkland with stunning marked walks and trails through the woodland. (Look out for the children’s playground and skateboard Park too!)
Moving South-West of the county, the breath-taking Vandeleur Walled Garden is set among 420 acres of native woodland, just outside of Kilrush. It features a horizontal maze, unusual water-features and a unique butterfly trail that kids love!
In Mountshannon, Aistear Iniscealtra offers a green and peaceful retreat, taking you from Park to harbour through a visual feast of 500 trees and shrubs – just glorious and made for true holiday relaxation.
And if they’ve still got the energy to play…
County Clare has some fabulous local playgrounds and are especially great for when you need to take a break in the journey and let the kids stretch their legs. Look out for the uniquely-situated ones – like the Cappa playground in Kilrush, which is located looking onto the beach. Kilbaha is a good choice if you’re making a journey to the extreme West of the County, Loop Head, while the Park in Newmarket-on-Fergus is ideal for guests staying close-by.
More moments, more fun, more relaxing, more memories. It’s what Clare is all about. From Bunratty to Ballycuggeran, and from Cappa to Clarecastle – it’s simply who we are. We can’t wait to share this spirit with you soon!