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Trip List by Sarnia G

Killarney to Galway via the Cliffs of Moher and Burren - A Full Day's Journey

2 May 2012  I Heart Ireland
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 1 vote

If you don't mind spending a long day in the car, and wish to see the Cliffs of Moher and a few sites in the Burren, this route will take you through scenic areas and past some interesting historic sites in the Burren region of north Clare.

This route is approximately 240km and will take around 6.5-7hrs depending on traffic conditions. Factor in 90 minutes at the Cliffs of Moher, and 90 minutes for other stops en-route.

This journey is best done late Spring through early Autumn when daylight hours are long.

The journey detailed below offers the option of a shorter route if you are pushed for time.

  • 1. Killarney

    Aim for an early departure from Killarney; leave on the N22/N21 to Tralee, then on via Listowel (N69) to Tarbert, which is where you will take the car ferry across the Shannon.

  • 2. Shannon Ferries Car Ferry

    Check departure times for the ferry and make sure you have enough cash to pay for your journey. Payment is taken on board the ferry.
    You can get out of your car and walk along the top deck; if you're lucky, you might spot dolphins.

  • 3. Cliffs of Moher
    Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor

    When you arrive in Killimer, take the N67 direction Kilrush, and onwards through west Clare to the seaside town of Lahinch. Continue on the R478 to the Cliffs of Moher.
    This is quite a narrow, rural road for most of the route, so take it easy!

    Once you arrive at the Cliffs of Moher, you'll find the carpark on the right-hand side.
    From the car park it's a short walk uphill to the Visitor Centre and viewing areas.
    You'll find shops, cafe and restaurant and "Atlantic Experience" audio visual centre (fee payable).

    There is a further short walk uphill to O'Brien's Tower. If you're lucky - and depending on time of year - you might see peregrine falcons and a variety of sea birds nesting on the cliff edge.

    If you're pushed for time, instead of continuing onto Kilfenora, Leamaneh and Poulnabrone, take this route:

    Turn right from car park onto the R478 towards Lisdoonvarna.
    At the Junction, turn onto N67 through Lisdoonvarna and on down Corkscrew Hill (viewing area) to Ballyvaughan.
    Continue on the N67 (via Bellharbour and Kinvara) to Kilcolgan, where you will join the N18 to Oranmore, then onwards on R446 to Galway centre.
    This more direct route is approximately 76km and will take around 2hrs; the road from the Cliffs as far as Kilcolgan is quite narrow and winding.

  • 4. Kilfenora Cathedral & Crosses
    Kilfenora Cathedral & Crosses, Kilfenora, The Burren

    Departure from Cliffs of Moher car park:

    Turn right onto the R478 towards Lisdoonvara, and continue through the crossroads (junction of R478/N67) onto the R476 to Kilfenora, which is where you will find the Burren Centre (shop, audio visual display and cafe) and next door, the ruined Kilfenora Cathedral with its fine high crosses. Worth stopping at the Cathedral for a few minutes, but if you have longer, the Burren Centre is interesting, too.

  • 5. Leamaneh Castle

    From Kilfenora, continue on the R476, direction Corofin for approximately 5-6km. On your left-hand side you will see the ruined remains of Leamaneh Castle, home to the infamous Maire Rua.

    The Castle is on private land, but there is a small parking area where you can stop to take a photo.

    At Leamaneh Castle, turn left onto the R480, direction Ballyvaughan

  • 6. Poulnabrone Dolmen
    Poulnabrone Dolmen, County Clare

    The R480 takes you through the heart of the Burren region, past Caherconnell Stone Fort on your left, and just beyond on your right, Poulnabrone Megalithic Tomb, one of the most iconic images of this area.

    There is a small parking area with an information board; worth stopping for a few minutes.

  • 7. Ballyvaughan
    Ballyvaughan, The Burren

    At the end of this country road (R480) you will reach the junction with the N67.
    Turn right towards Ballyvaughan - one of the prettiest villages in the Burren - and continue on the N67 through Bellharbour and Kinvara to Kilcolgan, where you turn left onto the N18 towards Oranmore and onwards to Galway.

    The drive from Ballyvaughan to Galway should take around 90 minutes - but if you arrive on the outskirts of Galway late afternoon, you may meet heavy traffic.

  • 8. Galway

    Galway is a vibrant little city on the coast with a good choice of hotels and guest houses. There's a pleasant pedestrian area in the centre with shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs, and some interesting historic buildings.

    Recommend you find accommodation with private parking, and leave the car to explore the city on foot.

    During your stay in Galway you should take a day to drive out to Connemara, visiting the National Park, Kylemore Abbey and exploring the beautiful coastline.

    Also worth considering: a day-trip to one of the Aran Islands. You can take the passenger ferry from Rossaveal (free shuttle from city centre), or fly from the little airport at Inveran.