The surf is always up in Lahinch, a very popular seaside resort just a ten-minute drive from the majestic Cliffs of Moher. Boasting a world famous 2 km golden Blue Flag beach, the flooding tide makes it ideal for surfing, sea kayaking and kite surfing – and there are lots of centres in the area to bring water sport enthusiasts through their paces. Across the road from the beach you can get up close and personal with fascinating underwater creatures including sharks, rays and conger eels at Lahinch Seaworld and Leisure Complex, which also has a 25m heated swimming pool. Golfers can tee off at one of two world class 18-hole links golf courses. There is a lot to explore historically in the area including the ruins of Dough Castle, built by Donnchadh O’Connor in 1422, and Kilmacreehy Church, dating from the 15th century. Check out art galleries, buzzing cafes and lively pubs and restaurants.
The Aran Islands
Inisheer (Inis Oírr)
This island lies 8 kilometres off the coast. Inisheer has probably been inhabited for 5,000 years but the earliest evidence of civilisation is at Cnoc Raithní, a Bronze Age burial mound dating from 1500BC. Nearby are Teampall Chaomhán, a Medieval church ruin and the 16th Century Caisleán Uí Bhríain, a three-storey tower house built within a Stone Age fort. To the north of the island are vistas of Connemara, the eastern shore has views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.
Inishmaan (Inis Meain)
Located in the middle, it is around three miles long by a mile wide and is said to be the most unchanged of the Aran Islands. It has an exceptional range of flora, including orchids, gentian, sea thrift, honeysuckle, harebells, burnet rose, bloody cranesbill and many more. Being the quietest of the Aran Islands it a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy its nature.
Inishmore (Árainn Mhor)
The largest of the Aran Islands attracting visitors to its rugged shores for generations. The island is an extension of the Burren landscape, where limestone pavements crisscrossed with grikes, host a variety of wild flowers. The landscape of Inishmore is a patchwork of fields hemmed in by ancient dry-stone walls.