Doolin is on the itinerary for the many excursions from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher, but this town in County Clare has much more to offer than just a stop for lunch.
The small village is famous for being a center of traditional Irish music, which is played every night in the different pubs. In addition, Doolin offers many shops where it is possible to buy fabrics, ceramics and other types of crafts typical of the region.
These are some of the things you can’t miss when you visit Doolin:
Doolin Cave – This cave is home to the largest stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere – a pointed rock formation that forms on the roof of caves from the sedimentation of thousands of years. The cave was formed over 350 million years ago, but it was only discovered in 1952. There are guided tours and a cafe at the entrance to the attraction.
Doolin Pier / The Harbor – The place where boat trips to the Aran Islands depart, a group of three islands – Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr) – where the population still cultivates traditional Irish customs. The island of Inis Oírr is famous for the ruins of the MV Plassy, a cargo ship that was shipwrecked in 1960.
Gus O’Connor Pub – Doolin’s most famous pub, opened since 1832 on Fisher Street. It is the perfect place to drink a pint at the end of a day of sightseeing, and listen to traditional Irish music. The sessions take place every night, from February to November (or only on weekends, from December to January). Sunday sessions – Super Sundays – are the most popular, starting in the afternoon and with no time to end.
Donagore Castle – A 16th century castle reminiscent of fairy tales, with a round tower and a small wall around it. The name means “the goats’ fort”. It was restored in the 1970s and sold to an American, becoming private property. Still, it is worth the visit.
The Doolin Chocolate Shop – A Wilde brand chocolate shop that sells candy in various shapes and flavors – from the most exotic, like lavender, roses and seaweed, to the most traditional. The brand’s factory is an hour from Doolin, in Tuamgraney, and can be visited by appointment.
The Clare Jam Company – This store outside downtown Doolin sells a large selection of jams, mustards and chutneys (a sauce based on fruits, vegetables and spices). All products are produced on site. You can find very different products, like onion jam and spicy plum chutney.