The Burren Landscape2
The Burren Landscape2

Burren Eco Tourism Network Wins Award

Lonely Planet, in its selection of up-and-coming sustainable tourist attractions around the world, has chosen the Burren Eco-Tourism Network as one of its “Best in Travel Picks for 2021.”

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The attraction was the only Irish group to be singled out by the global travel authority.

green fields 6 foodie destinations in Clare
An aerial view of the Burren region in Co. Clare. Photo: Nick Fox.

More than 30 global enterprises were chosen for the annual list, which takes a departure from lists in previous years that highlighted places only.

This year’s list includes the people and communities that are transforming the travel industry, especially as it relates to sustainability and diversity, factors that Lonely Planet CEO Luis Cabrera believes will change the future of travel.

In a video shared on the Lonely Planet website, Burren Centre representative Frances Connole says the goal of all businesses in the network is to encourage visitors to experience the uniqueness of the Burren in a “more controlled fashion.”

The Burren Centre is one of the founding members of the Burren Eco-Tourism Network.

It consists of approximately 70 local enterprises committed to ecotourism in the Burren area, which includes the Cliffs of Moher Geopark.

Members include everything from hotels to tour companies to food purveyors, as well as others interested in providing sustainable tourism opportunities for visitors.

What Can Visitors Expect When Touring The Burren Area?

The Burren Centre is for many the first stop on a tour of this special part of Ireland.

An audiovisual display and an accompanying exhibition introduce tourists to the unique archaeology and ecology of the area that is made up of a limestone landscape formed approximately 320 million years ago.
Flowers growing on the Burren landscape, where you will find tourist attractions within the award-winning Burren Eco Tourism Network. Photo: Powerofforever for Getty Images Signature.

In a “Walk Through Time,” visitors learn how the Burren landscape was formed and why rare Alpine, Arctic, and Mediterranean plants can be found here as a result.

There are plenty of Megalithic tombs and other monuments to be found in the area, too, including the well-known Poulnabrone Dolmen, as well as ring forts that speak to an ancient civilization.

From Dublin: Cliffs of Moher, Burren & Galway Full-Day Tour

The Cliffs of Moher

This is possibly the most visited place in Ireland, with approximately 1.5 million a year.

The Cliffs of Moher rise to approximately 702 feet (214 meters) at their highest point and spread out for 8 km (5 miles) above the Atlantic Ocean.

The cliffs are a Signature Discovery Point along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

cliffs 7 of the best tour companies in Ireland
The Cliffs Of Moher in Co. Clare. Photo: Getty Images.

You can see the Aran Islands from the cliffs, as well as the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges in County Galway, in addition to Loop Head in Co. Clare to the south.

The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre is usually the first stop for most people visiting the area for the first time.

Constructed in 2007 into a nearby hillside, the center includes a number of exhibitions that bring the story of the cliffs to life. The interactive media displays cover the geology, history, and flora, and fauna of the cliffs.

A large multimedia screen shows a birds-eye view of the cliffs and an underwater video shows the caves that lie several hundred feet below.

sunset over the ocean with a cliff tower nearby the Cliffs of Moher
O'Brien's Tower on the Cliffs of Moher. Photo: Niall Cosgrove for Failte Ireland/Tourism Ireland.

A popular landmark along the cliffs is O’Brien’s Tower, which marks their highest point.

The tower was built in 1835 by a local landlord and Member of Parliament Sir Cornelius O’Brien as an observation tower for English tourists visiting the area.
You can get a different perspective of the cliffs by taking a cruise from nearby Doolin.

The hour-long excursion is available from mid-March through the end of October. Audio commentary is offered in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.

Take an Ireland Villa Vacation with Aer Lingus

Ailwee Caves and Birds of Prey Centre

About 28 km (17 miles) away from the cliffs is the Ailwee Caves and Birds of Prey Centre.

The Ailwee Caves were once hibernation spots for Ireland’s extinct brown bear population. Thirty-five-minute tours are available that previous visitors have found fascinating and informative.
A Peregrine Falcon at the Birds of Prey Centre in Co. Clare. Photo: David Hennessy for Getty Images Pro.

The Birds of Prey Centre, which received the “Best Entertaining Team Award” from The Irish Hospitality Awards in 2019, is home to one of the largest and most varied collections of birds of prey in Ireland, including eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, and vultures.

Enjoy dynamic flying displays and learn about the biology and conservation of the birds, as well as the ancient art of falconry.

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The Doolin Cave

Situated on the western edge of The Burren, the Doolin Cave contains one of the world’s longest known free-hanging stalactites.

It is reported to be 7.3 meters (24 feet) in length.

a stalactite in a dark cave Burren Eco Tourism Network
One of the Doolin Cave stalactites. Photo: Sasar for Getty Images Signature.

The stalactite at the Doolin Cave was formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years. It was first discovered in 1952 by members of an English caving club who were visiting the area.

A nearby nature trail takes visitors to the original cave entrance.

Near the cave, you will see a variety of farm animals, including rare breeds of cattle, pygmy goats, Soay and Jacob sheep, and more.

Read More: County Clare: The Banner County

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