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How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

New Jersey
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31 posts
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How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

Ireland is often known as the Land of 1,000 Welcomes, but when it comes to transportation around County Clare, it comes with certain challenges. It is often advised that if you’re going out to western Ireland, one should rent a car to see the sights as everything is spread out and there’s a lot of ground to cover. Not everyone can do so due to the crazy rental insurance on the vehicles. Add in horror stories about the different rental agencies and people not wanting to drive on the other side of the road, it’s understandable that renting a car might not be for you.

Important Genreal Ireland Transportation Links:

Bus Eireann - http://www.buseireann.ie/

Bus Eireann Regional By County- http://www.buseireann.ie/inner.php?id=245

Rail Services - http://www.irishrail.ie/

Citylink Bus (Limerick and Galway to Dublin) - https://www.citylink.ie/

City bus/tram maps - https:/…

Gobus (Galway to Dublin) - https://www.gobus.ie/

Eire Eagle Bus (Galway/Limerick to Dublin Airport) - https://www.eireagle.com/

To and From Shannon Airport

If you’re flying into or out of Shannon Airport, you should know upfront that there is no direct route to Dublin. You have to go through either Galway or Limerick as a gateway to Dublin. There are several buses and taxi options available:

The X51 Express Galway- Shannon Airport - Limerick


The 51 Local

Cork to Galway with stops in Ennis and Shannon Airport


Bus Eireann 343 Limerick – Shannon- Ennis




This has got some great information on distance and the 2018 going rate for taxis to various places. The takeaway is that it’s typically €1.40 per km or €2.25 per mile is the approximate fare to various destinations throughout the country, subject to negotiation with your taxi driver before you start your fare.

County Clare Transport Options

I found this great link that covers much of the information I was looking for here:


It covers a ton of transportation options like bus routes, bike rental, ferries, amongst other things. The links don’t always work for some of the individual companies, but it’s a good resource nonetheless and a great starting point!

Bus Eireann 350 Galway – DoolinCliffs of Moher – Ennis


CLARE BUS - http://www.clarebus.ie/

I have contacted ClareBus, which is on the list to ask some general questions. While it is available for tourist use, it is more suited for domestic use rather than for the tourist. It is aimed at the rural person getting transport to other transport links (bus and train) or for doing the shopping or going to the post office. Rides must be scheduled in advance. If you wish to contact with questions (the person I corresponded with was very kind and patient) you can do so at: travel@clarebus.ie. Clare Bus is a non-profit organisation. Please Note: Routes and timetables are very limited. You must ring +353 61 924375/1890 687287 to book your place, tickets can be purchased online, or on the bus.

Shuttle - The Cliffs of Moher Hop On Hop Off Bus from Doolin


This shuttle bus, run by Paddywagon Tours, will take you up and down the cliffs to different points.

Bike Rental

E-Whizz Electric Bikes http://www.e-whizz.com/wordpress/index.php

Prices as of July 2018: €130 for 2 ebikes including delivery for two days, not including €100 per bike deposit.

Doolin Rent-a-bike http://www.doolinrentabike.ie/

Prices as of July 2018: Bikes are €15 each per day and you can bring them on the ferry to the Aran Islands. No deposit info given.

Tierney’s Cycles https://www.clarebikehire.com/

Rothai InishOirr http://www.rothai-inisoirr.com/

Aran Bike Hire - Inishmor http://aranislandsbikehire.com/

West Ireland Cycling- Galway https://westirelandcycling.com/

Getting to the Tourist Sites

As we’re staying in Doolin, all of my planning begins at this point, specifically the Rainbow Hostel Bus Stop, which is the closest to our B&B.

Bus Eireann 350 Galway – Doolin – Cliffs of Moher – Ennis


Doolin Cave – Get off the 350 bus at the Ballinalacken Castle Stop and walk 1000 feet south to Doolin Cave Entrance.

Fanore Beach – Get off at the Munough Bridge and walk south 1Km to Beach.

Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center – Get off at the Cliffs of Moher Coach Park Bus Stop

Bus Eireann 333 Ennis – Miltown Malbay - Doonbeg


The Burren – The Burren covers a great deal of area in Clare County, and access is limited by public transport. The Poulnabrone Dolmen, the Caherconnell Stone Fort, Ailwee Cave, and the Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb are all on R480, a 21 mile road in the middle of County Clare, which has no direct bus route. The closest bus routes to get there would be to take the Bus Eireann 350 to Ballyvaughan and go south, or the Bus 333 to Lemenagh Castle and go north. Renting a bike or taking a cab from would be advisable unless you like long hikes on tiny roads.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it touches on a great many options. Your mileage may vary. Good luck!

