If you asked my kids what their favorite parts about our month in Europe was most you’d hear a lot about County Clare. If you asked me a perfect spot to visit in Europe with kids, I would 100% say “take them to County Clare”. The West Coast of Ireland is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world and a fantastic spot for active little kids to run wild while experiencing a new country and culture. Here’s more about our time there and why I loved County Clare Ireland with kids.
County Clare Ireland with Kids
Where is County Clare?
County Clare is on the West Coast of Ireland. Because of where it’s located on the West Coast it’s a straight shot from Dublin. Therefore if you are trying to fly into Dublin and explore that as part of your trip (like we did) it’s a very easy bus ride or car drive over. We took the bus and it was about 2 hours. If you just want to visit County Clare, you can fly into Shannon Airport which is right there.
I’d recommend renting a car or setting up rides with a car service ahead of time. We were too big of a group for a car rental to make sense and wanted to have time to relax a bit and not be on the go non stop. So we got a recommendation for a car service that had a van and scheduled where we wanted to go ahead of time. Also, from our rental we could walk to a couple of spots which was one of the highlights of the house.
Where to Stay in County Clare
We absolutely loved where we stayed. It was probably our favorite vacation rental of all time. It was a combination of an amazing house + perfect location + a host that gave the best information and help with planning. Most of the activities, spots to eat and even the driver we used were all recommendations from the home owner.
Kid & Coe Promo Code: Use code Courtney250 for $250 this rental or any Kid & Coe rental you book before the end of the year.
This is the house we rented: Dromoland Residence through Kid and Coe. The house itself was just perfect. Perfect layout for families, had everything you could ever need, impeccably clean and floor to ceiling windows everywhere so you could truly enjoy the Ireland scenery all day. Oh… and toys and games. You know a good way to ensure you can sit outside with a glass of wine on vacation and relax at the end of the day? Rent a house with toys and games 🙂
My kids are still talking about the yard at the Dromoland Residence and I’m pretty sure all 5 will be asking for a zip line and built in trampoline like the “Ireland house” had. In addition to having a yard that’s a kids’ dream come true, the house is surrounded by beautiful farmland, cows and sunsets out of a painting.
The house is located just down the road from Dromoland Castle. You can easily walk there. Dromoland Castle was a spot I actually looked at to stay in Ireland but it was not easy to find a room that we could all fit in and I was looking at having to rent a few rooms and prefered to be in a house with my parents too. So staying nearby in a spot that fit us all comfortably and still being able to enjoy the castle was wonderful.
In the other direction from the house you can also walk to the Dromoland Inn where there is a fun playground, mini golf and spots to eat.
What to do with Kids in County Clare:
Ennis: The town of Ennis in County Clare is known for having some of the friendliest people in the world. We certainly agree after visiting. It’s the cutest small town and we all loved our day there. We went first thing in the morning and our first stop in Ennis was Cafe Aroma for breakfast. The breakfast there was delicious and they were so nice.
We walked around town, enjoyed all the little shops and meeting people. There are great shops for kids including a toy store, a candy store and more.
Then we walked over to the Ennis Friary. It was an incredible spot to visit and they gave the kids a scavenger hunt on the way in that they loved. On the way out they could present it for a small prize.
Cliffs of Moher: One of the highlights of staying in County Clare is that the famous Cliffs of Moher are easily reached. You can visit the Cliffs two ways. One is to visit Cliffs of Moher is via the visitor center and see them “from the top”. The other way is to see them “from the bottom” via a boat. With some very wild and crazy kids in tow we opted for the boat. We went back and forth until the day before we left though and I am sure either way would be incredible.
I felt for the kids, to be in a boat, looking up and seeing the entire cliff would be easier and more impactful for them. Plus I wouldn’t have to worry about them falling off a cliff. Although we had a very rocky boat ride that I was a little worried one might fall off ha! They also get to see the cave where Harry Potter was filmed, learn about the birds and sea animals in the area etc. We used The Doolin Ferry Company.
Doolin: The little town of Doolin was one of my favorite stops along the trip. One of the perks of choosing to see the Cliffs of Moher by ferry was getting to add Doolin to the itinerary since that’s where the boats leave from.
We got to Doolin first thing in the morning and grabbed a light breakfast at The Doolin Deli. The town was quiet and quaint. I will say that after the boat when we were walking around again to look for a lunch spot A LOT of tour buses started to arrive and made it feel more crowded. We went to the Ivy Cottage for lunch. It was a fun little spot and had a big outdoor “garden” area to eat at.
So if you can, visit in the morning or evening when you can enjoy the little town. In the evening, Doolin is known for all the wonderful music. I was sad to leave early afternoon and hope to return someday for the music in the pubs.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park: We heard about Bunratty Castle and Folk Park from the host of the house we rented. It was SO cool for kids. Check out the site to see all that is there but you could easily spend a whole day there. You feel like you were transported back in time. My kids loved seeing the old school and candy shop. I loved the thatched roof houses. There’s also a castle you can explore. My kids favorite part (of course) was the super cool playground. It’s next to the farm where you can meet pigs, goats, sheeps, etc. Then inside the playground area is the most adorable ice cream “hut”.
Just a quick walk from Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is Bunratty Village There you’ll find some great shopping and spots to eat at: Jilly & Joe’s. You can eat upstairs or outside where it’s set up with food trucks. The whole area is so cool and we found great food and drinks.
Dromoland Castle: We walked to Dromoland Castle for dinner at The Fig Tree. It’s located in the walled gardens and allows for the kids to run around and explore the gardens before and after dinner. The restaurant is very kid friendly: great food options and they even get a little coloring book about the castle.
Two spots that I wanted to visit in the area were The Burren and Lahinch. Sadly we ran out of time but a reason we’ll have to head back! The Burren is a huge National Park and Lahinch is a beach town.
We are already talking about trying to visit County Clare again. I would rent the Dromoland Residence again in a heartbeat. For now I’ll browse my photos and videos of the west coast of Ireland and dream of the day we can go back.
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