‘Burren’ is derived from the Irish word boireann meaning ‘place of stone’, and the name could not be more apt. There is no part of Ireland where rock so obviously dominates the landscape as it does in this corner of County Clare.
The Burren covers an area of some 260 square kilometres. Famous for its bare limestone pavements dissected by deep crevices and traversed by countless stone walls. Almost devoid of trees and surface water, it has been described as ‘lunar’ in its appearance. An ancient limestone plateau lies beneath which is a labyrinth of pot-holes, caves, streams and lakes. This unusual and apparently hostile environment is a botanist’s paradise as around ¾ of Ireland’s plant species are found here. This is more than any other region.
The Burren Self Guided Hike begins at Doolin on the west coast of Clare. After visiting the Cliffs of Moher, which fall 200m sheer into the Atlantic, you follow the Burren Way to Doolin. The following day’s walk, also along the Burren Way, brings you to the village of Ballyvaughan on Clare’s north coast. You will also explore the barren karst landscape to the east of Ballyvaughan on your Burren Self Guided Hike.
Day 1: Arrival in Doolin
Arrive to Doolin where you will be spending your first night. On arrival at your first accommodation, your hostess will give you your full Detailed Information pack. She will also be able to recommend some of the excellent local restaurants and suggest some of the pubs where you will find great traditional Irish music.
Access for this holiday is by a taxi or bus connection from Galway City or Shannon Airport to Doolin. This service is available all year round.
Day 2: Cliffs of Moher Hike
From your guesthouse you will walk to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. From here you follow the “Burren Way” along the cliff tops to Hags Head and return by the same route, but enjoying a completely different panorama. Once back at the visitor centre, you will then be transferred back to your accommodations.
Walk Details: Distance: 16kms. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: Level, descending at end of day. Some road walking, muddy and rocky grass tracks, can be wet underfoot. Boots essential. Walking close to exposed cliff edge.
Day 3: Ballinlacken Castle to Ballyvaughan
You will be driven a short distance from your guesthouse to the start of your walk at Ballinalacken Castle. From here you follow the “Burren Way” along old green roads into the heart of the Burren, with wonderful limestone pavements and walls all around you. There are fantastic views over Galway Bay and the Aran Islands as you continue on, passing Fermoyle Chapel, to Lismacsheedy. Old ring forts can be found along the way as you continue on past the impressive Newtown Castle and finish in Ballyvaughan. Overnight in Ballyvaughan.
Walk Details: Distance: 20 kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Ascent: 250m. Some road walking, muddy and rocky grass tracks, can be wet underfoot. Boots essential.
Day 4: Green Road
You will be driven a short distance from your guesthouse to the start of your walk at “Green Road” near Fanore Beach. From here you follow the old green road into the heart of the Black Head mountain, with wonderful limestone pavements and stone walls all around. There are fantastic views over Galway Bay and the Aran Islands as you continue on, over Gleninagh Mountain. We join the Burren Way to drop down into the Caher Valley, climbing again to pass under/around Slieve Elva and finish the day’s walk at Craggagh. Collection and return back to Doolin is arranged. Overnight Doolin. Doolin is the ideal location for exploring the beauty that is Clare. There are many varied attractions, with breathtaking scenery, making this a truly magical location to visit.
Walk Details: Distance: 18 kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Ascent: 320m. Little road walking, rocky grass tracks, open hill top, limestone pavement. Boots essential.
Day 5: Departure - After breakfast, depart for onward journey, either Airport or further holiday. All transfer details/information/details provided if required. Private transfer arranged if required.