Driving north along the coast road from Quilty in west Clare, the Armada Hotel comes into view jutting out over a headland and soon below, the white horses crashing onto the sand at the wow-some Spanish Point beach come into view.
Passing through before the season began, we decided on a pit stop to revive ourselves with a beach walk and an alfresco picnic lunch. Arriving at the car park just at the top of the beach we spotted a few cars parked out towards the sea with people sitting in, looking out, enjoying the view and no doubt giving themselves some time to think. They were the sensible ones.
The white foam and spray of the crashing waves and the sound of the wind whipping at the car gave us an indication of the conditions outside our warm car! We got wrapped up, and if it is your first time to experience the Wild Atlantic Way, then I can’t emphasise enough the importance of layers! Layers of the variety where you are prepared for a sunny day (sunglasses and top), a fresh day (+ fleece), a cool day (top + fleece + warm jacket), or an all out wild day (all of the above + possible thermal + wind and waterproof jacket, secure and warm hat, gloves and snood/scarf). On this occasion it was, top, fleece, jacket, hat, gloves and sunnies weather!
Setting off down the steps, it was just us, dog walkers and brave families well wrapped up against the elements. This blue flag beach was the perfect spot to take a break from an incredibly picturesque coastal drive and would surely blow the cobwebs away with the fresh breezes blowing on shore from the ocean!
Whilst we had the beach pretty much to ourselves, Spanish Point isn’t always so quiet with plenty of people decamping from surrounding areas to mobile homes and holiday homes for the summer holidays. Surf schools pop up and the beach is dotted with surfers of all ages and abilities, lifeguards, boogie boarders and swimmers.
Coming back to the car we passed a plaque commemorating the visit of the King & Queen of Spain to this area. An information board told the grim story of how in 1588 as part of the Spanish Armada, ships wrecked in the bay and those that did survive, were executed by the High Sheriff at the time, once they made land, giving this area it’s name.
Finishing off our road trip break, we decided the locals had the right idea and so we hopped into the car to to take in the magnificent sunset from the warmth of our car while enjoying a somewhat more sheltered picnic of local Burren smokehouse salmon and brown bread from home!
If you are passing through Clare on the way to catch the Doolin 2 Aran ferry, you will see that there is so much to see & do in this area. Every time I visit, I’m making a list of all I want to see on my next trip here. In the meantime, you can read about what you can get up to on the Aran Island’s largest island, Inis Mór here: