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The Fisher Street area of Doolin
The Fisher Street area of Doolin
Doolin is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°00′58″N 9°22′37″W / 53.016°N 9.377°W / 53.016; -9.377Coordinates: 53°00′58″N 9°22′37″W / 53.016°N 9.377°W / 53.016; -9.377
CountyCounty Clare
20 m (70 ft)
Irish Grid ReferenceR066965

Doolin (Irish: Dúlainn)[1] is a coastal village in County Clare, Ireland, on the Atlantic coast. It is southwest of the spa town of Lisdoonvarna and 4 miles from the Cliffs of Moher. It is a noted centre of traditional Irish music, which is played nightly in its pubs, making it a popular tourist destination. There are numerous nearby archaeological sites, many dating to the Iron Age and earlier. Doonagore Castle and Ballinalacken Castle are also in the area. The area was officially classified as part of the West Clare Gaeltacht (an Irish-speaking community) prior to the 1950s,[2] and maintains a connection with Irish-speaking areas - including via its maritime connection with the Aran Islands.

Amenities and tourism[edit]

Evening at Doolin Harbour, with the Cliffs of Moher and Hag's Head visible in the distance


The village of Doolin does not have a defined centre, comprising a number of "scattered" sections:[3][4]

  • "The Harbour" is the departing point for boat trips to the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher. There is also a campsite nearby
  • "Fisher Street" has O'Connor's Pub and several shops and hostels.
  • "Fitz's Cross" has a hostel, campsite, two new hotels and another pub which opened in 2006
  • "Roadford" has McGann's and McDermott's pubs, four restaurants, two hostels and a number of B&Bs. Trips to Doolin Cave are also run from here.

The Aille River runs from the hills of the Burren down past Doolin to meet the sea. The small Crab Island is a short distance out from Doolin Harbour, barren except for the remains of a 19th-century stone constabulary outpost.

The Great Stalactite at Doolin Cave

Doolin Cave[edit]

The Great Stalactite, measuring 7.3 metres, was discovered in 1952. Doolin Cave claims that it is recognised as being the longest stalactite in the Northern hemisphere.[5] Owing to environmental protection measures, concurrent visitor numbers are limited to 20 per tour.[6]


Doolin is a noted surfing destination. A break which generates Ireland's biggest wave, 'Aill na Searrach', is just off the Cliffs of Moher. The wave features in the movie Waveriders.[citation needed] Crab Island is also a local surfing spot.[citation needed]

Rock climbing[edit]

As well as serving as an accommodation centre for visitors to the major limestone rock climbing area of Ailladie (most climbs at or above E1 5b), a short 8 km drive away, Doolin has its own less-popular sea-cliff rock-climbing area, with several routes recorded.[7][8] Like Ailladie, the cliffs are single-pitch steep limestone; however the rock is not of a high quality, the cliffs are tidal, and access is not as easy. There are also several smaller inland crags scattered throughout the Burren region (e.g. Ballyryan, Murroughkilly, Aill na Cronain and Oughtdarra),[8] and some good bouldering to be found along the coast, most notably at Lackglass, which was first bouldered in April, 2005.[9]


Pubs in Doolin include Fitzpatricks, Gus O'Connor's, McDermott's, and McGann's. The Micho Russell Festival Weekend is held each year after the last Friday in February.



Ferry approaching Doolin Pier
A ferry approaching Doolin Pier

Doolin is one of three places (Galway and the village of Rossaveal on the northwest shore of Galway Bay are the others) with ferry services to the Aran Islands, which are visible from the town. A ferry service also brings tourists from Doolin Pier to the base of the Cliffs of Moher.


As Doolin is close to the Cliffs of Moher, a bus service between Galway and Ennis calls at both Doolin and the cliffs in each direction. Bus Éireann route 350 links Doolin to Ennis, Ennistymon, Cliffs of Moher, Lisdoonvarna, Fanore, Kinvara and Galway. There are a number of journeys each way daily. Onward rail and bus connections are available at Ennis and Galway.


Two regional roads serve the village. The R479 connects the village both with coastal areas to the north and with Lisdoonvarna to the east. The R459 connects the village to the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren Way and the Inisheer ferry port.


Musicians associated with Doolin, who have lived there or played in its pubs, include Micho Russell and his brothers Packie and Gussie, Sharon Shannon, Davy Spillane, and Steve Wickham of The Waterboys.

Popular culture[edit]

Doolin is the main setting for the 2007 PlayStation 3 game Folklore. According to the game's storyline, the Netherworld, the world of the dead is a realm that can only be accessed from one place in the world, the sea-side village of Doolin.

The Celtic band Gaelic Storm has a fiddle tune which references the town called "The Devil Went Down to Doolin" (presumably a play on the popular song The Devil Went Down to Georgia) on their album Herding Cats.

Just outside Doolin above Doonagore Castle

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ While the Irish Placenames Commission entry does not propose a clear meaning for Dúlainn, a derivation from dubh (black) and lann (land) is mentioned
  2. ^ Sean Spellissy (2003). A History of County Clare. Gill & Macmillan. p. 96. ISBN 9780717134601. Doolin was a Gaeltacht area into the 1940s
  3. ^ "Doolin". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 1 May 2022. Without a centre, this scattered settlement consists of three smaller linked villages
  4. ^ "Doolin Pier (Ballaghaline Quay)". Retrieved 1 May 2022. the scattered village of Doolin [..] comprises several parts. 'The Harbour' area, above the pier [..] 'Fisher Street' which has O'Connor's Pub [..] 'Fitz's Cross' [..] and 'Roadford'
  5. ^ "Doolin Cave". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  6. ^ "Doolin Cave Homepage". Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  7. ^ Peter Owens (2008). "Doolin Bouldering" (PDF). Mountaineering Council of Ireland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b Peter Owens, ed. (2008), Climbs in the Burren and Aran Islands, Mountaineering Ireland, ISBN 978-0-902940-21-5
  9. ^ "harringtonp - Doolin Bouldering at Lackglass". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  10. ^ "McGann memorial service on Oct. 17". Irish Echo. March 1998. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  11. ^ "McGanns Pub Website". Retrieved 3 June 2012.