The Burren Circuit, County Clare, Ireland
There is a saying in Ireland…”go where Ireland takes you”, and on this drive through a quiet little corner of County Clare you may well find yourself wondering if you have wondered right out of Ireland! This most interesting drive is not your usual Irish countryside of verdant green hills and dales, but rather a most unusual lunar-like landscape, littered by limestone outcrops. The Burren gets its’ name from the Gaelic word “boireann” which means rocky land, and in fact, limestone rocks are the prevailing feature of this landscape. Do not be tempted to leave this drive out, however, as you will be missing out on a fascinating drive through a most intriguing part of Ireland where there are plenty of unusual things to see, such as 90 megalithic tombs, Celtic high crosses, ring forts, caves, native plants and Corcomroe Abbey. It is a great detour for motorhome rentals and campervan hires doing the Wild Atlantic Way. You can stop whenever you find a good view or an interesting landmark.
Start your circuit of the Burren at the ancient little town of Kilfenora in the north west of County Clare. Before setting out on your drive you should visit the Burren Centre to pick up some info to guide you on the drive. The full Burren Circuit, Ireland will take you from Kilfenora to Lisdoonvarna, Black Head, Ballyvaughan, Killinaboy and Corofin. All along the way there are places to stop and explore or go for a walk through the interesting landscape which is far from barren, and is home to thousands of plant and animal species that are not found elsewhere.
Some of the places to visit include Ailwee cave (a great day out for the family with cave tours and a bird of prey centre), Poulnabrone dolmen, the most famous of the portal tombs in the area, and the Catherconnell Stone Fort, a well-preserved Celtic stone ring fort just a kilometre away. The Burren Perfumery is also worth a visit. While you are driving through the Burren look out for Father Ted’s House (from the TV series)…it is on a back road from Boston to Killnaboy and if you plan it ahead of time you can drop in for tea and tales.
A particularly scenic part of the total circuit is the section along the coast from Ballyvaughan to Fenore, via Black Head. Fenore beach is great for a stroll or to stop overnight. An ideal way to explore the region is in a motorhome rental or campervan hire, so that you can stop and linger whenever you get the urge!