It takes less than two hours to drive from Nenagh to the Burren in Co. Clare. At a recent launch for the Cliffs of Moher Geopark (www.burrengeopark.ie) in Lisdoonvarna, I was reminded just how much this region has to offer. Geologically this region has a barren limestone landscape that is home to an amazing amount of flora including Arctic and Alpine flowers. There are caves such as Doolin (www.doolincave.ie) and Aillwee Cave (www.aillweecave.ie) to explore and of course the majestic Cliffs of Moher (www.cliffsofmoher.ie) are also a spectacle to behold. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in the Burren and ecotourism is thriving (www.burrenecotourism.com) . Visit the Burren Outdoor Education Centre (www.burrenoec.com) - enjoy a range of activities from rock climbing and kayaking to hill walking. You can go surfing in Fanore at the Aloha Surf School (www.surfschool.tv) or go sea kayaking in North Clare (www.northclareseakayaking.com). Be sure to check out a range of walks and hiking experiences as well– www.mullaghmore-burren.com, www.burrenguidedwalks.com, or www.heartofburrenwalks.com.
When it comes to food in the Burren this is something I know a bit about and while I cannot list all the amazing places to eat here I want to tell you about a few I have experienced. In Lisdoonvarna be sure to stop by the Burren Smokehouse (www.burrensmokehouse.ie) here you can purchase delicious Irish salmon along with other products – steps down the road is the Roadside Tavern where you can taste a range of delicious beers from the Burren micro brewery and also enjoy a delicious simple lunch of smoked salmon (www.roadsidetavern.ie). In the opposite direction is the Wild Honey Inn (www.wildhoneyinn.com), I stayed here for two nights during Slow Food Clare (http://www.slowfoodclare.com/) a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed not only the meals but also our lovely room. I also enjoyed a fantastic 6 course meal during Slow Food Clare at the Hotel Doolin (www.hoteldoolin.ie) and I recently visited Kilkshanny House (www.kilshannyhouse.ie) which has a wonderful history is a lively place for music.
Other places I recommend is the Burren Perfumery (http://www.burrenperfumery.com/) and certainly to take a drive through the landscape and see the Poulnabrone Dolmen (http://www.burrenforts.ie/mainj/dolmen.htm) an iconic landmark in the Burren.
A trip to the Burren is doable as a day trip but you will find that there’s plenty to entice you to stay longer.
Lisa McGee is the Creative Director of ISLE magazine – an on-line only magazine promoting Ireland around the world. www.islemagazine.com.
This blog post is from a Travel Column she writes for The Guardian newspaper in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary called Travel ISLE.