The Burren in County Clare is a National Conservation Area, an amazing limestone escarpment, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. Burren is an English word, derived from the gaelic “boireann”, a rocky place. But the Burren is shaped more by water than by rock. Underground, there are thousands of streams and rivers. It exists because it is perfectly balanced, at the edge of the sea, at the end of the land, made of rock that was once eroded from above and is now being eroded from below. The Waymarked Burren Way starts in Lahinch and finishes in Ballyvaughan. We have chosen the better sections of the route and village locations for each overnight stay. You will also have a chance to visit one of the Aran Islands on your free day in Doolin, also the home of Irish traditional music.
Day 1: Liscannor
Arrival to Shannon or Galway airport. Public transport on your own to Liscannor via Ennis and Lahinch. Overnight in Liscannor
Day 2: Liscannor - Cliffs of Moher - Doolin
Walk along the coastal path overlooking Liscannor Bay and through the farmlands of Kilconnell to reach the cliff path at Hag's Head. Dramatic scenery unfolds as you walk above the sheer cliffs that fall 100m to the Atlantic. Pass the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and follow the green road into Doolin village, the home of traditional Irish music. Overnight in Doolin.
Walking: 19km / 5 hours, +185m
Day 3: Free day in Doolin
Enjoy a day in Doolin village, its traditional fishing atmosphere and ancient burial grounds keep its presence in the past. There are many archaeological sites to explore – bicycles are available for hire and the limestone escarpment that is the Burren is waiting to be explored.
Or consider a boat trip to one of the Aran Islands to explore cliffs and limestone formations and the unique culture of island dwellers. Miles of dry stone walls and centuries of history await you! Walking is available in a circular route of 10 / 14km on the Aran Islands Way. Overnight in Doolin.
Day 4: Doolin - Fanore
Today's route climbs onto the Burren plateau via the old road with wonderful views of the Atlantic coast to the west and east to the scarred limestone hills. You will pass under the peak of Slieve Elva – the highest point in this area at 344 m, before descending the Caher valley, one of the only rivers above ground! This section offers views North and West of craggy coastline and unusual "striped" lulls caused by layering of limestone. Fanore is a gorgeous coastal settlement; golden sands, undulating dunes, stone walls, flagstone rocks.
Walking: 20 km / 6 hours, +285m
Day 5: Free day in Fanore
Today is free for a number of options. A circular walk around Fanore village climbs to 1st century Caher Dún Irghus and Gleninagh Mountain.
Walking: 12 km / 4 hours, +317m.
A gentler route takes you along the coast following dunes and beaches to the Fanore lighthouse. Then there's always the chance of an Atlantic swim!
Overnight in Fanore
Day 6: Fanore - Ballyvaughan
Back into limestone country for the last walk to Ballyvaughan village. Over the Khyber Pass, before descending by the Rathborney River to restored 15th century Newtown Castle a stronghold of the O'Loughlin clan. Ballyvaughan is a sheltered fishing port looking across Galway Bay. Overnight in the village of Ballyvaughan.
Walking: 16 km / 4 hours, +240m
Day 7: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast. Depart Ballyvaughan by bus for Galway.
Practical information: ► The Burren Way is a short walking route of 77km, which follows old tracks and green roads. Much of the route follows close to the Atlantic coastline, most tracks are dry or rocky paths. It is well signposted with brown Burren Way signposts and trail markers. 35% of this tour is on tarmac or minor road surface. ►You will be staying in comfortable guesthouses and farmhouses, most rooms have en suite facilities. You can enjoy evening meals (18-25 EUR) in the guesthouses in some locations, but the hostess needs to be notified beforehand. Picnic lunches can be bought on spot (6-8 EUR per person) ►The most convenient airports for this tour are Shannon and Galway. From Shannon Airport you travel to Ennis bus station, where you catch a bus to Ennistymon and Liscannor. A Bue Eireann Service no 350 operates daily between Galway and Limerick via the Burren coastal route. You can also fly to Dublin, then take the train to Limerick, another train to Ennis, and then a bus to Liscannor. You can check all the train journeys: www.irishrail.ie Bus/train schedules can be seen here.
Recommended travel period of the year: May - September
Nessesary equipment: waterproof hiking boots and walking socks (with a change of socks in rucksack), small rucksack/day pack, 1 x water bottle with 1 litre capacity, insect repellent, sun glasses, sun hat, sun block/cream, compass, torch, first-aid kit, waterproof jacket and trousers