The Burren is an area of County Clare which is one of the most unusual in Ireland. It is a karst limestone landscape which is equal parts otherworldly and beautiful. Much of the area the Burren Way passes through is covered by the Burren National Park as it is a region of great geological and biological importance. The unique limestone pavements where once the sedimentary floor of a tropical sea which covered the area 350 million years ago. The structure of these pavements and an unusually temperate climate make the area home to a vast array of flora and fauna. The Burren is highly unusual in that Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants grow side by side, some of which are extremely rare. The coastline along The Burren is also some of the most rugged and beautiful in the country and features the world famous Cliffs of Moher. Much of this coastline features as part of the Burren Way.
The Burren Way is a 114km marked walking trail which begins in Lahinch, Co. Clare and finishes in Corofin, Co. Clare. Along the way the trail follows quiet country lanes, coastal footpaths and green roads. Along with the sights of the natural environment you will also see remains of Irelands Neolithic and early Christian history.
From the surfing hotspot of Lahinch the walk will bring you along the beach to the village of Liscannor. Liscannor is notable for being the birthplace of John Philip Holland who is regarded as being the father of the modern submarine. His design was used for the first submarine which was commissioned by the US Navy, the USS Holland.
From here you will follow country lanes until you reach the beginning of the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk. This 13km path will take you along the tops of the cliffs and offer opportunities to soak in the stunning sea vistas and will also offer the possibility of spotting any number of sea birds. This path brings you to the village of Doolin which is world famous for its Irish traditional music culture. You will not have to travel far here to enjoy an authentic Irish session.
After Doolin the way moves inland to allow you to experience the full rugged beauty of The Burren. The green roads of the area are perfect for walking as they offer good sturdy trails while being completely free of traffic. As you travel north you will pass the village of Fanore. The caravan park here may be familiar to fans of the TV show Father Ted. You will have great views out to the Aran Islands before the trail swings eastwards at Black Head lighthouse and onto the southern coast of Galway Bay. After a stay in the lovely coastal town of Ballyvaughan, the trail will move inland for the final time as it makes its way to the town of Corofin which sits right on the edge of the limestone pavement landscape.
The Burren is reputed to have been a place of great inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien when developing his ideas for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s not quite Middle Earth but it is a landscape of breath-taking and unusual sights.
For more information about the Burren Way and other holidays in Ireland, contact our travel specialists