Hidden Gems from Optimum

Marty's Blog

Posted on Thu, Oct 1st, 2020

I have done a huge amount of tours over the past 9 years and at the expense of sounding biased, I would have to say my favourite county is Clare. It's got it all from Sailing at Loop Head on The Atlantic, to The Shannon and river cruising at Killaloe, to hiking in The Burren - that 250 sq mile limestone plateau where people lived 5000 years ago, golfing on one of the finest links courses in the Br Isles and home to the 2019 Irish Open - Lahinch where glorious sunsets can be enjoyed from its mile long beach while listening to the gentle waves rolling in from beautiful Liscannor Bay. As POTUS says "most people dont know this" but the founder of the American submarine - John Holland - was born in Liscannor in 1841. Sea fishing can be enjoyed in the adjacent pristine Atlantic waters and if you fail to find fish you can always pop over to the nearby Aran Islands and enjoy the best seafood with pints of glorious good Guinness. You can learn to Surf do some kayaking, horse riding, or chase dolphins off carrigaholt. There are lots of different species of dolphins around Ireland but the pod in the Shannon that numbers circa 120 are extremely territorial and resist all outsiders who attempt to enter the river. On a lucky day as you cross on the ferry from Kerry to Clare - dolphins will accompany the boat. Scattery Island on the river Shannon is a 6th century monastic site complete with a round tower and is well worth a trip. The Loop Head peninsula in West Clare is amazingly spectacular and was declared "the best place to holiday in Ireland" in an Irish Times competition. And here is my favourite place in the country and an undiscovered jewel, a piece of coastal scenery that many of my clients have said is equal and better than the nearby world famous Cliffs of Moher, this is the Dunlicky Coastal Road south of Kilkee. Pictures attached. For the gourmet tourist, we also have Irelands only Michelin Star Pub - the Wild Honey Inn in Lisdoonvarna as well as Vaughans Pub Liscannor, Naughtons in Kilkee and Morrisseys in Doonbeg all serving the most wonderful food in the country.

The black lamb was a regular on my Clare trips - he was a pet - and I would have carrots on board. Those days I had an MPV carrying 5. The American tourists used go mad for him and feed him - I was training him to do hand stands lol. I christened him Ba Ba Obama. American tourists envy us with the charming solid family life we enjoy.