The Road Trip
So it’s road trip time, the first as a family of 4, with an 8 month old and 2 year old the challenge was getting to witness great sights in the west of Ireland but bringing enough entertain and incorporating some kids activities. You may say a real “Chalk and Cheese” trip. The final destination is Doolin in County Clare, the entry to the Cliffs of Moher, so here is what we came up to.
Glendeer Pet Farm
With all driving and stopping and starting over the next few days, we thought it was only fair to bring the kids to somewhere they would love to start this road trip. Another reason, it will tire them out for the road trip ahead and give a little bit of respite and make the journey a bit more manageable.
Located about 10 minutes west of Athlone, just off the M6 at junction 13 and follow the signs to Glendeer
Whats At The Farm
Glendeer has a great range of animals to see
On entrance kids get free bag of feed to give the animals (beware the ostrich darts in)
They all have ample space to move around and are certainly well looked after and very happy.
Other Things To Do
Other activities for kids include indoor play area with slides, a huge outdoor playground, nature walk.
The Glendeer pet farm also features this beautifully restored 1850s cottage. With original features all in place.
So with the kids happy enough and tired, we hopped back on the car and off to our next stop.
We decided to head to Galway from the farm as it would be a great starting point to head down south. We could take in some of the Wild Atlantic Way and the Burren.
We parked up at the docks and after a short walk we stumbled on a little cafe and pancake bar called Pascal. The quaint entrance drew our attention and the pancakes didn’t take away from the great looks, they were delicious.
For the journey coffee was needed and as good Americano as i have had in a long while with a creamy crema on top, always a god sign.
As we headed off down the Wild Atlantic Way our first point of call was the beautiful little village of Kinvara, and known as the gateway to the Burren.
Picturesque and idylic location which was once a thriving fishing port, but now known as a small fishing village.
Known for its great range of traditional pubs and a top spot to kick back and sink a few of the liquid gold. (The Guiness).
We also noticed many a independently run coffee shops and café scattered along the main street.
For tourists Kinvarra is known for one of the prettiest castles in the west Ireland the Dunguaire Castle. Ideally located on the waters edge adding to its appeal and striking look.
Built in 1520, the castle was known for its feasting and banquets and to this day the tradition is kept alive. Banquet nights run from April to October. In keeping with the traditions, traditional food and entertainment are experienced just like it would of been many years ago.
After leaving Kinvarra, we started to make our way through the Burren region and headed cross country following the signs for the Cliffs of Moher. The Burren, meaning Rocky is a vast piece of land and hills very distinctive and unique, almost moon like rocky limestone formation.
It was here we stumbled across the Alliwee Caves, unfortunately we couldn’t go in with an 8 month old it was going to be hard to manage. But not to be to deterred we drove up to the top and parked up for some of these great views of the Burren region in all it’s glory.
Once we soaked up our view we headed back off and through the Burren and through the town of Listonvarna home of the one and only Matchmaking Festivals (we will maybe do this one another time). And then through to our stay for the next few nights Doolin.
We arrived at the northern side gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin. We wanted to check out our Airbnb but the excitement got the better of us and with limited light left we headed straight to the center.
Straightaway we were blown away with how picturesque and beautiful this little village is. Streets lined with beautiful old buildings, local independent businesses and an array of pubs and eateries.
With its coastal views and huge Cliffs along the shoreline it mad for some great views, and great start to our visit to Doollin.
So Where Abouts Is Doolin
To give a view of where Doolin is located along this part of the coast the map below should help.
Things To Do
Doolin may be tiny in size but there is plenty to do in this little village. Here below is a few picks.
- Doolin Caves
- Doolin Ferries to Aran Islands and around the Cliffs of Moher
- Doonagore castle
- Doolin to cliffs walk
- Doolin Food Tour
Eat And Drink
As we said Doolin is full of eateries, now with that said going late October and at the beginning of the week a lot were shut. Bare in mind Doolin is a seasonal place so maybe check a few places out before hand if traveling between October and May.
We decided to keep it traditional and tried a few of the pubs. The first pub was McGanns, a real traditional pub with a ton of character.
We all opted for the fish and chips, freshly battered local fish and hand cut chips. Was a delicious introduction to the food scene in Doolin, and a happy fed family.
McGanns is also a place known for it’s great music sessions, with nightly music a regular occurrence.
Night two we went and tried another pub and this time it was Fitz Bar which is part of the Doolin hotel on the main street.
I went with the buttermilk chicken burger whilst Michelle had the chickpea and beetroot burger both juicy and delicious. I couldn’t pass up a pint of Guiness and was a great creamy pint.
