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Helen's Blog

Helen’ Blog

Doolin Cave Nature Trail June 2014

The Nature Trail at Doolin Cave is very popular with visitors to the cave. We have recently erected information panels along the trail to explain all the different elements along the way. Here is an example of one of them with Maybelle, our dog in the foreground.

Here is a picture of another one of the information panels which is quite odd as it shows the view of the view!

There are nine panels in all covering topic like the animals you meet along the way, the different types of trees and shrubs we have planted, the Burren, the views from the trail, the Geology etc.

We have added some nature quotes and snippets of poetry e.g.:

Glac bog an saol agus glacfaidh an saol bog tú’
Take the world nice and easy, and the world will take you the same

Stony seaboard, far and foreign,
Stony hills poured over space,
Stony outcrop of the Burren,
Stones in every fertile place,
Little fields with boulders dotted,
Grey-stone shoulders saffron-spotted,
Stone-walled cabins thatched with reeds,
Where a Stone Age people breeds
The last of Europe’s stone age race.
John Betjeman


Some pictures of the landscape of the Burren Landscape.

Everything is madly growing at the moment, some things have even slightly lost the run of themselves, like our ox-eye daisies, but boy, are they stunning!

The wildflower meadows are more sedate in other places

Things to do in the Burren - Tips from a local

Usually the best people to get travel advice and tips from are the locals. In this blog series Co. Clare locals employed at Doolin Cave capture the true essence of the Burren and let you in on all the secrets of the best things to do, places to visit and food to eat in the Burren. Enjoy reading the blogs and getting to know some Co. Clare locals.

Blog 1: Capturing the natural beauty and unique landscape of the Burren

Name: Jim McDonnell
Age: 54
Interests and hobbies: reading and jogging
Occupation: Tour guide at Doolin Cave. Jim is the most experienced tour guide at Doolin Cave and he is very passionate about the cave and the Burren landscape. Here is a sample of many great reviews from tripadvisor, "It was rainy out, so instead of Aran Islands, decided to visit the Doolin Cave. We were lucky, there were only 4 other people with us on the tour, so made it extra nice. Jim is the guide, and he is wonderfully knowledgeable about the cave and related science - very interesting. Definitely recommend." (Tripadvisor, reviewed 13 June 2014)

The Burren is a place of outstanding natural beauty and I consider myself very fortunate to be living on its doorstep at Lahinch. Some of the activities in the Burren that I enjoy include:
Hill climbing on the Green Mile route with access at Fanore.

Visiting old churches such as at Fanore and Ballyvaughan.

Walking on Fanore beach and exploring the Caher river estuary.
The Burren Caher Valley at Fanore
Driving through the Burren landscape taking in wonderful views especially at the Cork-Screw Hill with its wonderful views over the Burren and the Atlantic ocean.

Talking about the Burren and sharing my passion for the landscape both under and over ground with my visitors at Doolin Cave.

Introducing the Burren to visitors for the first time, such as family visiting from Dublin.
View from the nature trail at Doolin Cave
Picnicing among the clints and grikes surrounded by beutiful Burren flora and wonderful scenery.

Dining out at Cassidys pub overlooking the turlough at Carron.

Visiting PoulnaBrone Dolmen and other neolithic tombs and forks in the Burren.
Poulnabrone dolmen in the Burren

Driving across the mountain from Lahinch to the Burren with its views of the Aran Islands and the Connemara Hills.

Experiencing the joy of visitors as they see the Great Stalactite for the first time in Doolin Cave.

The Burren Rocks Festival 2014

Burren Rocks Festival

We had a great week-end at the Burren Rocks festival from June 5th—9th 2014

This year the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark together with Doolin Cave and The Burren Outdoor Education Centre  hosted  the Burren Rocks Festival  with a range  of events and activities taking place each day.
Rocky, mascot for the Burren Rocks Festival 2014 

We organised a novel way for people to visit the geosites in the Burren. Geosites are areas of geological importance.  There are 9 sites in the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, each is accessible and tells a part of the story of the geology of the Burren. See for details of locations

For the  Geosite Selfie cycles, visitors had to register at Doolin Cave  from Thur 5th—Sun 8th  and at the Burren Out-door Education Centre (Mon 9th) , then  cycle to one of the  Burren geosites, take a selfie at a designated place, post it to, then return and receive a gift pack.

On Sun 8th we had a great  Family Fun Day  at  Doolin Cave with archery, rock-climbing, food stalls, ice-cream cart,  family cycle event, crafts,  antique rock show, etc.

Eamon Doyle, Geologist with the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark organised an Antique Rock Show. He brought along some rock samples from the locality to show how the limestones and the shales were formed and was on hand to identify any rocks which people brought along to have identified.

Caireann Browne, the Doolin Cave potter gave demonstrations and allowed people to have a go themselves at making their own pots. There were some very interesting results!


