The Burren, Galway
The Burren is the term for the upland area to the south of Galway. The area of quite outstanding natural beauty is shared with County Clare. There are many beautiful views, ancient dolmens and activities, but to me the cliffs of Mohar are the highlight of nay day trip to this area :
You can tell where they are by the impressive selection of tour buses in the car park as you approach via a small country road covered in double yellow lines.
This is of course designed to make you cough-up at least 2 Euro 50 for the car-park.
At least entry to the cliffs is free.
Once you avoid the "diddly-diddly" buskers (I think there is an Irish law which says there must be at least two at every Irish tourist site) on the approach path, the Cliffs themselves are quite breathtaking.
There are a couple of lookout points (O'Briens tower) that you can then walk to in order to get a slightly different view.
The tourist board claim they are the highest cliffs in Europe, but this would seem just a little contentious to say the least.
I don't normally easily take fright of heights - but they scare the bloody bejesus out of me !
Healy Tours operate a tour from Galway bus station with departures at 10 am and 11.30 am. I would recommend the earlier trip as you will see more for your money. The later starters join the early birds further into the tour. The air conditioned coaches make for a comfortable trip and the guides are full of knowledge and banter.
The highlights of the Burren tour included seeing the Burren itself, a rocky, harsh landscape in northern County Clare. I found the Cliffs of Moher very picturesque and you can see for miles out to sea (weather permitting). I also enjoyed the tour of Aillwee Caves, although I would not recommend it for anyone remotely claustrophobic. It is quite dark and narrow. It also worth noting that there is an additional charge for entry to the caves. The tour lasts until about 5pm and a lunch break at a pub in the pretty coastal village of Doolin fits into the itinerary.
We drove from the Cliffs of Moder up to Galway and without a doubt it was the most spectacular drive I have ever made in my life. It is just GORGEOUS. And it changes every 10km from moonscape, to pastureland and many other landscapes that I can't even describe. I only wish we had a week just to explore ever nook and craney of the Burren.
If you get the chance, make sure you take one of either "The Burren" or the "Connemara" tours with McNaughton Tour Buses (you can purchase tickets at the Aaran Ferry office across from Kinlay House near Kennedy Square in Galway). It cost 20 euros per person, but let me tell you that it was absolutely worth it and one of the highlights of my trip to Ireland. We had the most lovely tour operator named Desmond Murray, and he was my little "pocket grandpa" and told the most wonderful stories about the history of the area. Ailwee cave hosts the site of the remains of an Irish brown bear, which are thought to have become extinct in about the 11th or 12th century. You'll get to see Poulnabrone Dolmen or Portal tomb, which is apparently one of the finest examples of Portal Tombs in Ireland. Portal Tombs were the ancient burial grounds in times long gone. These tombs usually have two imposing portals or entrance stones flanking the front of a relatively small rectangular chamber. The capstone, which sometimes rests just on the end stone and on the portal stones, is often very large.
Also, you will get to see the Cliffs of Moher - 700 foot towering cliffs of slate where you can here and feel the raw beauty of all that is Ireland!
I will never forget how excited I was as our tour bus made its way toward the Cliffs of Moher. This was a place I had always dreamed of seeing but never expected to see. This was my second trip to Europe and I was just loving it especially since my husband Gene was with me.
Before we exited the bus, our bus driver warned us to be careful as sometimes the winds can be quite strong along the Cliffs. The sun actually was shining during our visit there and we had a very good view of the Cliffs.
I will just say we were amazed at the sight of the Cliffs. I had read so much about them before and I was still blown away by the grandeur of it all. The beautiful craggy Cliffs with the mighty Atlantic Ocean pounding down below--unbelievable beauty!
Close to Galway is the strange landscape of The Burren. To me it looks really inhospitable but there were actually lots of different plants when you took a closer a look.
It was quite difficult to walk on the rocks, you really had to watch your step.
the Barren is a unique area in Ireland- looks a bit like you're on the moon, but if you have a closer look, you can find a wide variety of plants.
We went there on a bus trip that also included Pulnabrome( ?) Dolmen.
Strangely im from galway county and had never been to the Burren or the cliffs (or mabye i was when i was very small). I can really see how people are so impressed with the Burren and the Cliffs. Myself and my husband decided to hire a car and do a day trip in September and i must say it was a most amazing experience. After alot of googling i came across an app called experience galway by Europcar. It had 2 driving tours on it and loads of tips on where to stop along with a navagation window .Picking up the car was so easy as they are located just on the outskirts of the city 10 mins walking from eyre square(a big thank you to the staff there as they were so patient and amazingly friendly). It was great because it meant i didn't have to drive through the windy one way streets of town. So out the gate we went and we were on the road to the burren straight away. For all you tourists we rented a little clio ans it was perfect for 1 day with a little built in gps.The drive was stunning and I have to say our highlight was the walk right out to the edge of the cliffs. Tip : The road there is a little windy but it didnt really matter as there were mainly tourists going slow on the road too so take your time and relax.
All in all we have a great treasure in the west of Ireland.
I don't know if these dolmens are actually burial sites or if they are "just" ancient monuments. No matter what it is rather impressive!
The Burren's rocky landscape hosts a collection of prehistoric monuments, including several small dolmen.