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Eight places of historical importance in County Clare

Go history hunting

Clare has an incredible history, and below is just a small selection of places to explore. You should also check out all our visitor attractions and filter them to match your interests.

Take to the heights at O’Brien’s Tower, Cliffs of Moher

built in the 1830s

Liscannor, North Clare

The iconic O’Brien’s Tower, located on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, was built in the 1830s by local landlord Cornelius O’Brien. It was built to entertain his guests and visitors and to showcase the spectacular cliffs. It can be considered the first purpose-built tourist attraction in County Clare and the Cliffs of Moher continue to be one of Ireland’s premier tourist attractions.

See the Éire sign that was a signal to pilots during the second world war

Head to Loop Head lighthouse

Loop Head, West Clare

Marking an important headland on the entrance to the River Shannon, the first lighthouse at Loop Head was a coal-burning brazier in 1670. It wasn’t until 1802 that the first tower lighthouse was built, replaced by the current lighthouse in 1854.The ÉIRE sign was constructed in 1943 as a signal to pilots that they were flying over a neutral country during the second world war. Identifying numbers were added on request by the Americans, so they could use them as navigational tools.

Travel back to Ireland of the 19th Century at Bunratty Folk Park

The Folk Park is set on 26-acres

Bunratty, South Clare

Bunratty Folk Park is set 26 acres and recreates aspects of 19th Century Ireland, including a village street with a school, doctor’s house, post office, pub, and hardware shop. In addition, there are examples of a fine Georgian residence as well as more humble single-room dwellings. This eye-opening experience is ideal for young families and anybody with a curiosity about our not-too-distant past.

Explore 6,000 years of history at the Clare Museum

Discover everthing from stome axes to bronze age swords

Ennis, County Clare

There are over 5,000 items in the Clare Museum collection dating from 6,000 years ago to the last Century. From stone axes and arrow heads to Danial O’Connell’s coat or the West Clare Railway station master’s hat to ancient bronze age horns and swords. The museum tells the wonderfully rich story of Clare and has something of interest for everybody. The Clare Museum is conveniently located in the centre of Ennis town.

Stroll around Vandeleur Walled Garden, Kilrush

It’s a wonderful tribute to nature

Kilrush, North Clare

Once home to the influential (and infamous) Vandeleur landlord family in Kilrush, their almost one-hectare 18th Century walled garden has been lovingly restored and planted for you to enjoy the flowers, shrubs, and bird song. The rectangular walls give shelter from the wind and catch the maximum sun for the benefit of flowers and visitors! The adjoining forest trail walks, café and garden centre make this a wonderful calm amenity for locals and visitors. Families particularly love it!

Wonder at this Martello Tower

A defensive fortress build during the Napoleonic wars

Finavarra, North Clare

The Martello tower at Finavarra is located at the end of headland that overlooks Galway Bay. The tower is one of a series of defensive structures that were built by the British Government around the coast of Ireland during the Napoleonic wars between 1812-1816. The building housed cannon on the roof and was designed to protect Ireland from the threat of invasion by the French at that time. The French invasion never happened, and we can only speculate about how life in Ireland might have been different.

Visit the ancestral home of one of the founders of Ireland’s National games

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is now one the greatest amateur sporting associations in the world

Carron, North Clare

The Michael Cusack Centre in Carron celebrates the life of Michael Cusack, one of the founders of the GAA, in 1884. Michael was born in Carron in 1847, and his home cottage on site has been restored and is open for visitors. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is Ireland’s largest sporting organisation and is celebrated as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world. Tea rooms and knowledgeable staff make this a little gem in the heart of the Burren.

Visit the oldest church in Ireland

and follow in the footsteps of Brian Boru – Ireland’s Great High King

Tuamgraney, East Clare

The East Clare Heritage Centre, Tuamgraney, is located in Saint Cronan’s church which was built between 949 and 964 AD. At the time Brian Boru was High King of Ireland, his brother was an abbott at Tuamgraney, and it is very likely that Brian Boru would have visited there. The building was built on the site of an earlier 7th Century monastery founded by Saint Cronan of Holy Island, which the Vikings attacked on several occasions. Saint Cronan’s Church of Ireland is the oldest church in Ireland, having continuous services which continue monthly to this day.