Sli na Mara
On the N68 heading west from Moyasta, turn left after 4 kms for Sli na Mara
(signposted), a scenic, coastal drive round the Loop Head Peninsula, ending in
Kilkee. The road skirts Poulnasherry Bay and, passing through the villages of
Querrin and Doonaha and Carrigaholt.
Birthplace of the eminent Irish scholar, Eoghan O Comhraidhe (Eugene O'Curry,
1796-1862), after whom the college of Irish at Carrigaholt was named. (Irish
was generally spoken throughout Clare up to the time of the Great Famine.)
(Carraig an Chabhailtaigh - rock of the fleet)
The village faces east into Carrigaholt Bay on the Shannon and has a delightful
beach and Dolphin watch trips operate daily from Carrigaholt Pier.
Armada ships sheltered here in 1588.
The castle here was originally a MacMahon castle, but was captured in 1599 by the
Earl of Thomond and given to his brother, Donal O'Brien, predocessor of the
Viscounts Clare of Clare's Dragoons fame. (The Dragoons were part of the late
17th and 18th century Irish Brigade of exiles in the French Army). The castle
later passed into the hands of the Burton family after the Williamite wars.
Nearby, in Moneen church the Little Ark, a moveable wooden shelter is preserved.
It was devise by Fr. Michael Mechan in 1852, so that mass could be taken on the
foreshore between high and low water where severe property laws could not be
enforced by the bigoted local landlord who strived to prevent Catholic practises
in the area.
(Leim Chon Chulainn - Cuchulain's Leap)
It was here the legendary hero Cuchulain leap from the mainland to a far off
crag, (called Diarmuid and Grainne's rock for no apparent reason!), in order
to conceal himself from a hag or witch called Mal.
The Lighthouse marks the western-most point on the Clare mainland and is surrounded
by dramatic looking cliffs rich in bird-life.
There is a spectacular panoramic view of the Kerry mountains, Limerick on the
other side of the Shannon estuary, the Aran Islands and the Twelve Bens of Connemara.
Bridges of Ross
(8 km from Loop Head)
There where previously two natural bridges at the entrance to an inlet here.
Today only the inner arch remains intact, the outer has been eroded by the
unrelenting ocean pounding against the cliff face.
The village of Cross is not far away.
Also in the area are the ruins of Kilballyowen parish church, and Doondillroe
The spectacular cliff scenery on the road to Kilkee includes a column of rock,
known as Bishop's Island. On its summit are the ruins of an ancient oratory, which
indicates that the column was part of the mainland at one time.
(Cill Chaoi - St. Caoi's Church)
A popular holiday resort since Victorian Times, spread along a lovely crescent
beach in Moore Bay. In the past the affluent families of Limerick City built summer
villas, "lodges", close to the beach which offered safe swimming, ocean breezes
and interesting walks.
The Diamond Rocks and Pollock Holes- holes which retain the sea water when the tide
goes out, forming natural swimming pools, are worth a visit.
There are breath-taking cliff walks at both ends of the beach, which are safe and
suitable for families.
Amenities include tennis, squash, golf, pitch and putt, children's amusements, skin
diving and other water sports.
The Sweeney Memorial Library is an excellent public facility built with the aid of
emigrants and Kilkee Visitors Center allows visitor to gain an insight into local heritage.
The remains of a once popular spa can be seen at Fooagh, near the town.