The Burren is a very special place of rugged beauty with stunning landscapes and a rich archeological and cultural heritage. Make sure to take the time to explore the area while you are staying in Doolin.
The Burren is approximately 350 sq. km in size and is designated a Special Area of Conservation to protect the unique habitat. It is an archaeological wonderland of castles and dolmens, marking ancient burial and worship locations, old ruins and prehistoric sites. In addition to those, rare plants and flowers grow between the cracked crevices in this rocky limestone landscape. These plants are not endemic to Ireland but strive in this beautiful, natural and peaceful setting. It looks somewhat like a moonscape from afar but peek into the fissures of the rocks and you’ll discover a multitude of miniature flowers such as mountain-avens, gentians, bloody cranesbill and many varieties of orchids.
The Burren Centre, Kilfenora
The centre is located in the village of Kilfenora in the heart of the Burren. This community run visitor’s centre is an educational and informative stop on any tour of the region. It provides a lot of historical information and presented in an interesting display. Moreover, the centre also celebrates the Irish traditional music heritage of the village with the Kilfenora Ceili Band Parlour. After that make sure to visit the gift shop and the café which serves good wholesome food at reasonable prices.
No visit to the Burren is complete without going to Poulnabrone Dolmen (meaning the hole of the sorrows). This Neolithic portal burial tomb is one of the most famous and photographed monuments in Ireland and is accessible via a gravel track. The Dolmen predates the pyramids. There is a number of information boards which tell you all about the area and the Dolmen and there’s also staff on site to offer good information. In short, it is a little walk back in time and there is no charge to visit.
BURREN COAST ROAD – BLACKHEAD LIGHTHOUSE
This magnificent and beautiful coastal drive from Ballyvaughan to Fanore and south toward Doolin along the R477 is unique and hauntingly beautiful. The huge boulders sit atop the limestone pavement of the Burren as you drive by on the narrow roads. The mountains of Connemara, including the Twelve Bens, are also visible across Galway Bay. And if you look the other way there is the splendor of the Cliffs of Moher and the Kerry mountains. Amid the scenery of steep limestone mountains take a moment to park and walk around the lighthouse which is beautiful in it’s simplicity. Take the time to be at one with nature.
The Burren Perfumery, located in the heart of the Burren, creates its artisan range of soaps, creams, perfumes and candles using the best natural and organic ingredients. It’s a piece of paradise, far off the beaten track and has an audio visual showing about the plants that grow in the region. After your visit to the shop, please spend some time in their beautiful organic show garden which is a piece of poetry. To conclude your visit, have a treat in their coffee shop where the produce is organic served on biodegradable plates.