We would like to say a big Thank You  to everybody who took part

We ran an Art Competition in the local primary schools in the Burren. We had a great response from the schools and they were of such a very high quality that we found it difficult to pick winners. Here are the results:

Junior competition

1st: Ruby Early, Tubber NS, senior infants

2nd: Geoff o Baoill, Gaelscoil Iosef Naofa, Maigh, 2nd class

3rd: Kacper Kuczaj, Tubber ns, 2nd class


Senior Competition

1st: Kate Considine, Doolin NS, 6th class

2nd: Niamh Flanagan, Doolin NS, 6th class

3rd: Cathrach McNamara, 5th class, Kilshanny NS

We had the school art on display in the Visitor Centre over the week-end

On Monday there was a schools quiz at the Burren Outdoor Education Centre in Carron. Ten teams took part from schools around the Burren. The aim of the quiz was to promote learning about the Burren to children in their own locality. Carron NS were the winners.

Doolin Cave - Easter Family Fun


Looking for fun family activities in Clare this Easter??

Doolin Cave will host a fun family day out this Easter Sunday, April 20th. This action packed Easter Family Fun day will include face-painting and Easter spot prizes. The main event of the day will be the first appearance of our baby goat on the Farmland Nature Trail at Doolin cave.

Book Online, Save 20%

Doolin Cave - Nature Trail Updates

Exciting news for the nature trail , Minnie our pygmy goat had a baby!! The kid was born on Friday 21 March. Mother and baby are both doing great, they are recovering at home in a snug shed but they should be ready to go back to the nature trail shortly. In the meantime, here are some wonderful photos of the new arrival.

We are having a name the baby competition on our facebook page to celebrate the new arrival on Doolin Cave farmland nature trail. Click HERE to enter now and win free entry to Doolin Cave (t & c's apply) !!

Visiting the Burren- What to Expect

The Landscape

The Burren is a unique karst limestone landscape. The unusual bare limestone pavement with its giant slabs of rock scarred by thousands of uneven cracks has been compared to the surface of the moon. However, underneath the rugged, moon-like exterior of the Burren lies a vast and unique eco-system and a diverse community. The Burren is the only place in the world where arctic, alpine and meditterranean plants grow side-by-side. In fact, the Burren is home to 70% of Ireland's native flora making it a wonderful destination for botanists and flower enthusiasts from all over the world. The floral diversity of the Burren also supports a great diversity of rare animals including feral goats, pine martins and an array of stunning butterflies.
Further to the overground diversity of the Burren lies a hidden underworld. Over millions of years water has been seeping through the porrus limestone rocks creating underground caverns and waterways. In fact, JRR Tolkein got his inspiration for the Lord of the Rings from the Burren. The goblin like character named Gollum depicted in the Lord of the Rings story is named afer Pol na Gollum (Hole of Gollum), a cave in the Burren. Peter Curtin of the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna has formed the Burren Tolkein Society who have an annual gathering to celebrate the inspiration Tolkein took from the Burren, you can read more about the background to the Tolkein Society and how the Burren inspired JRR Tolkein here

The hidden underworld of the Burren is also home to the largest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere in Doolin Cave, it is truly magnificent. Descending underground through a world carved by water, you feel a sense of mother nature guiding you through the crisp air of the cave passages. As you approach the main chamber, for a moment you are plunged into a world of primitive darkness. When the light flicks back on, the Great Stalactite, suspended like a chandalier from the cave ceiling is astounding. It is hard to believe it was formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years.

Wild Atlantic Way

In addition to exploring the spectacular landscape in the Burren you can take in the wonderful sights of the Wild Atlantic Way. There are magnificent sights such as the world famous Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. Doolin2Aran and O' Brien Line Ferries operate regular crossings to the Aran Islands and cruises under the Cliffs of Moher throughout the summer. If you would prefer to get closer to the rolling waves and rugged coastline, then perhaps a kyaking trip with North Clare Sea Kyaking would be a good option. There are also magnificent walkways and bicycle trails both inland and along the rugged coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way. Check out the Burren Eco-Tourism Network for a variety of bicycle hire outlets and walking guides. 
During the summer you are bound to spot some of the magnificent wildlife that take up residence along the wild Atlantic coast including the Puffin, Dusty the Dolphin and if you are lucky you may even spot a playful seal.

Eating in the Burren

The Burren has a long tradition of supreme quality fresh produce owing to its rich and fertile soils and close proximity to the Atlantic ocean. More recently, this tradition has expanded through the establishment of many award winning restaurants and local artisan producers and an increase in market gardeners and growers (Burren Eco-tourism 2013). To celebrate the magnificent food tradition in the Burren, the Burren Eco-tourism Network have launched a food trail that takes highlights from the Burren Food Story and offers them to visitors through themed events every Monday evening during the summer. Click here for further information.