Here, you’ll also find the remarkable Burren UNESCO Global Geopark, which brims with brilliant things to do. The vast limestone landscape is a terrific destination for off-the-beaten-track exploration and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Now is the ideal time to make the most of the great outdoors and get excited about some summer adventures. Ready to start planning? This itinerary is designed to inspire a breathtaking break in the Burren.
County Clare and its surrounds is an outdoor playground for thrill-seekers and wildlife lovers, and with its dramatic location along the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll also experience stunning scenery and spectacular sunsets.
One of the best places to begin your journey is in the Burren Centre where you’ll gain insight, information and inspiration for your Burren adventure.
Located in the heart of the historic village of Kilfenora – the ‘City of the Crosses’ - the Burren Centre has engaging exhibitions, a short film about this unique and fascinating region, as well as a craft shop and tea rooms.
It’s an ideal place to brush up on your knowledge, buy some souvenirs and fill up on tasty local food before setting off exploring.
The Burren Centre - Self-guided Tour
Burren Farm Experience - Farm Tour
Climb aboard a tractor-trailer and make yourself comfy on the straw bales as you take a trip around Cathal and Bronagh’s farmyard in the wondrous Burren National Park.
As you explore the farm, you’ll learn all about the life of a dry stock beef farmer and you’ll get to say hi to the cows. You’ll also pass historical remains and hike through the Burren to Lough Bunny to discover its unique karstic wetland system.
The tour also includes a rustic picnic made with the finest local ingredients enjoyed surrounded by this striking landscape.
Thoor Ballylee - Tour and Exhibition
As you roam around Thoor Ballylee, you’ll follow in the footsteps of W.B. Yeats. This 14th-century Hiberno-Norman tower is where the poet and his family once lived.
The top floor is known as the ‘Stranger’s Room’, and apart from the tour’s information screens, the tower remains, essentially, unchanged from when Yeats stayed here. It’s a remarkable piece of Irish architecture and when you step through the door, you are transported back in time some 600 years.
Yeats believed the tower was haunted by the ghost of a soldier. So, make sure you keep watch for any spooky happenings. And, if that doesn’t give you goosebumps, the views will. From the sculpted limestone battlements on top of Thoor Ballylee, you’ll enjoy sweeping vistas of the enchanting scenery that inspired W.B. Yeats and captured his heart.
Irish Fibre Crafters - Hands-on Experience
Feeling crafty? Want a unique souvenir from your trip? Then visit the Irish Fibre Crafters in Ardrahan, County Galway for a hands-on experience learning the traditional crafts of hand spinning and weaving.
The Irish Fibre Crafters are a passionate bunch and will show you how to turn a ball of Irish wool or alpaca wool into unique creations. From festive gifts to cute cuddly toys, to handmade furnishings for your home, there are workshops and demonstrations covering a wide range of fun activities suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
Hazel Mountain Chocolate - Tour and/or Café
For another tasty tour, take a trip to Hazel Mountain Chocolate and discover the wonders of bean to bar chocolate. A tour takes you through the stages of chocolate making from roasting to tempering, and you’ll taste the chocolate at each production stage to get an understanding of the process. At the end of the tour, your taste buds are treated to some of the delicious finished products.
Craving even more chocolate? Grab a table in the cafe and sip hot chocolate and enjoy a slice of cake before stocking up in the shop on even more goodies for the road.
Burren Perfumery - Tour/ Self Guide shop
The rocky limestone landscape of the Burren is carpeted in beautiful wildflowers and if your sense of smell has been aroused by the wonderful aromas, make a beeline to The Burren Perfumery where you can bottle your fragrant memories.
Located in the heart of The Burren this scent sanctuary hand makes perfumes, creams, soaps and cosmetics using all-natural ingredients with the landscape inspiring the fragrances. The shop is a delightful space where you can browse and buy all these wonderful creations. Trust us when we say, you’ll want to buy everything.
There are impromptu talks and demonstrations and an audiovisual guide to the flora and fauna of the Burren. Make sure you leave enough time to dine in the delightful Tea Rooms where you can tuck into a mouthwatering selection of food and drinks made using local, seasonal, organic produce.
