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- 01 Mar 2020, 3 nights
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Lahinch is a cheery Victorian seaside town and one of the Ireland's top surf spots, surrounded by the sandstone cliffs, rocky coves and rolling green hills of County Clare. Colourful cafés and boutiques line the seafront with a sandy beach stretching beyond. It's a popular base for exploring too: the otherworldly landscape of Burren National Park is 30 minutes' drive inland, and the UNESCO-listed Cliffs of Moher begin 10km away on the other side of Liscannor Bay.
Hostels in Lahinch are well set up for surfers, so you'll often find wetsuit racks and rinsing areas. You can stay in dorms or private rooms and make the most of a free breakfast before a day on the waves. Look out for a Lahinch hostel with a sociable barbecue area where you and your travel buddies can cook up a feast. Most Lahinch hostels are centrally located, so the village bars and pubs are a short stroll away. Free Wi-Fi comes as standard too.
Lahinch village is at the south end of Lahinch Beach. North of the village centre is the promenade, dotted with surf schools and a few shops. Most of the restaurants, pubs and other shops are along the main road through the village itself. The pretty stone village of Liscannor is a 1-hour walk round the bay. As well as being a quaint setting for a coffee break, Liscannor is a starting point for longer hikes along the clifftops. Walk for another 6km from here and you'll reach Hag's Head, a viewpoint that marks the start of the Cliffs of Moher.
Hiking is a major activity in Lahinch thanks to its position on the Wild Atlantic Way footpath along Ireland's west coast. You can also experience the 200m-high Cliffs of Moher by boat. Choose a day trip that stops on the untamed Aran Islands – ferries leave from Doolin, a 30-minute drive away. For something more energetic, head to Lahinch Beach to learn to surf, try sea kayaking or go diving. In the evenings, you can explore the local cultural scene. County Clare is famous for traditional pubs where you can hear live folk music.
Shannon Airport is the closest to Lahinch, about a 1-hour journey away. Hop on a bus to Ennis (30 minutes) and change for another to Lahinch Coach Station (35 minutes), which is a short walk from the seafront. You can easily walk around the village or along the beach to Liscannor, and the local bus service runs through the coastal towns, including Doolin, for exploring the area.