HomeAdventure TravelCounty Clare’s ‘Eden’ is a walkers’ paradise

Walkers of all types are invited to put a spring into their step at the Loop Head Walking Festival in County Clare, Ireland, taking place from 5-7 April, 2013.

The three-day festival is the perfect excuse to visit this section of Ireland’s spectacular Atlantic coast, holder of a European Destination of Excellence (Eden) award.

A compact area boasting stunning Atlantic scenery, magnificent sea cliffs, unique rock formations and an incredible diversity of marine and bird life, Loop Head has long been popular not just with walking groups and families but also with birdwatchers, geologists and water sport enthusiasts.

The spring walking festival will feature guided walks along new, recently opened circuits of Loop Head, which offer the opportunity to combine bracing cliff-top hikes with exploration of the area’s rich heritage and unique character.

Stepping out on Friday evening (5 April) at the festival’s opening, walkers can enjoy the Kilkee Heritage Walk; Kilkee is a popular seaside resort built around a sheltered, semi-circular bay with a 1km stretch of golden beach and featuring some beautiful Victorian buildings and streetscapes.

Dawn walks on both Saturday and Sunday will offer breathtaking views from atop the Kilkee cliffs, while the afternoons present Explore the Shore events for children, or a full Loop Head circuit for more serious walkers.

The festival closes with the Kilcredaun Coastal Heritage Walk on Sunday afternoon beginning in the scenic fishing village of Carrigaholt, and continuing mainly off-road through fields, farmland and along the shoreline of the famous River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland.

Outside of the festival walks, visitors to the area will find plenty of things to do.

Among the must-see sites in the area is the Loop Head lighthouse, situated at the tip of the Loop Head Peninsula where the River Shannon meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The lighthouse features an interactive exhibition describing its history and a guided tour up the tower to the top balcony affords unforgettable views of the landscape.

Boat trips on the Shannon offer the chance to glimpse bottlenose dolphins, while surfing, kayaking and yachting can be enjoyed in Kilkee.

Visitors can also drop in on West Clare Currach Club, which revives the lost art of building and racing traditional fishing vessels.

As one of Ireland’s most popular destinations, County Clare is also home of the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and Bunratty Castle.


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