The birth of this landscape began with the death of another. Under the sea some 360 million years ago, marine animals, plants, shells and coral accumulated over many thousands of years to form thick limestone beds.This compacting of marine life and subsequent limestone formation was unevenly distributed due to the movement of the oceans currents. In between these beds, areas of shale rock formed, which is less resistant to erosion, and so the resulting topography of the Burren is characterised by terraces and cliffs.



Climate change is not a new phenomenon and our world’s history has been marked by several periods of extreme meteorological change. These periods were commonly referred to as ‘Ice Ages’, the most recent of which started around two million years ago. Since then, the Burren has been covered by ice several times, the last known period of ice cover ending 12,000 years ago. The limestone pavements, a distinguishing feature of the Burren landscape, are a consequence of glacier ice scraping away the surface debris of soil, stones and the topmost layer of rock. This exposed a massive un-eroded rock surface when the ice melted.

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The rolling hills of Burren are composed of limestone pavements with criss-crossing cracks known as “grikes”, leaving isolated rocks called “clints”. The region supports arctic, Mediterranean and alpine plants side-by-side, due to the unusual environment. The limestones, which date from the Lower Carboniferous era, formed as sediments in a tropical sea approximately 350 million years ago. The strata contain fossil corals, crinoids, sea urchins and ammonites.

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flora & fauna

The Burren is renowned for its remarkable assemblage of plants and animals. The region supports many rare Irish species, some of which are only found in this area. Others occur in similar karst areas in western Ireland. Notable insects present in the Burren include the Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria Euphrosyne butterfly, Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae butterfly, Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia butterfly and the Wood White Leptidea sinapis butterfly.


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  • “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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