Kilkee is the access point to Loop Head and the only major town on the peninsula. Its faded Victorian allure is still recognizable behind the shabby facades along its promenade. Back in its 19th-century heyday the town was connected to Limerick City by steamboat, horse and carriage, or train service, which facilitated its growth and reputation as a bathing spot across Britain and Ireland. It attracted the literati like Charlotte Brontë, Alfred Tennyson, and Aubrey de Vere along with tragic Empress Sissi of Austria and, in more recent decades, ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.
The transport between Limerick City and Kilkee is confined to the annals of history, but there’s still a strong presence of Shannonsiders visiting the town, and with good reason. It has a pristine, horseshoe-shape beach and an epic cliff-side walk from Diamond Rock, passing the Pollock holes, natural swimming pools encased in stone.
Kilkee's main attraction is its convenient location on the eastern ridge of the Loop Head Peninsula. Loop Head is County Clare's most southwesterly point and an extension of the Wild Atlantic Way driving route. This wild and rugged coastline enjoyed relative obscurity for more than a century until the Star Wars film crew arrived to capture its end-of-world coastline in The Last Jedi.
Further into Loop Head Peninsula there's a white-knuckle coastal drive with stopovers that include the Bridges of Ross, a coastal rock formation with blowholes, dolphin-watching tours, and deep-sea fishing.