The Burren

Tracks and Trails   Episode 4


Presenter; Evelyn CusackMet Office and RTE

Guide; Eimer McCarthy Co. Clare Rural Recreation Officer 

Location; The Burren Co. Clare

Trail; Fanore- Ballyvaughan Trek


Evelyn and Eimer Mc Carthy Co. Clare’s Rural Recreational officer start their walk in Fanore and climb Black Head along the unique panorama of grey that provides such a stark contrast to Ireland’s proverbial ‘forty shades of green’. There are a selection of Loop and linear walks in the Burren and this particular walk was designed by Eimer with the assistance of local landowners who own the land around Black Head. They work with the National Trails office to preserve the paths in good condition. As they walk upland towards Blackhead they walk along the old road or Green Road which is high above the present coastal road and a much more pleasant track.

As Evelyn Cusack walks the Limestone landscape of the Burren she experiences first hand that there really are four seaons in one day in Ireland!  However they both agree that walking in soft rain can be an enjoyable experience when it is not cold.

At an erratic rock they meet with Burren Connect geologist Ronan Hennessy who teaches geology to school groups and local interest groups who were all part of the project that got Burren Unesco Geology Park status in recent months. Evelyn who has a keen interest in climate change discovers from Ronan that the Burren once was a tropical sea which formed into the unique landscape 350 million years ago. 

As they walk they discover a landscape teeming with tiered limestone pavements which shelter rare flora and come across local woman from Fanore Mary Howard who is on a mission to discover a rare Burren flower, the Alpine Gentian.

The weather starts to get very wet as they walk along Gleninagh and our two walkers decide to come down off the mountain to visit Gleninagh Church and meet up with Clodagh Lynch who has recently found stone axes in the Burren at Fanore beach dating to 6,000 years ago.

The hills that make up the Burren are actually like swiss cheese with some 300 caves created by disappearing streams. These labyrinthine caves include one that stretches some 2km in  Ailiwee Mountain. Evelyn and Eimer decide to visit  Ailiwee and then take up their walk in nearby Fenagh valley where they come down the mountain and back to Ballyvaughan via a hazel forest.

Use the following links to find further information on this walk