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Burren tour

by

David Tocher

One of our favourite places to visit for a day trip when we are in Limerick is north County Clare and the Burren. For those who don't know their geography the Burren is a karst landscape. It consists of bare limestone pavement with masses of wild flowers during the spring and summer. The plants are a curious mixture of alpine and artic types. The Burren measures approximately 250 square kilometres and is enclosed roughly within the circle made by the villages of Fanore, Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna. You can see limestone pavements similar to the Burren in Malham in North Yorkshire but on a much smaller scale - for once Yorkshire doesn't 'do it' better than elsewhere!

burren

I was on my own doing some work on the house and garden and the day looked very promising so I decided to take a spin. I drove though the Clare lakelands towards Carran. The roads in the area away from the coast are usually very quiet. I stopped at a lookout point near Mullaghmore which a curious shape layered mountain. Almost at once a car full of Dutch people stopped to look at and photograph Quicksilver and the view in that order!

I continued my tour towards Ballyvaughan and stopped for a coffee and a sarnie in the village. I was sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and again got talking to some people - were they Americans or Canadians - I've no idea!

The drive from Ballyvaughan runs along the coast overlooking Galway Bay and Connermara towards Black Head and then on to Fanore. It's one of the most scenic roads I know - wonderful for cycling as well as in a Pembleton. As I rounded Black Head the Aran Islands came into view. The smallest island has a wrecked ship, Plassey, high on the beach which can be seen in the opening credits for 'Father Ted' as well as from the coastal road.

aran islands

I stopped for an ice cream in Fanore which has a wonderful beach - it was quite crowded as you can see in the picture which surprised me as it was early in the season and a weekday (the joy of being retired!). Almost at once a car full of young French people stopped, asked the usual questions and took pictures. The caravan site used in 'Father Ted' is in Fanore and in the dunes so it's not too intrusive. This is beginning to read like a piece of tourist puff for Bord Fáilte!

fanore beach

My route back involved climbing over the hills towards Lisdoonvarna. The photo really doesn't do justice the view of the Aran Islands.

burren

I continued my trip back towards Limerick through the lakelands. The car wouldn't start start after the photo shoot but it turned out to be a loose wire on the back of the ignition switch.

A grand day out!

David Tocher


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