The Burren, famous for its barrenness, is one of the most unique places in Ireland. Its limestone terrain, hardy vegetation, and rugged animals, both wild and domestic, make the Burren a contrast. Barren limestone gives way to open grazing land. The limestone cliffs drop abruptly into the ocean. And beauty appears out of nowhere.
Too often travelers drive along the Wild Atlantic Way and through the Burren, gazing at the stone walls that climb the high hills. After a quick stop at Poulnabrone Dolmen, and a longer visit to the Cliffs of Moher, they depart the area with barely a taste of what it offers visitors.
If you can, plan at least 2 days into your Ireland vacation itinerary for The Burren – the area is filled with activities for your entire family!
7 Fun Family Activities in The Burren
A Cliffs of Moher Cruise If you're in this part of Ireland it's likely you've visited the Cliffs of Moher. Take your experience to the next level – sea level – with a Cliffs cruise. Leaving from nearby Doolin Pier the one-hour cruise takes you to the base of the Cliffs of Moher, giving you a completely new view of the cliffs you stood atop not so long ago.
Best for: All ages. Seating is available in the cabin, on the back deck, or even atop the boat. (Read about our Cliffs of Moher Cruise with Doolin2Aran Ferries)
Cliffs Walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Pat Sweeney's family has lived and farmed in the Doolin area for five generations. A walking enthusiast, Pat leads the 8km walk from Pat O'Conner's Pub to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center, sharing the history and folklore of the area as he guides you along pathways through farm fields.
Best for: Children 8+. All participants should have a reasonable level of fitness. (More information and book online at Doolin Cliff Walk.)
Get Active with Lahinch Adventures Just south of the Cliffs of Moher the village of Lahinch has become known as a surfing destination. In addition to surf school, Ben Bennett and his wonderful staff also lead cycling, hill walking, kayaking, rock climbing, and caving adventures. During our visit we practiced a bit of archery, as well. If the weather isn't cooperating indoor climbing walls and archery ranges are available to begin- or hone- your skills.
Best for: Children 7+ or as strength/ skill allow. (More information and booking inquiries at Lahinch Adventures.)
Carggaunowen – the Living Past Experience Stroll through thousands of years of Ireland history at an attraction very few tourists have even heard of. All through the park are hands on experiences, ‘sweet, adorable' animals, re-creations and historical artifacts that will convince everyone that history is cool!
Best for: all ages. (Read about our visit to Craggaunowen.)
Burren Nature Sanctuary At the northernmost edge of the Burren in County Galway , the Burren Nature Sanctuary is a natural wonderland designed for exploration. While walking the sanctuary pathways you'll encounter friendly domesticated animals, a famine village, a disappearing lake, and a fairy woodland – to name just a few of the attractions both natural and designed. Kids 12 and under will love the outdoor adventure playground with zipline, mobilis, and tower slide. A soft indoor playground is terrific for toddlers.
Best for: the entire family. The on-site cafe serves fresh, delicious food. And be sure to check the calendar for special events. (Directions, prices, and events at the Burren Nature Sanctuary website.)
Burren Perfumery One of the top selling perfumes in Ireland, Man of Aran, is created in 20 liter batches at this natural and organic perfumery. Beyond the perfumery, which houses the retail store and a short audiovisual presentation, you can explore the gardens, blending room, and soap making room. Perfumes, lotions and soaps are available to sample.
Best for: everyone. Kids can enjoy the grounds and creation rooms, while mom & dad take turns in the perfumery. Older kids will enjoy the audiovisual presentation and the incredible scents. (More information & shop online at The Burren Perfumery.)
Burren Food Trail Enjoy a foodie tour of the Burren! Go from farm to table as you explore everything from goat and pork farms to ice cream and chocolates.
Best for: everyone. (More information, locations, and map at Burren Food Trail website)
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Doolin Inn and Hostel.