Gone with the Grins

Ireland’s Loop Head Peninsula

Loop Head Peninsula in Ireland showcases Ireland's rugged landscape

In County Clare, Ireland, the lesser-visited and equally beautiful Loop Head Peninsula ranks right up there as one of our favorites. While not as popular as Kerry or Dingle, Loop Head felt the most like a relaxing time at the beach. The day we went, the weather was (finally!) clear, and the coastline was spectacular. We never made it all the way to the tip of the peninsula and the Loop Head lighthouse, but were perfectly content to stop short at the Pollock Holes and the Bridges of Ross. As much as we liked the more well-known ring drives, Ireland’s Loop Head Peninsula was just the kind of off-the-beaten-path locale that we adore, and it was definitely one for the memory books.

Pollock Holes

From Ennis, it was less than a one hour drive to the town of Kilkee and the Pollock Holes (also known as Duggerna Reef). Just to the west of Kilkee Beach, and right by a large parking lot and busy café, these naturally sheltered pools are exposed every day when the tide is out. As we discovered, it’s a really popular place on a nice day on a weekend. Even so, it didn’t feel overcrowded. 

We arrived about two hours after low tide, and the water was already rising surprisingly fast. After climbing over the rocks for a time (shoes on), we were forced to wade back (shoes off) through a shallow channel that was swallowed up within minutes.

Once the ocean began to reclaim the pools, we sought higher ground for some stunning aerial views from the nearby cliffs. Rick broke out his compact Yuneec Breeze and joined the other folks flying their drones.

The waves in Kilkee Ireland can be very strong

The Pollock Holes may be calm, but the Atlantic Ocean is fierce along the nearby coastline.

A footpath follows the cliffs here for a mile west to Foohagh Point. But we decided to continue on down the peninsula — by car — to another ocean-born natural wonder.

Bridges of Ross

Despite the plural name, there is currently only one bridge, a natural sea arch on the western side of Ross Bay, north of the town of Kilbaha. Historically, the name referred to three arches, two of which collapsed into the sea in the 19th century.

If you’re in southwest Ireland, the Pollock Holes and Bridges of Ross are definitely worth a detour. Here’s how to get to the Loop Head Peninsula:

This was just one of several day trips we took from our central hub of Ennis. We also saw Bunratty Castle, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher, and the Rock of Cashel.

We began our Ireland trip in Dingle where we circled Slea Head Drive and about half of the Ring of Kerry.

Read our entire 9-Day Ireland Itinerary here.