It is hard to say what is the right number of days, as I know of guests who arrived in 1983 for a weekend and still haven’t gone home!! But I do know a couple of hours in Doolin will make you envious that you wish you stayed, one night will make you regret you didn’t book longer, two nights may make you satisfied, but 3 or more will make you want to keep coming back and you may risk never leaving…
How to plan your days:
Below is a list of recommended time slots to allow at minimum to appreciate and explore the local attractions and activities. This is only a sample list and really only the “tip of the iceberg” so to speak, also allow yourself a little extra time to navigate roads if driving or taking public transport. But if you are up to it, we recommend Hiking or Renting a Bike or Electric Bike to really get a sense of the place. Below is a small generic list to keep you occupied for 5 – 7 days at a minimum.
Depending on the time of year day light varies greatly from 5am to 11pm in the summer to 8am to 4.30pm in the winter. Temperature do not vary greatly 4-18C (winter – summer), a good water proof jacket, warm sweater and a good pair of boots and you can achieve a lot. If you are exploring in the locality check out LEAVE NO TRACE to minimize your environmental impact on local flora and fauna habituates and historical landmarks.
Cliffs of Moher Coastal Hiking Walk (12km long, Visitor Center at 8km point):
Allow 2 1/2 hours to walk to visitor center, 2 hours for Visitor Center and Viewing point, and 2 hours to return on hike. You can also get a taxi back down or Bus Eireann bus (15 mins journey time). Catching the evening sunsets up at the Visitor Center viewing area is a must especially in Spring and Autumn where you get stunning red skies with the sun setting behind the Aran Islands
Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher Cruise Day trip
Allow a full day to visit one of the Aran Islands (Inisheer, Inis Mean or Inis Mor) and take the cruise under the Cliffs of Moher. Leave in the morning 9 /10am returning around 3-5pm and include the Cliffs of Moher Cruise (1 hour) return on shore at 5/6pm. They operate early March to early November.
Doolin Cave and Nature Trail
Largest Stalactite in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Its 5km from the hostel and the nearest bus stop is Ballinalacken Castle on the 350 route to and from Galway. Allow 1 1/2 hours for tour and nature trail, they also have a nice cafe onsite serving lunch and snacks throughout the Day.
Rent a Bike for a day or two and Tour around the Burren UNESCO Geopark at your own pace:
A full day out exploring this unique landscape is a must and a minimum to wet your appetite. It is full of unique flora, fauna, megalithic tombs, castles, forts. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark is not only one of the few Geoparks to receive such distinction in the world, but has just been shortlisted for a National Geographic World Legacy Award, it is an European Destination of Excellence of Gastronomy and Sustainable Travel, as well as Ireland’s Foodie Destination 2015
- Lisdoonvarna – Spa Wells with Sulphur Springs, Burren Smoke House
- Kilfenora – Some of the finest examples of Celtic High Crosses and the Burren Center
- CaherConnell Fort, currently under archaeology dig, also onsite are Sheep Dog herding shows.
- Lemenagh Castle
- Burren Perfumery situated in the most beautiful setting, producing some of the finest fragrances
- Michael Cusack Center the founders home and interpretative center for the GAA Sports of Hurling and Football
- Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Sanctuary , just outside Ballyvaughan
- 9 Geo Sites
- The Blackhead Coast Road via Fanore back to Doolin, rated as one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world
- Check out local cycle routes which are mapped and sign posted
Take a Guided Walk
With 200km of hiking trails to choose from in some of the most unique and spiritual land, taking one of the trails is a must but to truly get an appreciation of what shaped the history, culture and nature of this inspiring land is to enjoy the company and guidance of a local professional guide is a must. Allow 4 hours to a day depending on interest.
Oh Food Food Glorious Food..
Doolin is located in the center of “Ireland’s Food Destination 2015” a “European Destination of Excellence for Gastronomy” Located on the Wild Atlantic Shores fresh seafood is in abundance, while the land rich in limestone produces beef and lamb with such minerality the texture and flavour is superb. Especially when placed in the expert hands of local Chefs. Be it Michelin Recommend and Bib Gourmand or AA Rosettes, to simple hearty pub fare, or go Seaweed foraging or catching your own supper, your taste buds are in for a treat. Little tips check out Food Trail Monday Events, or check out some of our favourite places to eat.
Do at least one Adventure Activity
Doolin is surrounded by Ireland’s most beautiful and natural playground and what ever you fancy you will be spoiled with the quality of experience. You have some of the best Surfing, Bouldering, Rock Climbing, Sea Kayaking and about 250 caves to explore. Most providers we recommend pick up and drop you back to the hostel or are easy to get to via public transport. Allow 4 hours for an activity, check out our activity page for ideas.
Day Trip to Galway and Kinvara
Take the 8.35am bus to Galway and explore and shop in the city, the scenery is stunning from the bus as you wind your way through the Burren, take the mid afternoon bus back to Kinvara and explore this lovely coastal village, explore the Burren Nature Sanctuary which is ideal for kids especially those interested in Fairy Forests. Catching the early evening bus back to Doolin arriving back at 7.45pm
Day Trip to Ennis and Bunratty:
Take the 8.10am or 10am Bus to Ennis and transfer to Bunratty to explore one of the finest Norman Castles in Ireland, Going back to medieval times as you stroll through its medieval village. Returning in the afternoon to meander through the market streets of Ennis, before catching the early evening bus back to Doolin arriving home at 7.50pm.
Live Traditional Music, Festivals and Feasts.
Doolin is alive all year round with live traditional Irish Music nightly all year round (#trad365), there is always something going on every night of the week. When other areas and cities are quite on a Monday or Tuesday night we are only starting with our Wild Atlantic Sessions. For Foodies check our Food trail Mondays in local eateries. For festive goers you have Micho Russell Weekend in February, Doolin Writers Weekend in March, Burren Slow Food Festival in May, Doolin Folk Festival in June, Irish Craft Beer Festival in August, Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in September, Sean Os dancing in October just to name a few. But to get more details check out our Calendar of Events or follow us on Facebook