Located on the wave-beaten western edge of Ireland, this former fisherman’s village is known for its traditional Irish music scene. Every night, patrons squeeze into a trio of popular pubs to listen to fiddlers, singers, flutists, tin whistlers, and bodhrán (a traditional Irish drum) players take part in toe-tapping jam sessions.
Doolin is a popular base for travelers who want to explore the natural beauty of north County Clare. Organized tours to the Cliffs of Moher often make a stop at Doolin (the town is just a 10-minute drive from the famous UNESCO-listed beauty spot), as well as at the Burren, a region known for its unusual karst topography. For those who want a different perspective on the Cliffs of Moher, cruises to the cliffs depart from Doolin Pier.
In Doolin itself, visitors can explore the town and admire the brightly painted fishermen’s cottages. The town’s biggest attraction is its trio of music pubs: Gus O’Connor’s, McDermott’s, and McGann’s. Visitors can enjoy a typical Irish lunch, such as fish-and-chips or beef-and-Guinness stew, or settle in for an evening of live music.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Doolin is a must for music-lovers and anyone who wants to experience Irish pub culture.
- Bring a good rain jacket and walking boots as Doolin is frequently hit with wind and rain.
- Some Cliffs of Moher cruises departing from Doolin are wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
Doolin is located along the Wild Atlantic Way in north County Clare in the west of Ireland. The village is about 1.5 hours from Galway by car. Bus Éireann route 350 runs from Galway city center to Doolin.
When to Get There
Doolin is at its liveliest during summer, when warmer, calmer weather allows boat cruises to run and other area tourist attractions are up and running. During the summer months, music sessions normally take place nightly. In winter, Doolin is much quieter, though live traditional music sessions still take place on weekend nights in its cozy pubs.
What Else to Do in Doolin
Though its music scene and the nearby Cliffs of Moher are Doolin’s biggest attractions, there are other activities in town well worth trying too. Follow the Doolin Cliff Walk, which offers views of the stunning and sheer Atlantic cliffs, or visit Doolin Cave, whose 24-foot-long (7.3-meter-long) stalactite is said to be the longest free-hanging stalactite in Europe.