We were down in Clare the last few days, using the last American Express Hotel voucher. We stayed in the Woodstock Hotel in Ennis. We had stayed there before and we knew what to expect. It's clean and modern, and it has a leisure center. I would not rate it in my top hotels, but it's not bad. And Ennis is very handy for touring around Clare. After the long drives to Connemara, the 3.5 hours on the mostly-good roads to Ennis was a breath of fresh air. We did a lot of driving around, as we wanted to see Loop Head and Fanore Beach, which are at opposite ends of the county. We also stopped in Kilkee and Lahinch. So we packed in a lot in a day's touring!
The area around Loop Head is beautiful, and almost tourist-free. For some reason, it's not on the tourist trail. Coaches don't go there (because there is no shop/restaurant at Loop Head?), and the roads are really quiet. It was raining when we got there, but it soon dried off and we went for a walk around the area - the cliffs are very high and I'm a chicken, so I stayed well on the path. I've got really afraid of heights in the last few years. The sea was very quiet, so the waves were not as spectacular as the last time we were there, but the sky was dark in the distance and the overall view was pretty dramatic.