Getting There and Getting Around the Burren

by Anthony King
Thursday, June 7, 2018

If you’re in Ireland, the Burren is definitely worth a visit. The Burren’s nearest airport is Shannon Airport, approximately a 45-minute drive away. The trip from Dublin is a four-hour drive. Renting a car is the best way to explore the region in depth. But keep in mind that the roads are narrower than you might presume, and visitors often underestimate how long journeys can take. (Keep in mind also that in Ireland, like in England, you drive on the left side of the road.)

If you have only a limited amount of time, there are a number of coach bus tours available from Galway, about an hour away. A day tour from Lally Tours leaves the Galway Coach Station about 10 a.m. It stops off at the Cliffs of Moher, goes through Lisdoonvarna and then on to the Aillwee Cave, discovered serendipitously when a man’s dog vanished into the side of a mountain while chasing a rabbit (fortunately, he found the dog). O’Neachtain Tours offers a similar service from Galway. Day tours also leave from Limerick and Ennis, both to the south of the Burren.

There are a range of accommodations in the Burren. One of the most popular is the Gregans Castle Hotel, situated on the region’s north coast in Ballyvaughan, where you can warm yourself on a rainy day by the fire. Ballinalacken Castle Country House in Doolin is another good option, and the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis is popular with locals for food and hosts live Irish music.

A good place to get a quick introduction to the natural history of the region is the Burren Perfumery near Carron in the heart of the Burren, which introduces you to the region’s flowers, animals, archaeology and landscapes. An organic garden features native herbs, and perfumes, soaps, creams and floral waters made onsite are available in the gift shop.

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