The Burren and surrounding area have plenty of walking options; from long to short and easy to difficult. We have provided links below to the walks that we know and love. These cover the official routes as well as some more informal hikes that we have found.
It goes without saying (but we will say it anyway!). This is a wild and rugged place. Even popular paths can be difficult underfoot and more challenging than you expect. The weather can change quickly and you need to follow the Boy Scout motto and “be prepared”. Please don’t become one of the Mountain Rescue statistics.
The Ordinance Survey Ireland (OSI) map that covers the walks described here is Discovery Series 51 (1:50,000 scale). There is also an Xplorit Map covering Co Clare (1:80,000 scale) that would be fine too.
Maps are available in most local supermarkets and petrol stations. Otherwise you can buy it online here from the OSI.
A good way to get an introduction to the Burren and surrounding area is to join a guided walk. There are a number of guides who offer these, typically your guide is someone who has lived and worked in the Burren all their lives. A selection of the ones we have tried (and always enjoyed) are described below.
Pious Murray’ Walking Tour and Lunch Meet at Kilshanny House and join Pius Murray on this easy paced walk in Kilshanny. Pious takes you to the holy wells and monuments around Kilshanny and tells you about the ancient (and not so ancient) celtic rituals. The charge includes delicious homemade lunch at Kilshanny House after the walk. See here. The walks are every Friday at 11am in July and August.
Pat Sweeny Cliffs of Moher Cliff Walk Pat is a local larger than life character. A few years ago he managed to get all the farmers along the cliff route from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher to agree to allow a path to be created over their land (In Ireland this is a lot easier to say than do). Pat now runs a daily walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre (and has a bus organised to bring you back too). The walk takes around 3 hours and is reasonably strenuous. See here. The tour leaves daily from O’Connors pub at 10am.
Tony Kirby Heart of the Burren Walks Tony is a researcher and writer as well as a walking tour guide. So if you join one of his walks you are sure to be well informed by the end of it. His walks are one of the highest rated on Tripadvisor and we’d agree with that. See here. The scheduled walks take place on a daily basis from Tuesday to Sunday inclusive in June, July and August. The meeting point is the Burren Centre, Kilfenora at 2.30pm.
The Burren National Park has a number of great walks that are well signposted and mapped. Be warned; when they grade a route as “hard” or “difficult” they mean it. However, the effort is really worth it and the walks are spectacular.
These walks mostly start from Mullaghmore Crossroads (GPS 52.9963726,-9.0384562), which is around a 40 min drive from the Cottage. The best route is to head to Lisdoonvarna, then Kilfenora and Kilnaboy on the R476. In Kilnaboy take the left turn (L1112) just after the church ruins. Approximately 5 kilometres along this road you will reach a crossroads. There is car parking in a lay-by on the right just before this crossroads.
See here for details.
The routes range from the easy 1.3km Knockaunroe Turlough Loops to the very difficult 7.5km Mullaghmore Loop.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is an organisation set up to promote sustainable tourism in the area. They have created a number of excellent trails around the area; including a mix of rural and (more) urban routes. The Geopark team provide an excellent resource about the area too.
Two good trails to try as “starters” are the Carron Loop and the Ballyvaughan Wood Loop. Both start and finish by a pub (a good incentive to finish) and are fairly easy on the legs. See here.
The Geopark website is here and is worth a look as it has a wealth of good information.