The Burren Way is a 123km trail through the famous karst region in County Clare. Ancient tombs and structures, fantastic coastal scenery and unique flora and fauna are all found along this beautiful trail. The word ‘Burren’ comes from ‘Boireann’, an Irish word meaning ‘rocky place’. In this post, we look at some of the many Burren Way highlights.
Why not witness the majesty of the Cliffs of Moher yourself?
Take a Burren Way hiking trip!
1. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are visited by more than one million people every year, making them one of the most visited attractions in Ireland.
At their highest, they rise for 214m above the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, the Aran Islands, the Twelve Bens mountain range in Galway, the Blasket Islands in Kerry as well as Mount Brandon in Dingle can all be seen.
The Cliffs are home to almost 40,000 pairs of breeding birds, including puffins, razorbills and kittiwakes.
While the cliffs are host to over one million visitors each year, they stretch for 8km meaning you are sure to find a quiet spot to enjoy the view.
You can walk the full length of the Cliffs of Moher on the Burren Way section from Lahinch/Liscannor to Doolin.
2. Aillwee Cave
Amongst all of the caves in the Burren, Aillwee is the oldest. It has been dated to be more than 350,000 years old.
The caves were once home to brown bears as many bones have been found here.
The bears became extinct in Ireland due to over-hunting so their bones are the only trace you’ll find of them in Ireland.
A fast-moving river has subsided and left almost 1km of passages underground, showcasing some interesting geological features such as stalactites and stalagmites.
Aillwee Cave is located off the Burren Way trail, 3.5km from Ballyvaughan. In addition, there’s also the option on the Burren Way to visit the very impressive Doolin Cave just outside Doolin village.
3. Caherconnell Stone Fort
Caherconnell Stone Fort was built 1,500 years ago and is one of the best-preserved stone forts in the Burren.
The structure is surrounded by a 3-metre high wall and is 45 metres in diameter.
Experience the fascinating sheepdog demonstrations and witness the connection between farmer and dog.
Excavations are ongoing at this site during June, July and August and new evidence about what life was like back then is continually found.
Caherconnell Stone Fort is located on the Burren Way walk from Ballyvaughan to Carran.
4. Poulnabrone Dolmen
Poulnabrone Dolmen gives a fantastic insight into the history of the Burren. 22 people were found to be buried here, spanning over six centuries.
The bones of the people buried here show that manual labour was the way of life. Conflict is also evident as the head of an arrow was found embedded in a hip bone.
Evidence shows that cattle, sheep and goats were farmed here, and even ceral was grown in this karst landscape.
The dolmen has two large stands which stand upright marking either side of the entrance. Atop this, another large rock is laid across them. It is Ireland’s oldest megalithic monument.
Poulnabrone Dolmen is located close to Caherconnell Stone Fort on the Burren Way walk from Ballyvaughan to Carran
This picturesque village is known for the art and craft products that are still produced in the traditional way.
The Burren College of Art, an important art school, is located on the site of a sixteenth-century castle. Be inspired by the creativity that is irrevocably in the air here!
6. The Burren National Park
This highlight naturally speaks for itself: Burren National Park is what it’s all about on this hiking tour!
Explore the fascinating limestone landscape famous for its unique geological features. Hikers imagine themselves on an alien planet thanks to the vast fields of gray rock formations.
This cute Irish seaside town is the starting point of the Burren Way and the perfect place for an atmospheric walk on the beach!
The elongated beach at Lahinch is popular with surfers, swimmers and walkers. Breathe in the fresh air of the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy this colorful coastal town.
8. Black Head Loop
This is one of the most beautiful legs of the Burren Way and one of the best routes for hiking in Ireland.
Hike small hill paths with several phenomenal vantage points overlooking the Aran Islands and Galway Bay – an undiscovered hiking paradise on the Burren Way!
9. Flora and fauna
The Burren may seem gray and lifeless from a distance, but nothing could be further from the truth.
This small area is home to 1,100 of Ireland’s 1,400 plant species! Look for the colorful orchids and gentians that emerge from the limestone cliffs!
Wild goats, hares and foxes are also regularly spotted in the area; in addition, dozens of bird species live around the cliffs of Moher.
This welcoming town is a base for anyone visiting the Burren and Cliffs of Moher, but there are plenty of reasons to stay an extra night in Doolin.
For example, it’s one of Ireland’s ultimate destinations to hear traditional music – there’s a pub every night for singing and dancing!
We hope that you enjoyed this guide to The Burren Way – Trail Highlights.
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