Lahinch's promenade is milling with a mix of locals and visitors out to inhale the fresh Atlantic air at all times of year. Its golf course consistently ranks in the world's top 100 links, but it's the surfers in search of the big one that have put this busy beach resort on the global map. Aileen's Wave is the product of the ocean pitted against the Cliffs of Moher, resulting in the perfect aquatic colossus.

The sandy beach backed by dunes brings a tenfold increase in population during summer months, when parking is a challenge and lines spill out the doors of its restaurants.

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Fodor's Essential Ireland: with Belfast and Northern Ireland

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