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10th May 2023

7 activities the kids will love in the Burren this summer

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.

For family memories that last a lifetime, head west.

The school holidays are fast-approaching, and if you’re planning a getaway’s fun for the entire family, then a trip to County Clare may be right up your street.

With its dramatic location along the Wild Atlantic Way, Clare is home to stunning scenery, breath-taking sunsets and the Burren, a world-famous UNESCO Global Geopark. As well as its unique landscape, the Burren boasts a wealth of activities and experiences that the whole family can enjoy.

Ready to start planning an unforgettable family trip? Here’s an itinerary guaranteed to inspire the young – and the young at heart – along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Aillwee Experience – Cave, Birds of Prey, Woodland Walk and Cheese Demonstration

No family trip to the Burren would be complete without a visit to the iconic Aillwee Experience.

Prepare to marvel at the dramatic underworld of the Burren on a thrilling, guided tour.

As you explore the caverns and chasms of the Aillwee cave, you can feast your eyes at the formations and frozen waterfall and discover the hibernation chambers of the brown bears that once roamed this part of the country.

But that’s not all. Once you emerge from the caves, there is still plenty more to enjoy. At the Burren Birds of Prey Centre, you can meet some feathered predators including eagles, falcons, hawks, owls and vultures. See these magnificent birds close up before taking your seat for the flying display which provides a rare opportunity to see many of these stunning species in dramatic free flight.

Finish up your trip with a stroll along the Biodiversity Woodland Walk before taking a cheesemaking tour at the Farm Shop. On a tour, you’ll see how the delicious Burren Gold Cheese is made and you’ll taste your way through the cheeses learning about the different textures and tastes.

Caherconnell Stone Fort and Sheepdog Trails

If you’ve got an animal-lover at home, then you do not want to miss this marvellous attraction.

The Caherconnell Stone Fort was built over 1,000 years ago, and today it remains an essential pitstop on your tour of the Burren.

This family-run site is located 1km south of the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen and there are audiovisual displays and self-guided tours that tell the fort’s story. You’ll also find a craft shop and the wonderful Mountain Haven Café where you can tuck in to some hot drinks and snacks.

Best of all, you can check out some good doggos at the Caherconnell Sheepdog demonstrations. Just watch in wonder as border collies Rose, Lee and Sally follow commands and individual whistles, and complete tasks to move sheep from the fields to the visitor area. You then get to choose your favourite dog – not an easy task – and use voice commands to direct them. It’s not as easy as it looks, but it is fun for the entire family.

The Burren Centre – Self-guided tour

One of the best places to begin your journey is in the Burren Centre where your children can gain insight, information and inspiration for your Burren adventure.

Located in the heart of the historic village of Kilfenora – the ‘City of the Crosses’ – the Burren Centre has engaging exhibitions, a short film about this unique and fascinating region, as well as a craft shop, making it the ideal place to brush up on your knowledge.

While you’re there, refuel at the Burren Centre Café, and don’t worry. There is plenty on the menu to suit younger tastebuds.

Burren Farm Experience – Farm Tour

This tour is a smash-hit with kids, and we can understand why. During it, you’ll climb aboard a tractor-trailer that will take you around Cathal and Bronagh’s farmyard in the wondrous Burren National Park.

As you explore the farm, you’ll learn all about the life of a dry stock beef farmer and your little ones will get to say hi to the cows. You’ll also pass historical remains and hike through the Burren to Lough Bunny to discover its unique karstic wetland system.

And, if you’re worried about keeping tummies fed, don’t worry. The tour includes a rustic picnic made with the finest local ingredients that your family can enjoy, all while taking in this striking landscape.

Hazel Mountain Chocolate – Tour and Café

Delight the chocolate-lovers in your family with a trip to Hazel Mountain Chocolate – a real-life working chocolate factory.

A tour takes you through the stages of chocolate making from roasting to tempering, and you’ll taste the chocolate at each production stage to get an understanding of the process. At the end of the tour, your taste buds are treated to some of the delicious finished products.

Craving even more chocolate? Grab a table in the café, sip hot chocolate and enjoy a slice of cake before stocking up in the shop on even more goodies for the road.

Burren Smokehouse – Taste the Atlantic – The Salmon Experience

For foodie families, the Burren has so much to offer your palette. The Burren Smokehouse, for instance, is a playful, immersive way to learn more about the history and significance of the Irish salmon. Through interactive displays and audio-visual presentations, you’ll follow this King of Fish through time and learn about the legend of the Salmon of Knowledge.

You then learn the story of the Curtin Family, discover the secrets of the smoking process used at the smokehouse, and explore the first kiln before tucking into a tasting of flavoursome Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon.

Burren Mountain Tours – Guided Tour

Bring your little ones up close and personal with the wonders of the Burren’s landscape as you explore some of the lesser-visited sites on this guided driving tour.

Your expert guide will take you over a private mountain (Murough Mountain) in the heart of the Burren and along an old Herman’s track high above the Atlantic coast. Have your cameras at the ready as there are sensational views of the Clare coastline, the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and the starkly beautiful Burren landscape. You’ll also see plenty of relics of mountain life from thousands of years ago such as forts and stone walls.

If you are peckish you can have a picnic at a very picturesque mountain-top location, and for added theatrics, you can book a sunset tour and watch the sun bow out over Galway Bay and dip into the Atlantic Ocean horizon.

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.

Book a break this summer

From land-based activities to underground adventures, wildlife encounters to creative centres, there are many wonderful ways to experience the unique landscape and communities of this remarkable region.

So, what are you waiting for? Book early for best availability and value on your next adventurous break in the Burren this summer.

The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.

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