9 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
637 posts
21 reviews
1. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

Hi Tina,

Thanks for posting that - it's a good collection of transport links that should prove very useful to other visitors who would prefer not to hire a car, or cannot on account of their age.

I would take issue with your disparaging account of Irish car rental, however. Many people do rent cars here, and do so successfully, without astronomical cost. The key is to read up on everything beforehand, and be prepared and informed.

One of the main reasons why insurance is so high in Ireland for overseas travellers hiring cars is, in my opinion, that a lot of them hop in their cars off a red-eye, on the 'wrong' side of the vehicle, with a stick shift, then head off on the 'wrong' side of the road with jet lag/sleep deprivation just ready to rear it's ugly head.

However, I'm really pleased that public transport worked out well for you on your trip here. Would you be willing to write up a trip review of your visit, with the towns/sites you visited via public transport and how that worked out for you? It would probably help a lot of fellow visitors!

New Jersey
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31 posts
71 reviews
2. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

Hi Von,

I don't believe that I particularly disparaged renting a car, but merely pointed out reasons why someone wouldn't want to. If someone wanted to rent a car, more power to them, as it makes getting around less challenging. I thought that was clear.

Level Contributor
637 posts
21 reviews
3. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

Hi Tina, I interpreted your references to 'crazy rental insurance' and 'horror stories' as mostly disparaging to the Irish car rental industry, which isn't that different to that of mainland Europe. It can, of course, offer up unpleasant surprises to those who haven't done their homework, but it needn't be the nightmare that you have outlined. There are many posters here, from the US and further afield, who visit regularly and also hire cars regularly.

Aside from that, I would like to reiterate that your post will most likely be a great resource to other travellers who do not want to rent a car. You've collected a great deal of information, and to have it in one post that we can point other visitors to is valuable - thank you.

Are you going to write up a trip review of your visit? It could help lots of other visitors.

Level Contributor
695 posts
4. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

A very useful list.

It is a pity that Local Link Clare (Clare Bus) don't as yet appear to have any routes that one can use without pre-booking such as the walk-up scheduled Local Link routes that exist in many other counties. Hopefully this may change in the future.

One service that would be useful is a shuttle from Birdhill rail station to Killaloe/Ballina - it would save having to backtrack via Limerick.

I understand from recent media reports that Bus Eireann have plans to expand their services in Co. Clare. So certainly a space worth watching!

Edited: 2:02 am, July 24, 2018
New Jersey
Level Contributor
31 posts
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5. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

I am really happy to hear that bus service is going to be expanded in County Clare. I look forward to finding out the particulars, as even one more bus route would make the area that much more accessible! If anyone reading happens to come across information regarding that bus expansion, please let us know the details.

Level Contributor
695 posts
6. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

One of the articles:


Upgrading of Ennis rail station in the news today:


Edited: 5:02 pm, July 24, 2018
Saginaw, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Western Ireland
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7. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

A follow-up Trip Report here is much appreciated:


Edited: 4:41 pm, September 10, 2018
Level Contributor
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8. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

thanks for your transport post. i'm planning a stay in Doolin July 2019 without a car-so it's very helpful. did you visit the dolmens in the Burren park by taxi or by public transport or bike? my husband wants to play golf in the area-- how did you find taxi transport in the area? Finally, without a car, which accommodation in Doolin would you recommend so that we can walk to and from dinner?

New Jersey
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71 reviews
9. Re: How To Get Around County Clare Without Renting A Car

Hi! I'm glad you found my post helpful! We didn't make it to the dolmens; we rented bikes and got lost so we gave up on seeing them this trip. It's a long ride, so I don't recommend biking from Doolin unless you are an experienced riders. Or maybe try it from Ballyvaughn as it's straight down from there. Someone gave some local links that might be useful in one of the threads I posted, but I can't find it from my phone. One of the suggestions was to use a local walking guide who might be able to transport you there.

We didn't use a taxi at all, but you can get information from the visitor center or your b&b. However, we were told at the visitor center that the taxis would come from Lisdoonvarna and may not drive out. If anyone has better info on this, please let us know.

We stayed at Nellie Dee's and it was 2km from Fischer St, which was a nice walk. There's places to eat and pubs for music between the two, so you should be fine wherever you stay. We walked back from the pubs every night and had no issues, but it was very dark and the road very narrow, so if your b&b has the reflective vests, use them.

Between walking and the bus, we got everywhere we wanted to go, except for the Dolmens. I hope you have a great trip and get to see everything that is on your list!

Edited to add the link with the information, see response #7:


Edited: 6:51 pm, October 25, 2018
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