Ballyvaughan – Baile ua Bheacháin is nestled on the southern shore of Galway Bay against a backdrop of the majestic Burren hills, Ballyvaughan is one of the most beautiful and popular villages in the Burren. Once a sleepy port on the southern shores of Galway Bay, Ballyvaughan’s recent revival owes much to its excellent location which is very convenient for exploring the fascinating surrounding Burren countryside. Stunning views of the Burren hills and Galway Bay. Home to the famous Ailwee Caves and the Burren College of Art. For further information visit www.discoverballyvaughan.com
Boston- Móinín an gCloigeann – the ‘little bog of the skulls’ is a tiny village near the eastern edge of the Burren. To the south lies Lough Bunny, a calcareous lake of 480 acres and one of the deepest in the Burren. It contains a wide variety of wildfowl and plants. Turloughmore is situated about 2 miles from Boston Church, and was famous for its racecourse and fair day in the 18th century. The ruins of Cluain Dubháin, or Boston Castle and Skaghard Castle can be found near Lough Bunny. Today, the ruins of the castles are a reminder of the past sieges endured by its previous occupants.
Carron – An Carn, a ‘heap of stones’ (to identify a chiefs grave). Michael Cusack’s birthplace, in the heart of the Carron village lies in the centre of the Burren overlooking one of the region’s biggest Turloughs. The small village features the bare necessities of country life – a church, school and pub (Cassidy’s Croi na Boirne), but is also home to many interesting enterprises. Carron village is also home to the award winning farming for conservation programme BurrenLife. www.burrenlife.com
Corofin lies on the south eastern edge of the Burren, a few short miles south of the Burren National Park. Corofin is best known as an angler’s paradise due to its proximity to Lough Inchiquin and other lakes, and it offers excellent fishing. Corofin is a village steeped in folklore, music, song and dance. Home to the Clare Heritage Centre which offers an insight into Irish life in the 1800’s, and the Geneological centre which caters for visitors wishing to trace their Irish roots. Corofin is also home to the Burren National Park Visitor centre that is open during the summer months. For more information visit www.visitcorofin.com
Crusheen – Croisín – The ‘little cross’, a village on the Galway / Ennis road, north of Inchicronan Lough. On an island in the lough are the ruins of an Augustinian Abbey founded by the O’Briens. Inchicronan means ‘St Crónán’s Island’. The area around Crusheen has a number of monuments (wedge grave, ruined castles, churches). There are also several small local lakes suitable for the coarse angler.
Doolin – Dubh Linn – The ‘dark pool’ lies on the south-western extremity of the Burren and is internationally renowned as a centre of Irish live music, played in its many hugely popular pubs. It has a wide range of accommodation and restaurants. Popular all year round, most of the activity in the village focuses on the original areas of “Fisherstreet” and “Roadford”. Doolin is an excellent base for exploring the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin Cave (Poll an Ionain) as well as the Burren and its Atlantic coastline. Doolin is also popular as the departure point for the Aran Islands ferry and the Cliffs of Moher Cruises. For more information visit www.doolin-tourism.com
Ennistymon lies in the southern extremity of the Burren, and has a long history as a market town for the surrounding Burren community. It is a lively and bustling town, with the majority of the businesses still family-owned and run. Many of the shops retain their traditional shopfronts and doors. The narrow street near the bridge over the Cullenagh River is the oldest part of the town. A little below the bridge, the river rushes over an extensive ridge of rocks resulting in the beautiful cascades.
