Situated in an inlet off Ballyvaughan Bay, the small harbour village of Bellharbour or Bell Harbour is situated on the Wild Atlantic Way in the world-famous Burren region.
The village is a popular destination for those seeking adventure and outdoor activities. The Burren Outdoor Education Centre offers a wide range of activities including caving, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, snorkelling, body boarding, raft building, orienteering, rock climbing and hill walking. Environmental courses exploring the geology, history and ecology of the Burren are available, while hostel-style accommodation is provided on site.
The Burren is one of the most heritage-rich locations in western Europe with its array of wedge tombs, prehistoric settlements, crosses, holy wells, castles and churches, and Bellharbour is no different.
Corcomroe Abbey is located 1.5 kilometres from the village near Clare’s county boundary with Galway. The early 13th-century Cistercian monastery was once known as “St. Mary of the Fertile Rock”, a reference to the Burren’s fertile soil. Outside the church and in the surrounding fields, you can see partial remnants of other buildings associated with the abbey, like the ruin of a gatehouse and fragments of the precinct walls. Conor O’Brien, King of Thomond, is buried in the north wall of the Abbey. The 12th century Oughtmama Valley churches are located a short distance from Corcomroe, while you also will find an Iron Age hill fort on Turlough Hill.
The Green Coast beach at Bishops Quarter is located on Bellharbour’s doorstep. A few kilometres north of the village is the shallow and rocky stretch of beautiful scenic coast known as the Flaggy Shore.
The Burren has established a proud reputation for its local food produce. Learn all about the art of chocolate making at nearby Hazel Mountain Chocolate, a boutique chocolate factory, organic café and chocolate store. The family-run Linnane’s Lobster Bar in the neighbouring village of New Quay features menus filled with local produce from the sea and the surrounding countryside.
Bellharbour has a long association with Irish traditional music and was home to the late Chris Droney, the famous concertina player and composer. The award-winning musician’s third solo album was named ‘Down from Bell Harbour’, while his relative Katie Droney is known for her rendition of the song, ‘Farewell to Bellharbour’. ‘The Bellharbour’ also is the name of a well-known reel.
The village is situated close to some of the most popular attractions in the Burren National Park and the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark including the Michael Cusack Centre, Aillwee Burren Experience, Caherconnell Stone Fort, Mullaghmore, Poulnabrone Dolmen and the village of Ballyvaughan, which is a Discovery Point along the Wild Atlantic Way.