The Fertile Rock

“Fertile rock
Ancient Place
Walk there, walk there
Ancient Place
Not for sale
Walk there, walk there
Fertile rock…”
(Taken from the song ‘The Fertile Rock’ by Luka Bloom)

Visitors to Doolin and the surrounding Burren areas are often surprised to see flora and fauna growing on such a barren landscape. It is truly what makes the area unique.
The Burren, known as the fertile rock, due to its temperate climate, which means that the limestone retains its warmth during the winter. Cattle and Lamb are moved to the mountains during this time and can graze amongst the limestone.

Cliffs of Moher near Doolin
Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark
Slide 3

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year.

Standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point, they stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the wild Atlantic coast of County Clare. From the Cliffs of Moher, on a clear day, one can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, Loop Head to the south and the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry. O’Brien’s Tower stands near the highest point and has served as a viewing point for visitors for hundreds of years. Don’t miss out on the rich flora and wildlife as well as the very informative visitor centre.

The Cliffs of Moher are only a few minutes’ drive from Doolin and there is a large car park available at the Visitor Centre. If you prefer not to drive, you can also use the Cliffs of Moher shuttle bus service which serves Doolin regularly.

If you’d prefer to walk, you can take the Cliffs of Moher walking trail which starts in Doolin and brings you all the way to the Cliffs You can do it by yourself or with local guide Pat Sweeney. The guided walk starts every morning at 10am from O’Connor’s pub.

You can also enjoy one of the Cliffs of Moher cruises which leaves from Doolin Pier and offers a different perspective and more spectacular views.

Cliffs of Moher Light and shadow

The Burren

The Burren, from the Gaelic word “Boireann” which means “stony place”, is an area of limestone rock covering imposing majestic mountains, and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. With its innate sense of spiritual peace, extraordinary array of flora and wildlife, megalithic tombs and monuments older than Egypt’s pyramids, the Burren creates a tapestry of colour and a seductively magical aura which few people leave without wanting to experience again.

There are many sites to visit in the Burren, including the iconic Mulloughmore mountain and Poulnabrone dolmen, but there also many other parts of the Geopark which are worth exploring. Often referred to as “the fertile rock”, the Burren is home to an incredible mix of wildflowers, growing within the cracks of the limestone pavement, which attracts visitor from all corners of the world.

Burren landscape

The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are composed of three islands : Inis Mór (Inishmore – “Big Island”), Inis Meáin (Inishman – “Middle island”) and Inis Oírr (Inisheer – “East island”). They are famous for their geological formation, historical monuments and their linguistic and cultural heritage. The Irish language (Gaelic) is still spoken there and in the twenty first century all native born islanders are bilingual in both Irish and English.

Spending a day on the Aran Islands is a wonderful way to disconnect with the modern fast-paced world and to take a step back in time while walking on small roads surrounded by an impressive network of stonewalls built over centuries.

The ferry service from Doolin Pier is the shortest route to the Aran Islands and operates from April until October.

Doolin - Aran Islands - Inisheer - Inis Oirr

Doolin Cave

Doolin Cave is home to “the great stalactite”, which is another natural wonder here in Doolin, and is becoming one of the most important eco-tourism attractions in Ireland. Measuring 7.3 metres (23 feet) in length, it is recognised as being the longest stalactite in the Northern hemisphere. The great stalactite has been opened up to the eyes of the world and is accessible to all at Doolin Cave.

From the moment you descend over 80ft into the first tunnel, with your guide, you will enter a world carved by water. Donning your hardhat, you will follow the rough-hewn route of the early explorers who first discovered the cave. When you enter the stunning, cathedral-like dome that houses the huge stalactite, you will be briefly plunged into a world of primitive darkness. Then, in a flash, you will be awed as the subtly-lit stalactite appears before you. And, far below, a magical stream carries to the hills outside, the water that carved the primeval world around you.

the-great-Stalactite at Doolin Cave

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