Counties Mayo and Clare, Ireland - travel recommendations
June 8, 2024 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Partner and I will be visiting Ireland this August (by car) and spending about a week on the west coast, mostly County Mayo and a bit in County Clare, to visit grandparents' hometowns. Looking for any personal recommendations for places to stay and to visit. Interests include birding, walking, history (especially ancient), and traditional music. Open to B&Bs or hotels or even castles if not too fancy.

I have checked previous asks and found some good info, but this question is specifically about the northwest coastal area of Ireland.
posted by j810c to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It is technically 10km beyond the county border in Co Sligo, but the Enniscrone Seaweed Baths are cool steamy. At the other end of the county, I've been following the team who have been restoring the path to the top of Croagh Patrick stone-by-stone.
Both counties are part of the Wild Atlantic Way
posted by BobTheScientist at 5:02 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

We had a really fantastic time hiking the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk into Doolin. (The visitor center at the ~2/3 point is worth a peek but was super crowded when we were there, full of tour buses. We had a taxi drop us off at the trailhead and it was just us and the cows and a scant handful of hikers for a good long way.) There are a bunch of places to stay in Doolin.

Since you mention birding, the Burren Birds of Prey center was another highlight and is a short drive away.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:40 AM on June 9

Sheedy's B&B in Doolin has the best breakfast I had during a week long walk up the coast. Like extravagantly luscious breakfast.
posted by kokaku at 6:47 AM on June 9

Westport at the edge of Clew Bay is a lovely small town: it has a terrific range of pubs and restaurants, it’s simple to travel by bus to Croagh Patrick for a steep but rewarding hike / pilgrimage to the top (a newly restored path making this much easier than it was!). A County Mayo highlight.
posted by Joeruckus at 8:29 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

We were just in Clare in April. We stayed at the Doolin Inn and it was really sweet. The included breakfast was very good and we had dinner one night there and it was great and the staff was super friendly. It was my 3rd time to Clare, but first time actually seeing the Cliffs and I'm glad I finally did it. Everyone raved about the coastal cliff walk from Doolin, but we weren't sure our kid could do it.

There will be tons of music in Doolin in the summer. O'Connors will have music for sure.

We also spent some time in Lahinch, drinking espresso and watching the surfers. I can imagine it's pretty busy in the summer and a fun place to experience.

If you're driving from Mayo to Clare, stop for lunch at Moran's Oyster Cottage just South of Galway City. Really great food and you can sit outside the thatched cottage, on the water.

The BEST thing we did on the trip was in Mayo -- we went on a "hawk walk" with the Ireland School of Falconry on the grounds of Ashford Castle. It was amazing. We all (including our 11 yr old) got to walk around with a guide and fly the hawk and signal it to come back to us. It was pretty amazing--I can't recommend it enough. Our hawk was called Stoker (as in Bram) and he was brilliant.

Ashford Castle is definitely fancy. We didn't get to go inside, but if you are there and don't have a muddy kid with you (like we did), go have a drink or meal so you can get to see what it looks like.
posted by jdl at 7:02 PM on June 9

Definitely go to the National Museum of Irish Country Life in Castlebar, co. Mayo
posted by Morpeth at 12:01 PM on June 11

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