The pretty village of Ballyvaughan lies on the coast of North Clare within sight of beautiful Galway Bay. Ballyvaughan was established as a small fishing community from the early 19th century, however medieval castle ruins and a celtic ring fort indicate earlier habitation of the section of the Galway Bay shoreline.
It is a charming heritage town, and the ideal base from which to explore the many wonders of the Burren and its surrounding countryside. The famous Burren Way (35 km of Green Road) starts in Ballyvaughan, and continues on to Fanore, Doolin and finally Liscannor. There are numerous other wonderful Burren walks, which are easily navigated with the aid of a map, or even better still, with the assistance of a local guide. There are several challenging self-guided walks in and around Ballyvaughan, including the Ballyvaughan Wood Loop, the Black Head Loop, the Carron Loop, and the Burren Way.
And, of course, you can hire bicycles in the village of Ballyvaughan, and greatly expand your touring reach. It is the perfect way to experience this delightful part of Co Clare. Beautiful unspoilt beaches at Bishop’s quarters and Fanore invite you to swim, kayak, and surf. And Ballyvaughan Bay, of course, is suitable for all kinds of water activities. With a recently constructed slipway you can access the sea to sail, canoe, windsurf, scuba dive, or simply swim the good old-fashioned way.
Many regions whose geology is based on karst limestone have very large and highly developed cave systems, and the Burren is no different. Its soft porous bedrock is riddled with water systems and navigable caves. Two of these caves are open to the public. The wonderful Aillwee Caves with their delightfully designed visitors centre and cafe is well worth going out of your way for. Alternatively, the Doolin Caves, with one of the largest stalactites in the world, is pretty awesome too.
This is the land of traditional Irish music, and formal and impromptu sessions can be enjoyed in many of the pubs in the evening time, especially during the summer months.
Just down the road from Ballyvaughan in the direction of Galway, you will find the peninsula of Newquay, with its beautiful Flaggy Shore, and with Mount Vernon (formerly Lady Gregory’s summer residence), the Russell Gallery, and the Martello Tower. And after all that walking, photographing, and sightseeing, Lennane’s Pub is the place to grab a bite and a pint.
How to get Here
By bus, or car. Bus Eireann Route 423 provides a service from Galway to Ballyvaughan. Alternatively follow the N6 from Galway to Kilcolgan, and then the N67 to Ballyvaughan.
Where to stay
Ballyvaughan has a great selection of comfortable and friendly places to stay including small hotels, hostels, self-catering holiday homes, guesthouses and B&B's.
Ballyvaughan is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Kinvara and Clarinbridge if you are travelling north, and The Burren, and The Aran Islands, if travelling west.
Things to do in Ballyvaughan.
The wonderful Ailwee Caves with their fabulously designed visitor centre and café guarantees a fun morning or afternoon to see the Burren landscape for a different perspective.
Make pilgrimage to the Poulnabrone Dolmen just outside Ballyvaughan, a portal tomb which dates back to Neolithic times.
Explore the Burren near Ballyvaughan. A guided hiking tour can be arranged at the Hyland Burren hotel desk. A very ‘colourful’ local guide takes you up the mountain just outside of town. A must for plant lovers. Because of the unusual climate, the plants include both tropical and arctic varieties.
Enjoy the fine old shopfronts which have been preserved better in Co Clare than elsewhere in Ireland.