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about the area

Kilrush is a lively maritime and heritage town that has many attractions to suit every visitor. Pleasant coastal and woodland walks await you, while evenings can be spent in the company of locals in the towns many pub and restaurants, with traditional music available in selected pubs.

Kilrush - A Heritage Market Town

Kilrush is a beautiful Market town designed by the Vandeleur Family. The town's main street, Frances Street is one of largest town streets in Ireland, one hundred feet wide, named after Vandeleur the local landlord’s wife. It was started in 1821 and finished in 1864; Considine’s Bakery established in 1847 the oldest serving bakery in town. Due to its width there is ample car parking on both side of the street and just off the street is the Market square, the church on Toler Street and the marina at the bottom of the street. The Church in Kilrush, features stain glass windows by the renowned Harry Clarke.

Kilrush Marina

Kilrush Marina is a 120 berth state of the art Marina which opened in 1991, it has superb facilities for the visiting yachtsman including showers, laundry room, reception area and upstairs lounge area. The boatyard provides modern repair and alteration facilities as well as a range of back up services. Boat trips depart from the Marina to spend time in the company of the Shannon’s bottlenose dolphins and also to Scattery Island.


Scattery Island

Located on the Shannon Estuary, just off Kilrush in Co. Clare, Scattery Island offers a rare visitor experience, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. With it’s natural open spaces, build heritage, diverse plant life and wildlife, Scattery island is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.  Visitors are amazed at the wealth of historic sites, which include five Churches, a Cathedral, a magnificent Round Tower, Napoleonic War Artillery Battery and a working Lighthouse in addition to the recently restored island street village. Today the island is completely uninhabited, and you can explore it’s historic sites and experience its un-spoilt natural beauty in peace and tranquility. To visit Scattery Island visit

The Shannon Estuary 

A haven for adventure, exploration, and discovery, the Shannon Estuary is a spectacular and unspoiled stretch of water, located just off the Wild Atlantic Way. This area of remarkable beauty is where Ireland's longest river - the mighty Shannon flows meets the Atlantic Ocean. The Shannon Estuary is bordered by the counties of Clare, Limerick and Kerry and the Shannon Estuary Way Drive offers a wonderful scenic route to take when travelling to Kilrush - The area also features beautiful cliffs and coves which include the imposing Bromore and Ballybunion Cliffs. Cliff and Coast Boat Tours can be booked through West Coast RIB Adventures located at Kilrush Marina.  Website:

Vandeleur Walled Garden

Behind beautiful old stone walls lay the forgotten garden of the Vandeleur estate. Redesigned and restored to its former glory, it is now an oasis of tender and tropical plants that thrive in the areas uniquely western latitude climate. Facilities within the centre include a Coffee and Gift Shop, Conference Suite and Plant Sales area. A selection of the Heritage exhibition “Kilrush in the Landlord Times” is also on display in the Centre.


Kilrush Forest Park

Formerly known as the Vandeleur Demesne, it is east of the town. The ruined Vandeleur House burned in 1897 was demolished in 1973. The site is now a car park and picnic area. The demesne was first planted in 1712. There are many woodland walks throughout the woods and when you feel like a nice cuppa after your walk visit the coffee shop.

The Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Centre

The centre is adjacent to Kilrush Marina and is visible by its striking Dolphin mural. A range of interesting information and activities, including whale and dolphin skulls and skeletons and rubbing boards, goggle boxes and jigsaws can be found at the centre. At the centre the visitor can; listen to amazing sounds from dolphins in the Shannon estuary, see real skeletons of whales and dolphins, learn about recent research and conservation of the Shannon dolphins.

The centre is great educational experience for kids with lots of dol-fun to enjoy. Open from June to September, other times by arrangement. Email:; Website:

Cappa Pier

Cappa Pier was one of the most important factors in the development of Kilrush. The oldest section near the shore was built in 1764. It has changed little since Samuel Lewis in 1837 described it as a pier of very solid construction protected by a sea-wall of great strength. It afforded a great facility for landing passengers from the steam vessels which plied regularly between west Clare and Limerick. The custom-house building near the quay was erected in 1806.

One emigrant of note said to have departed from Cappa in the 1860’s for America was Abe Grady who was born in Ennis in the 1840’s and was Mohammed Ali’s great grandfather. The harbour was frequented by vessels trading in grain and other commodities. Its particular advantage arises from its depth of water which enabled larger vessels to berth here. Today the pier is still used very occasionally by ships bringing timber to the local mill but you are more likely to find locals and visitors alike jumping off the pier enjoying the sea at the Shannon estuary’s only blue flag beach or playing at the playground at the back of the pier.


The Kilrush Shannon Dolphin Trail guides you around the attractions and facilities in the town that are related to the bottlenose dolphins. Dolphin Trail Marker Posts with directional arrows are located at strategic points along the route. The town section of the trail is around a kilometre in length, with a further 3kms out to Aylevaroo Point.

Starting Point

The Dolphin Trail begins at the Shannon Dolphin Information Board in the town’s Market Square. The first marker post directs you down Frances Street, towards the sea, and the Millennium Park.

Millennium Park

Stop and admire the “first breath” sculpture and water-feature, depicting a mother and new-born dolphin calf by the renowned sculptor Danny Osbourne.

Now take a look into the water to see the first exhibit in the unique Floating Fin Exhibition. Look out for other models of whales, dolphins and porpoises floating in the Marina, all of which can be seen off the Clare coast. (Identification can be found at the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Centre).

The Dolphin Trail now presents you with two options. Following the marker over the bridge the Trail runs along the picturesque coastal road out to the Dolphin-watching site;

Aylevaroo Point

Head out past Cappa pier and continue along the coast road past the Rock another popular local swimming area, from here you will see Aylevaroo rising up ahead of you. At this high-point, a Dolphin-watching Information Board has been erected overlooking an area of the estuary regularly frequented by the dolphins. The experience can be enhanced by the use of binoculars.

The coastal walk from Kilrush out to Aylevaroo is possibly the best free local attraction we have in west Clare, on the route families can enjoy a blue flag beach, kids playground, numerous fishing spots, stone beaches and rock pools for the kids to hunt for crabs and small fish and views over Hog and Scattery Islands out to the mouth of the Shannon.

But if you don’t fancy a bit of a walk, stroll through the gates of the Kilrush Creek Marina.

Marina and Dolphin Centre

Dolphin-watching boat trips depart daily from the marina from May to September (weather permitting). Information and booking for dolphin watching trips is also available at the marina centre.


Oilean Pub & Restaurant

Woodland Bistro

The Potter’s Hand

Jellyfish Cafe Kilrush


Buggle’s Pub

The Galleon Inn

Dolphin Discovery,
Kilrush Marina,
Co. Clare, Ireland

Ph: 00353 85 2505512

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