Caherconnell Stone Fort and Sheepdog Trials
The Caherconnell Stone Fort is a marvellous piece of ancient Ireland in the heart of the Burren. Built over 1,000 years ago it is more than double the size of a regular fort.
The family-run site is located 1km south of the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen and there are audiovisual displays and self-guided tours that tell you the story of the fort. You’ll also find a craft shop and the wonderful Mountain Haven Cafe where you can refresh and revive with some hot drinks and snacks.
Whilst you are here, you can also check out some good doggos at the Caherconnell Sheepdog demonstrations. Just watch in wonder as border collies Rose, Lee and Sally follow commands and individual whistles, and complete tasks to move sheep from the fields to the visitor area. You then get to choose your favourite dog - not an easy task - and use voice commands to direct them. It’s not as easy as it looks but it is a whole lot of fun. You’d be barking mad to miss this.
Get out and stretch those legs along the lovely River Inagh. The Ennistymon River Walk is approximately three kilometres and takes you on a journey through this charming country market town. The river has numerous small rapids and the water rushes over an extensive ridge of rocks resulting in the most beautiful cascades.
When you are finished the River Walk it would be remiss to hurry through the town as it really is a smashing place to stop a while and enjoy its scenic, natural beauty, old-world charm and lively shops, pubs and restaurants.
Burren Smokehouse - Taste the Atlantic - The Salmon Experience
The salmon is an integral part of life in Ireland with the fish mentioned in folklore, depicted in artworks and even appearing on our currency. The Burren Smokehouse is a playful, immersive way to learn more about the Irish salmon. Through interactive displays and audio-visual presentations, you’ll follow this King of Fish through time and learn about the legend of the Salmon of Knowledge.
You then learn the story of the Curtin Family, discover the secrets of the smoking process used at the smokehouse, and explore the first kiln before tucking into a tasting of flavoursome Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon.
Aillwee Experience - Cave, Birds of Prey, Woodland Walk, Cheese Demonstration
At the Burren Birds of Prey Centre, you can meet some feathered predators including eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures. Oh my!
Visit the open-fronted aviaries to see the magnificent birds close up before taking your seat for the flying display which provides a rare opportunity to see many of these stunning species in dramatic free flight.
The Aillwee Experience also includes a guided tour of the dramatic underworld of the Burren. As you explore the caverns and chasms of the Aillwee cave, you can marvel at the formations and frozen waterfall and discover the hibernation chambers of the brown bears that once roamed this part of the country.
You can then enjoy a stroll along the Biodiversity Woodland Walk before taking a cheesemaking tour at the Farm Shop. On a tour, you’ll see how the delicious Burren Gold Cheese is made and you’ll taste your way through the cheeses learning about the different textures and tastes.
Burren Mountain Tours - Guided Tour
A guided driving tour with Burren Mountain Tours takes you off the beaten track to see some of the lesser-visited sites.
Your expert guide will take you over a private mountain (Murough Mountain) in the heart of the Burren and along an old Herman’s track high above the Atlantic coast. Have your cameras at the ready as there are sensational views of the Clare coastline, the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and the starkly beautiful Burren landscape. You’ll also see plenty of relics of mountain life from thousands of years ago such as forts and stone walls.
If you are peckish you can have a picnic at a very picturesque mountain top location and for added theatrics, you can book a sunset tour and watch the sun bow out over Galway Bay and dip into the Atlantic Ocean horizon. It is magical.
Cahir Bridge Garden - Private Tour
For a blooming beautiful Burren experience book a private tour of the delightful Cahir Bridge Garden.
The award-winning garden blossomed from what was once a dense hazel and blackthorn scrub into a large collection of plants, ferns and flowers such as snowdrops, daffodils, hostas, daylilies, and crocosmia. There is also a gorgeous old stone bridge with two arches, a cottage, and a section of the Caher river, ponds and water features. It’s an incredibly tranquil, idyllic place where you can bask in the beauty of nature.
Book a break this summer
From land-based activities to underground adventures, wildlife encounters to creative centres, there are many wonderful ways to experience the unique landscape and communities of this remarkable region.
So, what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to book an adventurous break in the Burren this summer.
The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.
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