Fanore – Fán Ór – The ‘Golden Slope’ lies along the western edge of the Burren, affording spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and Aran Islands. The village is thought to be one of the longest in Ireland, though most of the daytime activity centres around its spectacular beach and sand dune system. Situated on the R477 to the south of Black Head Fanore is a popular recreational spot with good public access and parking. The Caher River runs through Fanore, dividing the beach and is the only Burren river to run along the surface from its source to the sea. For more information visit www.fanore-info.com
Gort – An Gort – ‘The Field’ – lies in Co. Galway on the eastern extremity of the Burren. It has been designated as a heritage town as it has some of the finest examples of traditional shop-fronts in Ireland. A busy town, Gort is well served with banks, supermarkets and services. It is a popular destination for visitors also as it lies close to the famous Coole Park (Nature Reserve and Heritage Centre) formerly the home of Lady Gregory and cradle of the Irish literary revival, and Thoor Ballylee (formerly the home of the poet W B Yeats). The round tower of Kilmacduagh lies a few miles west. For further information visit www.gortonline.com
Kilfenora – Cill an Abhraoidh – ‘Eyebrow shaped hillside’ lies on the southern edge of the Burren and is an important focal point for the farmers of the Burren as it is the home of Kilfenora mart. Historically, Kilfenora was best known for its rich ecclesiastical heritage: today this extraordinary legacy may be seen in the high crosses and cathederal – recently renovated with a glass roof to protect its valuable artefacts. One curious fact is that the Bishop of Kilfenora is none other than the Pope! Kilfenora is also home to the famous Kilfenora Ceili band and the community-run Burren Centre. Visit www.kilfenoraclare.com for further information.
Kilinaboy – Cill Iníne Baoith – The ‘church of the daughter of Baoith’ lies between Corofin and Kilfenora. As you travel from the south you are greeted by the 11th century medieval Church and the remains of a round tower. Across the way is the former Post office which is currently the home of “X-PO”, which has been re-opened as a Community and cultural centre for the Parish of Kilinaboy. Mullaghmore lies a few miles to the east of Kilinaboy village while at Roughan hill can be found a replica of the world famous Tau Cross. Castles in this parish include Lemenaeh which was the home of the infamous Máire Rua as well as Inchiquin castle. The Parish of Kilinaboy has over 300 items of antiquity alone and is a favourite place for both the Botanist and Burren rambler alike.
Kilshanny – Cill Seanaigh – The Church of Senan – “The Lovely Green Vales of Kilshanny” lie on the southern fringe of the Burren. They are home to historical sites such as The Abbey of St. Mary and St. Augustine, The Carn Connachtach (a Bronze age burial site), Smithstown Castle and holy wells dedicated to St. Augustine, St. Senan, St. Cravan and Iníne Baoith. The small village features a Church, a school, a pub and a community hall. It is also home to the popular Kilshanny cheese.
Kinvara – Cinn Mhara – The ‘head of the sea’ is a popular fishing village which has a long tradition of trading by the sea with the people of Connemara. This legacy is celebrated in the village every August when the Cruinniú na mBád (Gathering of the Boats) festival takes place. Kinvara also hosts the Cuckoo Festival every April. Famous for its music sessions which can spontaneously occur in any one of the many pubs in the village. Home to Dunguaire Castle and the Burrenbeo Trust office – come visit us on Glebe Road, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kinvara.ie for more information about Kinvara.
Lisdoonvarna – Lios Dún Bhearna – The ‘lios at the fort’ by the gap is a village in the southern edge of the Burren and was a popular health resort in the early nineteenth century thanks largely to its famous spa wells. The Spa’s therapeutic mineral waters contain magnesia, iodine and iron. It is famous also for its September festival – The Matchmaking Festival one of Europe’s largest ‘singles’ festival and one of Irelands oldest. Lisdoonvarna is an excellent base for exploring the Burren and sampling the famous music and craic of North Clare. The first Merriman Summer School was founded in 1968. The Summer School features lectures, seminars, dance classes and music. Lisdoonvarna of course, is also famous via the words of Christy Moore’s wonderful ballad ‘Lisdoonvarna’.
Tubber – Tobar – ‘Well’ – with its varied landscape, history and tranquillity has much to offer the visitor who is looking ‘to get away from it all.’ An ideal place for discovering the famous flowers of the Burren and a birdwatchers’ and anglers’ paradise.
For more information on the accommodation, food, activities, transport and other services of these village please go to the local eco-tourism website www.burren.ie