STAYCATIONS ARE back and Ireland is beginning to open up again.
Before too long, we'll be able to travel across the country in search of days out and nights away, and it seems we may even be welcoming international travel before too long.
Despite being a small island country, the island of Ireland has so much to offer in all 32 counties that it's hard to choose where to visit-- hopefully this guide to County Clare will help you plan your well-deserved trip.
So without further ado, here are 9 things you absolutely have to do when you visit County Clare.
Visit Clare's unique national park, The Burren
In the countryside of County Clare is a place called The Burren; a mysterious place unlike anywhere else in Ireland, with deep caves, a stony, rocky limestone landscape and ancient Dolmens which hold the secrets to Ireland's ancient past. Spend the day exploring the natural beauty of the park, its flora and fauna, check out the Birds of Prey Centre or get fit with the enormous amount of outdoor activities available. Such as ...
Rock climbing, kayaking or cave diving with the Burren Outdoor Education Centre
The Outdoor Education & Training Centre lets guests explore every nook and cranny of the Burren, from the deep and intricate caves to the lakes and sea and the unique rocky landscape. Their expert staff can bring you out on kayaks, snorkling or sea swimming, cave diving and hill walking-- followed by a heart meal in the guest house. Check them out here.
Get the ferry to the Aran Islands
The Aran Islands are a part of County Galway, but the best way to get there is from Doolin pier in County Clare. The trip takes under an hour and brings you out on Ireland's spectacular west coast, with the sea before you and the three gorgeous islands to choose from. From Doolin pier you can also cruise underneath the majestic Cliffs of Moher to see them from a brand-new perspective-- which brings us to our next trip...
Visit the world-famous Cliffs of Moher
One of the most popular tourist spots in the entire country, The Cliffs of Moher perfectly captures the ancient wilderness that encompasses Ireland. Standing at over 700ft, the wind and rain can make going too close to the edge a dangerous risk-- but many people can't help themselves, drawn to the incredible view.
Explore the idyllic coastal towns which dot Ireland's west coast
From Lahinch to Kilrush, Doonbeg to Spanish Point, County Clare is filled with quaint yet bustling coastal towns, each providing gorgeous beaches, colourful houses, traditional music and food-- including mouth-watering freshly-caught fish and chips. The town of Lahinch in particular is famous among surfers across the world for its fantastic waves.
Catch a glimpse of Clare's local celebrity, Dusty the dolphin
While Dusty the Dolphin isn't as famous as her Kerry counterpart Fungie, she's lived a similar solitary lifestyle, and thousands have flocked to the Wild Atlantic Way to see her over the years-- and she sometimes interacts with swimmers, too, though usually only ones she trusts. You can sometimes find her playing near Doolin Pier and in Inis Oírr island.
Explore the waters of Ireland's west coast with the Burren Sub Aqua Club
The Burren Sub Aqua Club, based in Clare's unique national park, offers adventurers the chance to see some of Ireland's most famous landmarks from a totally different perspective-- underwater.
Those involved can explore the Burren, the reefs of the Aran Islands and even the Cliffs of Moher from several feet beneath the surface, and you never know quite what you're going to find.
Visit Father Ted's house
"Sure didn't the Lord himself stop for a nice trip to Ted's house before giving himself up for the world?"
While the famed Channel 4 programme was set on Craggy Island, most scenes were shot on location in County Clare, including the parochial house, based in Lackareagh.
Thousands of people have posed for a photo in front of the building-- you can even take part in a guided 'Ted Tour' which brings you to all the famous locations, including the Biggest Lingerie Section In Ireland (so I understand).
Explore Ireland's history with a trip to Bunratty Castle
The site on which this majestic 15th-century castle stands has been home to everyone from Lords and Ladies to Vikings, but these days is open to the public to allow people to explore their heritage. The most complete and authentic castle still standing today, tourists can check out the inside of the fortress and hear the stories of the royals who used to live there, as well as enjoy the stunning grounds, its gardens, and views of the Clare countryside.