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Within a few miles of Shannon is Cratloe woods, on Gallows hill. Beautiful walks in the woods, and at Gallows hill's peak (about a mile up from access to Cratle woods) all surronding counties can be viewed.
East Clare. (Taking in Lough Derg)
Beautiful unspoilt countryside, and panoramic views across the lake.
Taking in quaint villages like Quin, and stunning countryside.
From Liscannor, the main road leads to the Cliffs of Moher passing Hags Head signal tower, St. Brigid's Well and Doonagore Castle. Passing the deserted village of Luogh, onto Doolin, the famous venue for traditional music. Passing Doolin cave, which has the largest stalactite in Europe, onto Ballinacken.
From Ballinlacken, the route follows the Green Road through the high Burren, providing great views of the Aran Islands, Connemara and the Burren mountains. Ruins, historical monuments, turloughs, rare flowers and butterflies flouish together here. The Way ends in the village of Ballyvaughan, reward yourself with a pint at Monks.
Heart of the Burren
You can walk from Kilkee to Loop Head ( R487). From Kilkee you will eventually come to a beach where you can park. From there simply follow the cliff top trail all the way to the lighthouse at Loop Head. Visit Kilbaha, bridges of Ross, and the pretty village of Carrifaholt , and on a clear day you can see across the Shannon estuary to Mount Brandon on the Dingle Peninsula.
(Really off the beaten track.)
Leave Shannon town by Ballymurtagh roundabout. Drive straight through this roundabout in direction of Ballycally. Shannon airport will be on your left, countryside to your right. Come as far as the large Shannon Aerospace, and continue straight onto a T junction, turn right.
(Possible detour - take the left turn. This will bring you to beautiful countryside, with views onto the island of Inis Mac Neactain, and look for stepping stones to this island. Nearby also St Conaires church, Ballymurry stone and Honk pub in this area.)
Otherwise (ignoring detour above) continue along this road, past Carrygerry house. You will have some spectacular views over Shannon Estuary, and make your way Clenagh castle (detour to the left to see this castle -childhood home of the infamous Maire Rua of Lemanagh) for beautiful countryside, also of note Knockadoon fort. Veering left at fork in the road, pass Cahergal house and within a half a mile, turn right and take flyover into the village of Newmarket on Fergus. Pass Kilnasoolagh church to your left, and veer left.
(Essential detour - continue stright ahead for less than a mile , through beautiful Mooghaun/Dromoland and locate Mooghaun Hill fort, which dates back around 3000 years to between 1000BC and 750BC. On completion of visit, return to starting point of this 'essential detour' and take in terrific view of chuch steeple with River Shannon as a backdrop.)
Otherwise (ignoring detour above) turn left, and visit Dromoland castle. Before you turn right into Quin village, have a look for the Latoon fairy tree centred between two roundabouts, 100 metres ahead on roadside to the north. This was the place where these (Munster) guys were supposed to rest after a battle with fairy folk from Leinster.
Make your way to the pretty village of Quin. Turn right at junction for Ballyhannon castle, and continue, turn right at Ardsollus farm, and take in some beautiful, rarely seen countryside. (If you continue staight on, you'll take a more direct route to Quin village, with nice scenery around Ballyhannon house, and access point to Ballykilty house, home of Captain Blood - family famed for relative's attempts to steal crown jewels.) Veer left until you come to a T- junction - and take left turn into Quin village. Explore Quin village and abbey.
Leave Quin village on R469 in direction of Kilmurray. Come to Knappgue castle with its walled garden, then onto Craggaunowen. Consider visiting both of these attractions. On leaving Craggaunowen, turn right back for a 100 meters then turn left, and follow directions for Finlough or Finloe. Great viewing point along here with Finlough (lake) to your left and church with graveyard and holy well to your right, overlooking the lake, dating back to 900AD.
Continue along this road, and note Crabtree bar to your right, which was a stop for Limerick to Galway (14 hour trip in those days) stage coach.
Turn left onto the R470, and make your way onto Sixmilebridge. This is the beautiful countryside of Ralahine, where the local landlord made an effort at a co-op to assist local community in early 19th cenury. This failed when he lost his property through gambling debts. Past Ralahine farm look out for castle on the right hand side.
Pass through Sixmilebridge village, turn right and cross over the bridge. Continue onto R471 and note Springfield house. Shortly after Springfield, you'll come to Ministers Cross.
(Possible detour - Rossmanagher. Narrow road beside Crowes petrol (gas) / shop, drive for a mile, turn right for 500 meters and note toll gates that resulted in a duel by owner with the famous Daniel O'Connell in Dublin. D'Esterre lost!)
Otherwise (ignoring detour above) leave sixmilebridge area at this point (collection of B&Bs (Manderly, Bunratty arms etc) and turn left at Crowe's petrol station/shop and drive around 3 miles along Low road into Bunratty village. Visit castle, folk park and consider Bunratty church beside Bunratty Castle hotel.
Leave Bunratty and return to Shannon by N18.
Directions and Downloadable Maps for Walking in Clare
Walking is truly the best way to explore and fully absorb the beauty of County Clare. Walks in County Clare include Waymarked Ways, loop walks, ecowalks, treks, scenic and historical walks. For detailed directions and maps visit http://www.shannonregiontrails.ie