Doolin, Ireland Destination Guide
By Monk Media
Kick back in a beautiful little Irish village nestled along the sea in a surreal limestone landscape. In the evenings check out the famous local music scene down at O’Connor’s pub.
WHEN TO GO
Summer is the best time to go. Winter is a cold, wet time in Ireland. And, besides, summer is the time when Doolin’s music scene heats up.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
Doolin is located on Ireland’s west coast, south of Galway. The best way to get to Doolin is by bus from Galway or Dublin.
Although it might be hard to imagine when you arrive, Doolin is known worldwide for its traditional Irish music.
On summer evenings, Gus O’Connor’s, in the middle of town, hosts top-flight bands from all over Ireland. Usually, there is a table in the center of the pub reserved for the musicians. Everybody — kids, grandparents, yuppies from Dublin, farmers and dogs — gather around and join in. Bring something to bang on.
The two other pubs which feature nightly live music sessions of traditional music are McDermott’s and McGann’s.
The Micho Russell Festival Weekend is held every year after the last Friday in February.
MOST UNUSUAL ATTRACTION
Doolin is located in the middle of the Burren, a carboniferous limestone landscape with thousands of varieties of rare flowers, including acres and acres of wild orchids. Botanists come here from all over the world to study the unique combination of Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants.
Poll na gColm, nearby, is Ireland’s largest cave. These caves were formed back in the Ice Age and have magnificent stalagmites and stalactites and the bones of antediluvian bears.
The Burren is a mecca for archaeologists who study the many Stone Age burial sites, including megalithic tombs built around 3,500 BCE, two thousand years before the sack of Troy. These tombs give us many clues to the lives of these early farmers, who farmed with stone tools and made implements and jewelry from animal bones.
BEST ACTIVITIES OR TOURS
Rent a bike at Paddy’s Doolin Hostel and venture out into the countryside in search of iron-age burial sites and medieval castles. Hike along the 700-foot tall Cliffs of Moher, or take a ferry ride back in time to the Aran Islands (Doolin Ferries, +353-65-707-4189). Either way, you’ll be drinking Guinness.
Doonagore Castle and Ballinalacken Castle are also in the area.
You can also take a ferry from Doolin to the Aran Islands, made famous by many books and movies including The Aran Islands by J.M. Synge and Robert J. Flaherty’s 1934 classic documentary “Man of Aran.”
The largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor, has four Iron-Age hill forts, Dun Aenghus, Dun Duchathair, Dun Eochla and Dun Eoghanachta as well as many other historic sites. The islands are also famous for the high-quality wool sweaters that knitters make and sell there.
- Nagles Doolin Caravan and Camping Park
A fantastic view of the ocean and is just a short walk from town.
- Paddy’s Doolin Hostel
A festive atmosphere and often fills up during the summer.
- O’Connor’s Pub serves tasty, authentic Irish fare
There is no bank in town, but O’Connor’s and Paddy’s both change money and cash travelers’ checks.
Love Ireland? Take dozens of travel articles to go on your Kindle with our Ireland Plane Reader.
If you like the articles we publish, maybe you can be one of our writers too! Make travel plans, then write a story for us! Click here to read our writer’s guidelines.