Lahinch is a small seaside resort in County Clare in the west of Ireland. In Irish it's An Leacht, "the peninsula" and also known as Leacht Uí Chonchubhair, "Cairn of O'Connor" for the chieftain slain at Dough Castle. The resort grew up with the coming of the railway in 1887; that closed in 1961 but then along came an army of surfers in beat-up VW campervans. Lahinch is 10 km south of the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, and this page also describes the next-door villages of Liscannor and Ennistymon.
Lahinch is about 30 km from Ennis. Take N85 to Ennistymon then turn left onto N67.
You need a car or at least a bike, the bus service is sparse. Lahinch, Ennistymon and Liscannor are easy to get around on foot, but they're a few km from each other, and some distance from Cliffs of Moher.
The Paddywagon is a minibus that shuttles between Liscannor, Kilconnell, Cliffs of Moher, and Doolin village and pier. So you can ride one way and hike the other, and avoid bringing a vehicle to the crowded Cliffs car park. It runs hourly, adult €8.
- 1 Cliffs of Moher (Aillte an Mhothair, "Cliffs of the Ruin") tower 230 m above the Atlantic. They're dramatic but very touristy - free to view but the car park is pricey. See Doolin for more detail, including boat trips beneath them.
- 2 St Brigid's Well has been a shrine since the 1830s. There's an old cross and graveyard further up the hill.
- 3 Kilconnell is the way to enjoy the Cliffs of Moher without the crowds or silly price for parking: park here for €3 and enjoy the two hour walk along the cliff tops to the visitor centre. Or just stroll to the nearby Moher Tower, built as a lookout against Napoleonic invasion. Similar towers were built all around Ireland's northwest coast, exchanging signals by flags.
- 4 Liscannor (Lios Ceannúir, "ringfort of Connor") is an interesting little harbour 4 km west of Lahinch. As well as fishing, the harbour brought in coal and exported flagstones, but it was shallow and silty. There's the crumbling remains of a castle tower, ruined Kilmacreehy Church and graveyard and Caherderry Church, plus the still-active old churches of Moymore and St Brigid's, which by an ecclesiastical quirk is under the direct authority of the Pope. John Phillip Holland (1840-1914), inventor of the modern submarine, was born and grew up here. Only five Royal Navy submarines were built to his design: No 1 is in the RN Museum in Gosport, 2, 3 and 4 were scrapped, and the wreck of No 5 lies in 30 m depth off Eastbourne.
- 5 Dough Castle on Lahinch golf course is the stump of a medieval tower. It was the stronghold of the O'Connors, but in 1471 their chieftain was murdered here by his nephews: his burial cairn Leacht Ui Chonchuir being the alternative Irish name for Lahinch. But "Dough" itself is from dumhach - sand dune - and the ruin of the castle is not from attack or Cromwellian demolition but from unstable sand foundations.
- 6 Ennistymon (Inis Díomáin, "Díomáin's island") is an attractive village 4 km inland, where the Cullenagh River cascades to become the tidal River Inagh: in spate the spray from the falls cloaks the village. Best view of them is via the arch by Byrne's Hotel. Lots of eating and drinking places: the poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) spent a while here as it was the family home of his wife Caitlín Macnamara. (Though where did he not stay, hand-to-mouth, and when did he not spend?) Much of Father Ted was filmed in the village. A memorial to the Irish Famine (An Gorta Mór) stands 1 km from town on the road to Lahinch.
- Surfing: there are breaks for experienced surfers on the south side of the beach; beginners should head for quieter waters north side. The beach is covered at high tide. Surf shacks along the Promenade are Lahinch Surf Experience, Lahinch Surf School, Ben's Surf Clinic, The Green Room and Lahinch Surf Shop.
- Play golf: Lahinch Golf Club is on the peninsula, where the teetering Dough Castle looks like one badly-sliced drive could finish it off. The Old Course (blue tees) is 6950 yards, par 72; the Castle Course (white tees) is 5488 yards, par 69.
- Centra in Lahinch is a convenience store open daily 07:00-21:00.
- 1 O'Looneys Bar & Restaurant, The Promenade, Lahinch, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 11:00-21:00. Popular restaurant and pub on the Promenade.
- 2 Randaddy's, Promenade, Lahinch, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Th 11:30-18:00, F 11:30-20:00, Sa 10:00-21:30, Su 10:00-20:00. Great views, okay food, child and dog friendly.
- Vaughans Anchor Inn, Main St, Liscannor, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 12:30-21:00. Traditional Irish restaurant and bar, has simple modern rooms.
- 3 Barrtrá Seafood Restaurant, Barrtrá (N67 3 km southwest of Lahinch), ☏ . Mar Apr Oct Dec F Sa 17:30-21:00, Su 12:00-19:00; May-Sep W-Sa 17:30-21:00, Su 12:00-19:00. Acclaimed seafood restaurant. Dinner hours seasonal as above, July and August they also serve lunch daily 12:30 - 16:30.
- Byrne's, Main St, Ennistymon, ☏ . Apr-Oct daily, Nov-Mar Tu-Su, 12:00-21:30. Good restaurant with the best view of the falls, also has rooms.
- 1 Castleview Golf Course B&B, Ennistymon Rd, Lahinch, ☏ . Well-run B&B 1 km from town and beach. No availability in 2020.
- 2 Lahinch Coast Hotel, Station Rd, Lahinch, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2019 they had the designers in and re-branded the place. Gets good ratings for comfort, service and food. B&B double €100.
- 3 Atlantic Hotel, Main St, Lahinch, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Friendly clean hotel in town centre. B&B double €110.
- 4 Sancta Maria Hotel, Ennistymon Rd, Lahinch, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Simple welcoming small hotel open Mar-Oct. B&B double €110.
- 5 Lahinch Hostel, Church St, Lahinch, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Clean friendly hostel in town centre. Dorm €18, private room €20, ppn.
- Falls Hotel, Sroohill, Ennistymon, ☏ . Upscale hotel and spa in what was the Georgian Ennistymon House, home of the family of Caitlín Macnamara who married Dylan Thomas. Gets great reviews for comfort, service and food. B&B double from €90.
- 6 Moy House, Calluragh South, Lahinch, ☏ . Bijou hotel in unusual Georgian bungalow, excellent cooking. Open Apr-Oct. No dogs. No availability shown for 2020. B&B double from €180.
As of July 2020, Lahinch has a good mobile and 4G signal from all Irish carriers, but 5G has not yet reached this area.
- North along the coast from Cliffs of Moher is Doolin, with boats to the Aran Islands.
- Further north, the cliffs continue then you round the headland towards Galway.
- Inland is the spare scenery of The Burren.
- Kilrush on the Shannon estuary has a resident pod of dolphins. No, not in the village itself.
- Ennis is an agreeable market town ringed by ruined abbeys and other historic sites.