Ballyvaughan village is a lovely little village on the road out to Doolin in north Clare. Voted one of the 10 best road trips in the world by Condé Nast Traveller it never disappoints. Picture postcard pretty, it nestles in the heart of the Burren, against a sheer backdrop of mountains all the way out to magnificent Black Head.
Only over the road from where I live it’s where I go for the paper on Saturday mornings or for a wander around the farmers market during the summer, which also includes an excellent craft fair in the Old School every Sunday. Village life centres around the Spar shop which is well stocked with a great deli counter and good wine list. The resident ‘fat cat’ lounges around outside cadging titbits from tourists waiting for the bus to Doolin.
Ballyvaughan though small, has a bit of everything pubs, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and even an international college of art. There are plenty of gift shops including Quinns (traditional crafts) and Lillimar(more contemporary) with nice jewellery and home items. Ballyvaughan is a kind of sybarite heaven, not least for the locals? A small perfect beach at Bishopsquarter (that’s never packed) the gorgeous Fear Gorta (hungry grass)Cottage Tearooms where believe me you will never go hungry. And all of this in the rampant floral paradise that is the Burren in early summer when alpine flowers such as blue gentians, mountain avens blend with wild orchids and geraniums. A new festival celebrating this unique phenomenon, the Burren in Bloom takes place the whole month of May with plenty of free walks and talks among the flowers.
For more things to do and see in and around Ballyvaughan visit www.irelands-hidden-gems.com/ballyvaughan.htmlSusan Byron
author of http://www.irelands-hidden-gems.com/index.html