Eco Trail



The trail takes visitors to the original cave entrance set in a magical glade. Along the way you will encounter some farm animals including rare breeds of cattle, pygmy goats and Soay and Jacob sheep and ducks and chickens. There are beautiful views of the glacial valley and Ballinalacken Castle from the hillside. It is an opportunity to take a relaxing stroll through the peaceful surroundings of Doolin Cave among indigenous woodland plants, trees and wildflower meadows. Soak up the peaceful surroundings on the limestone seating along the way.


Discovery points

Use the key discovery points along this gentle walking trail to learn about the Burren over ground with deep insights to the formation of the landscape and indigenous Burren flowers. The Burren is the only place on the planet where alpine, arctic and Mediterranean plants grow side-by-side. The Eco-Trail at Doolin Cave also has magnificent views of the surrounding Doolin and Burren landscape stretching as far as the 12 Pins in Connemara, making for super photo opportunities. 

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The eco-trail

  • 1km gentle walk along a chip-stone pathway.
  • Free to cave visitors
  • Stone seating along the route.
  • Highlights of the original cave entrance, Enchanted Hallow Fairy Village, rare breeds of animals on the trail and indigenous Burren flora.
  • Admission to the tour just 30 minutes before the cave closes.
Mask group
Stalactite Discovery 1



We have planted native, indigenous shrubs and trees in order to maintain the biodiversity of the area. Biodiversity encompasses all living things – humans, animals, plants, birds, fish and the habitats in which they live. Globally, biodiversity is being lost due to increasing development, climate change, invasive alien species and the international trade in endangered species.



The Eco-Trail affords some great views along the way. There is a glacial valley that was carved out by a moving glacier during one of the ice ages, the last of which was 12,000 years ago.  A glacial valley is a steep-sided, U-shaped valley formed by the erosional forces of a moving glacier.

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Ballinalacken Castle

The 15th Century Castle is a ruin of a tower house built by the O’Brien Clan. It stands imposingly beside Ballinalacken House Hotel, which was built by Lord O’Brien in 1840 as his family home. In 1939 Daniel O’Callaghan purchased the home from the O’Brien’s. Today it remains in the O’Callaghan family and is currently owned by Denis O’Callaghan (Daniel’s son).

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This lovely 19th century house nestled under the ivy-covered cliff on the other side of the glacial valley is privately-owned. Iris Murdoch used it as the location for her novel, ‘The Unicorn’.

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Original Cave Entrance

The cave was discovered in 1952 by J.M. Dickenson and Brian Varley of Craven pothole Club based in the Yorkshire Dales. They left their group on Whitsunday and went exploring on their own. They noticed a small stream disappearing at the bottom of a huge limestone cliff. They pulled back some boulders and dug their way into a narrow passage and managed to wriggle their way for about a quarter of a mile until they reached the large chamber that contains the stalactite.


Wildflower Meadow

To continue the theme of biodiversity, we have planted some native wildflower meadows to let people experience the wide range of Irish flora and to help preserve this rich heritage. Changes in land use have put pressure on the traditional ecosystems of rural Ireland. In times past, meadows were not cut until July or August, which gave native species of wildflowers time to flower and seed. Now, with early cutting of meadows and the use of fertilisers, the variety of wildflowers has dramatically decreased.

We source our seed from Design by Nature who harvest seeds of native origin.

Stalactite Discovery 1


  • “Unique Stalactite and Tour; Well Worth It! This was an unexpected highlight of our stay in Doolin. We went to the cave more out of curiosity than anything else but ended up feeling like it was one of the highlights of our stay in County Clare. The introductory panels in the visitor’s center provided us with good background information that set us up well for the tour. Our tour guide was excellent from start to finish”

    eaglelake20 – NewYork

    – June, 2022

  • “Doolin Cave, just another Cave.. No! This Cave is exceptional, It’s the first time I’ve been awe struck and really felt like an explorer. I’ve been down many caves, but this one is the only one that touched my heart and caused me to have great respect for life and our living planet. The separation between the noisy commercial rat race and the serene peaceful heartbeat of the earth is very tangible. It certainly makes me believe in the Creator of Life.. please don’t miss the opportunity, make the opportunity it’s life lasting .”

    John O’ Regan – Google Review

    – June, 2023

  • “Fabulous experience, very interesting and informative tour. The cave is terrific and well maintained. The nature walk is beautiful. The coffee shop serves lovely coffee and scrumptious cakes. All the staff in the complex were very pleasant, helpful and efficient”

    Michael Macken – Google Review

    – May, 2023

  • “A fantastic experience. The tour takes place every hour and is carried out very professionally, personably and with a lot of humor. The descent is quite easy, but you should be prepared for numerous slightly wet and slippery steps. It is also very fresh in the cave. Therefore, dress sufficiently thickly and wear sturdy shoes. But the descent and the tour itself are breathtaking and absolutely worth the effort!”

    Philip A. – Google Review

    – June, 2023

  • “Spectacular! Cian our guide did a SUPER job. This is absolutely SPECTACULAR. I hadn’t read much about the caves so when we turned the corner and saw this amazing view – the stalactite, we were awe struck. Top spot in Clare for sure. Coffee n toastie at the coffee shop was yummy and the young ladies on duty were efficient professional and very friendly GOOD JOB!”

    Rita C – Dublin

    – June, 2023

  • “Wow, what can I say.. I’ll keep it brief. This was an absolute hidden gem in the Burren, and the highlight of our stay! Seeing the stalactite in all its glory was amazing. We believe it’s the largest in Europe, and quite staggering to find it in the tiny village of Doolin. The tour guide (apologies, forgot your name) was very informative and friendly. The tour itself was brilliant, and such a unique experience that we will never forget”


    – September, 2022

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