Things to Do – West Clare


Kilrush Heritage Centre, in the picturesque town of Kilrush in County Clare,

tells the story of Kilrush from its establishment as an estate town by the Vandeleur landlords at the end of the 18th century.

The display is entitled ‘Kilrush in Landlord Times’ and includes an audio visual reconstruction of the 1888 Vandeleur evictions. The exhibition is a great starting point for a heritage walk through the streets of Kilrush, which will complete your transportation back to experience landlord times in Kilrush.

Kilrush Heritage Centre

Market House

Kilrush, Clare

t: +353 (0)65 9051577




 Ireland’s greatest river opens out to the Atlantic Ocean at Carrigaholt, Co. Clare – home to Europe’s largest group of bottlenose dolphins. With approximately 200 individuals here at the Mouth of the Shannon, the dolphin

encounter rate with Dolphinwatch is one of the best in the world.

The passenger ship, Draíocht (“Magic”), skippered by Geoff Magee, departs from Carrigaholt Castle Pier to take you on an extraordinary adventure. Geoff’s fascinating commentary keeps you informed throughout the trip. The competent and friendly crew are on board to ensure your comfort, safety and enjoyment.

Watching and learning about the dolphins in their natural habitat is central to the experience, yet every trip is different in this dynamic environment. You might meet a grey seal emerging from a cave, spot a herd of wild goats on a hillside, learn about the many species of nesting seabirds, and delight in the stunning cliffs and caves of the Loop Head Peninsula and the coast of North Kerry.

A family business since 1992, Dolphinwatch is the only marine tourism business to be awarded a gold certification from Ecotourism Ireland. Dolphinwatch achieved the Excellence Award from Trip Advisor, and is one of the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Top Ten Attractions in Ireland.

Carrigaholt is a Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt

Carrigaholt, Clare


t: +353 (0)65 9058156




Cappagh Pier was one of the most important factors in the development of Kilrush. The oldest section near the shore was built in 1764. It has changed little since Samuel Lewis in 1837 described it as a pier of very solid

construction protected by a sea-wall of great strength. It afforded a great facility for landing passengers from the steam vessels which plied regularly between west Clare and Limerick. The custom-house building near the quay was erected in 1806.

One emigrant of note said to have departed from Cappagh in the 1860’s for America was Abe Grady who was born in Ennis in the 1840’s and was Mohammed Ali’s great grandfather. The harbour was frequented by vessels trading in grain and other commodities. Its particular advantage arises from its depth of water which enabled larger vessels to berth here. Today the pier is still used very occasionally by ships bringing timber to the local mill but you are more likely to find locals and visitors alike jumping off the pier enjoying the sea at the Shannon estuary’s only blue flag beach or playing at the playground at the back of the pier.


 The Scattery Island Centre is housed in the visitor reception building near the pier on Scattery Island, a 2.5km boat ride from Kilrush in County Clare. 

There are the ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland, 120 feet high, with its unusual feature of a door at ground level.

Scattery has had many invasions down through the centuries; the Vikings invaded during the early 9th century but Brian Boru later recaptured the island. It is believed that Scattery is a derivation of the Norse word for treasure, which is Scatty.

The main church on the island is Teampall Naomh Mhuire (Cathedral of Saint Mary), situated next to the round tower. Scattery for a time in the 12th century administered to a diocese. There is an effigy of a bishop’s head on the outside of the east window of the Cathedral believed to be that of St Senan. The holy well, called Tobar Sinean, beside the round tower was held in great reverence and respect by the islanders. St Senan is believed to have died in the year 544 and is reputed to be buried in St Senan’s Bed beside Temple Senan a small 12th Century Romanesque church.


Toilets for visitors with disabilities. Access for visitors with disabilities to ground floor.


End May – End August

Scattery Island Centre

Kilrush, Clare


t: +353 (0)65 6829100




The Bridges of Ross lies on the western side of a natural harbour (Ross Bay) with views north to the Atlantic Ocean, near the village of Kilbaha.

Historically the Bridges of Ross referred to a trio of spectacular natural sea arches, two of which have since fallen into the sea. While only one ‘bridge’ remains the name remains in the plural. As the remaining bridge cannot be seen from the road, visitors can walk a few hundred metres west along the footpath from the Bridges of Ross car par.

During autumn migration the seabirds pass very close to shore. While sitting at this sea watching point one faces northwards, so the light and sun is at your back, this is a great place the observe the marvellous views of the coast and the West Atlantic Ocean.

The Bridges of Ross is located on the north side of the Loop Head peninsula, approximately 8.0 kilometres due west of Carrigaholt, and is accessed via the R478. Head due west left from the Bridges of Ross car park and walk for a few hundred metres along the footpath.