Loophead Lighthouse will be open to the public each weekend including Bank Holidays from 16th March until June Bank Holiday weekend. The Lighthouse will also open from 3rd May to 12th May inclusive in conjunction with the National Famine Commemoration. 10am-5.30pm (Subject to change, please check prior to visit). Visitors have the opportunity to be guided to the top of the lighthouse and take in the magnificant views from the balcony. An informative, interactive exhibition also provides a history of the Lighthouse and allows the visitor to learn how the operation of this Lighthouse has progressed through the years. Admission: €5 per person with under 12’s free. Limited toilet facilities and light refreshments available on site.
For more information on Loophead Lighthouse click here
Loophead County Clare
The Loop Head peninsula on the west coast of County Clare juts into the Atlantic Ocean like a gnarled finger pointing westward. It is bounded on the north and west side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the south by the River Shannon estuary with barely one mile of land saving it from island status meaning it has one of the highest ratios of coastline to land surface in Ireland.
The Loophead lighthouse is like a sentinel overlooking the whole area. The peninsula is bounded to the east by European designated conservation areas. Within this small triangle lies the entire range of coastal ecosystems found on the Atlantic coast of Europe. As such the Ocean provides us with our raison d’être, it feeds us, entertains us and provides us with employment opportunities. The area is sparsely populated with Kilkee being the only centre of population. The attractive villages encompassed in the peninsula, Cross, Carrigaholt and Kilbaha are relatively small and untouched by development. The peninsula is extensively farmed, mainly with beef cattle and dairy herds.
The Loophead Atlantic coast is noted for its sheer cliffs, most over 30 metres in height, caves and sea stacks that extend south-west toward the point from Kilkee, interrupted only by the lower cliffs and boulder shoreline and bay at Ross and Fodra Bay a little farther south. Diarmuid and Grannine’s rock is one of the most dramatic sea stacks in the area, and can be seen on the western side of the point of the headland itself, rising to a height of 100 metres.
The cliffs are the breeding grounds of Peregrines, Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmar, Chough and Rock Doves. Dolphins, whales and even Sunfish have been observed from the cliffs. The mouth of the Shannon estuary is overlooked by the low cliffs and boulder bays of Kilbaha, Rinvella and Carrigaholt. The special areas of conservation contains a large selection of plants, birds, dolphins, fish and other wildlife, much of it endangered and subject to very strict preservation laws. Because it is relatively untouched by excessive development the people of the area are genuinely eager to see visitors and to share their rich culture, history, land and seascapes with them.
Winner of the 2010 EDEN Award
Every year the European Union awards European Destination of ExcelleNce (EDEN) to little known areas off the tourist beaten track. The key feature of the selected destination is its commitment to social, cultural and environmental sustainability. The destination has to show that economically viable tourism is being developed based on natural resources, historical heritage, traditional celebrations and local gastronomy.
Information on all the EDEN destinations in Ireland is available here irelandseden.ie and the other European destinations and the method by which they are selected is available on www.ec.europa.eu/eden.
Irish EDEN Destinations
2007 Destination: Clonakilty and District Co Cork
2008 Destination: Carlingford and Cooley Peninsula, Co Louth
2009 Destination: The Sheep’s Head, Co Cork
2010 Destination: Loophead, Co Clare
2011 Destination: Greenway, Mulranney, Co Mayo