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Doolin – Endless charm and character packed into one small village

Location - Doolin is right on the west coast of the Republic of Ireland, opposite the Aran Islands, and is somewhere between Lahinch to the South and Lisdoonvarna to the North off of the N67 in County Clare. On my west coast road trip I started at Westport and made my way down to Letterfrack, then onto Doolin and back up to Galway. It was a little bit out of the way, but Ireland is not a huge country so the travelling distance between any of the destinations on the west coast is relatively short. The road leading down into Doolin is quite steep and winding so be careful if you are in a hire car.

Map showing location of Doolin

The village - There is not much to the village and you should never get lost or struggle to find anything. There is literally one main street (The R479) that runs through the village with several small streets running off. There are some pubs, shops and BnB's either end of this road and it's definitely worth exploring it all – I had a meal one end of the village and then walked back down to the other for a drink in the evening.

Fisher street in Doolin

Accommodation - I stopped in the Doolin Hostel which is an ideally placed hostel just off of the main road through Doolin. The hostel has mixed dorms and the room I stayed in was really good quality with clean beds and sheets and also an individual locker/storage under each bed. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful and there was a full buffet breakfast provided and also a small shop where you could buy snacks and drinks. For £12 per night I thought this was really good value and I would definitely stop there again.

Website - http://doolinhostel.ie/

Food - For my evening meal I had a walk down to the other end of Doolin, away from the hostel and enjoyed some good quality food in Fitzpatrick's bar. The bar had a really traditional feel which I like and was quite busy too with plenty of people enjoying s drink or a meal. I had a couple of pints and a Steak – The steak was presented on an individual grey slate and the chips were brought out in a small metal basket. It was delicious and the presentation was fantastic, definitely worth paying a little extra for the quality. This pub had some live music too and I would have happily stayed there for the night had I not wanted to explore the village.

Drink/Nightlife - The nightlife in Doolin was fantastic and for me one of the most memorable aspects of my time there. I had heard beforehand about the live music scene in Doolin and the lively pubs so I went with high hopes. I went in the famous Gus O'Connor's pub which was on the main street just past the bridge and stream. The pub was a typical old style pub – dark, full of wooden beams, and decorated with various trinkets and mementos, I really love pubs styled like this. I had several drinks at the bar and as the night progressed some local musicians struck up a tune together in one of the booths – It was fascinating to watch them play; One person would start off and then more and more people would join in, the music was so lively and fun, I could have listened to it all night. Below is a couple of videos of some of the music so you can gain an idea of the atmosphere in this magical place:

Sights/to do - In my opinion there isn't a great deal to do in Doolin itself – you can explore the town and visit the various craft shops, and enjoy a drink or three in one of the bars, but other than that you will be wanting to travel out on day trips to visit the surrounding areas and sights. The most prominent are undoubtedly the cliffs of Moher, Galway and the Aran Islands. I would say that Doolin is to be treated more as a base to explore the west coast as opposed to an outright tourist destination itself.

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I heart this place because

Doolin is fantastic, it's possibly the smallest village I have stayed in during my travels but I really enjoyed it – The surrounding scenery, the pubs, the live music and the hostel I stayed in all made for a memorable and fun experience.

Dont miss out on

Gus O'Connor's Pub – You MUST go in here, even if you are not a drinker, it's not about the alcohol at this famous pub, it's about the atmosphere, the people and the live music. I have explained more about this in one of the sections to the left, but it really is a lively, energetic and fun place.

Information and resources for Doolin - links will open in a new page

Doolin on WikiTravel

Really useful information on Doolin including sights & travel info - Link

Doolin Hostel

Recommended hostel I stayed in during my time in Doolin - Link

Cliffs of Moher

Official tourism site for the immense Cliffs of Moher - Link

The Wild Atlantic Way

Official site detailing the route of the Wild Atlantic Way - Link

Photos taken using a Canon EOS-M with 18-55mm Lens

Doolin is a charming village to photograph with its quaint multi-coloured buildings, luscious green landscapes and picture perfect river and bridge. If you have good weather you will take some great, clear photos and the surrounding coastal areas are fantastic too. Make sure you have a camera that takes decent low light photos if you want to capture some of the pub atmosphere, or have a phone or camera with a good quality video caption on to record some of the live music.

Cliffs just off of the coast at Doolin Doolin Hostel, a really good value and quality hostel Stream running through the centre of Doolin The famous Gus O'Connor's Pub on fisher street Fisher street with shops and cafe View looking down onto Doolin and the surrounding countryside One of the winding roads leading into Doolin
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