Our Stay Airbnb
We chose to find a Airbnb as we were with the kids and it gives a bit more space and freedom. We were on a Airbnb buzz after our stay in Navan at the Bective we wanted to find another treat. And that we found.
Nestled up in the hills with feature window giving unprecedented views across the Doolin coastline. The 2 bedroom 2 story apartment was a new build and incredibly well finished and comfy.
The apartment well spotlessly clean and Trish and her family most accommodating
For availability check with HOST
Day 2 The Cliffs Of Moher
The famous Cliffs of Moher, we are going to give a different spin to the normal routine of visiting the Cliffs. With have 2 very young kids the Cliffs are a difficult prospect, firstly the walk is a fair distance (we are calling this a fair walk based on both our children being under 3) and secondly the wind makes it all the more difficult , unless obviously is a still day, but hey its called the Wild Atlantic Way for a reason.
We managed to find a cheat for families by the name Guerins Walk. Located a 1 km passed the main entrance to the Cliffs is this path and small car park. As you can see below we got parked right up next to the Cliffs and only metres away.
The white sign below is the one your looking for from the road turn up here and the entrance is about 1km up this road on the right hand side the entrance is below right picture.
Back in the car and off again
Driving Around The Back Roads
We love to explore the back streets and places nobody sees with the boys cosy and napping in the back we went off the beaten track in search of some views.
At times the streets were so narrow we were glad there was no oncoming traffic, but it certainly gave us some great views and vantage points.
After losing reception we did got a bit lost but popped out òn the main stretch from the Cliffs to Lahinch.
And it was at this point it was where we found a little coffee stop off
The Best Coffee In Ireland
We had seen the signs advertising the Moher Cottage with the slogan the ‘Best coffee in Ireland’
We arrived, and instantly absolutely loved this old beautifully restored cottage.
More than just a coffee shop the cottage also serves a selection of fudge and had a great dhop of Irish made gifts.
We opted for some coffees, as we were a bit short on time, but as soon as we got back in the car we regretted not grabbing some fudge.
Did the coffee live up to its name it certainly did, perfect temperature, and a silky smooth texture. It passed the test. Refuel done and was time to head on to the next stop.
With a bit more time we would loved to of spent some time wandering the selection of Irish made gifts, including Moher Cottages very own sock collection.
A few weeks after our visit Caitriona and Kevin the owners allowed us to do a interview which you can find here.
On our way back to Doolin we visited the Doonagore Castle. Perfectly nestled on the hills with stunning backdrop Doonagore Castle is a a striking addition to Doolin.
Doonagore Castle History
Built in the 16th century this tower house’s name means ‘the fort of the rounded hills”. It is said that under the castle tower, lies the remains of a smaller and older castle.
It was used as a navigational point by boats that were approaching Dooling Pier or that would of been leaving.
The castle was surprising giving the landscape of the Burren, that sandstone was used instead of the limestone that was so readily available.
Nowadays the castle is a private holiday home, and not accessible by the public, However you are still able to get relatively close and it is very impressive to see and get close up snaps.
Dinner And A Quiet Night
After an action packed afternoon and a great day trip we tried out as we mentioned above Fitz bar for food and took a relaxing night in the apartment for us all to recharge.
Day 3 Kids Time At The Farm Number 2
After day 2 of exploring it was only fair to give the kids something and to try another local attraction and with our young ones love of farms, We visited the Moher Hill Pet Farm.
Way More Than A Petting Farm
After stopping at the previous Pet Farm Glendeer, this one had a bit more of a play element about it. Now this on one hand was great for the kids but on the other hand 3 hours later carrying them out like a bag under our arms was a challenge.
But the main thing was fun after a lot of exploring the previous day.
Moher Hill had sand pits, crazy golf, playground, ball pit and bouncy castle for the kids to enjoy. And coming into off season was quiet enough and not many crowds. The bonus of the indoor activities also is great, because after all its called the wild Atlantic way and the weather can be pretty unreliable.
We did manage to break for a while to see some of the animals on farm. And our son enjoyed petting the ponys as you can see below
But that was short lived and back to the activities is was. But there were a large amount of animals on show below shows the list.
Moher Hill also has a cafe with selections of treats, sandwiches and drinks. And also available are party rooms to hold kids birthdays etc.
The Journey Home
From Moher Hill we set back off on the road, two sleeping boys we head back through the Burren and on the way back to Roscommon
Although its no easy feat travelling with kids, it was good to get the first one out the way. Road trips over the next year are going to be big for us and making it enjoyable for the whole family is great.
Doolin was great and somewhere we would like to come back in the summer months. We would love to get out.to the Aran Islands and take the Doolin food tour.
Alongside these we have also put together the ultimate guide to our county of residence Roscommon.