The Burren Walk with Ireland Music Tours

The Burren Walk with Ireland Music Tours

By Donal Ni Dhonaill, Ireland.

I was one of the ‘natives’ who participated on the tour this year in March. The ‘non musical’ highlight of the week for me was the Burren Walk. We met with ‘our guide’ Shane Connolly in Ballyvaughan village just before 10. What followed was a most entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable 3 hour ramble through the heart of that beautiful region. For the uninitiated, the Burren, situated in North Clare on the Western Seaboard of Ireland is a unique landscape covering over 100 square miles. The region is visually similar to a moonscape yet shelters a mixture of flora and archaeological sites which have attracted visitors for centuries.

Like most of Ireland, the Burren was under a tropical ocean over 360 million years ago resulting in the formation of a layer of limestone. Later tectonic movement raised a section of this ancient seabed into a great plateau which is now known as the Burren. The Ice Age ploughed through the region, widening the river valleys and depositing boulder clay.  After the Ice Age the landscape went through periods of tundra and different types of woodland. Man arrived over 6,000 years ago, cleared the forests and set in motion soil erosion. Centuries of weathering has produced a terrain of fissured limestone pavements, disappearing lakes, terraced mountains, and underground cave systems.

So back to our guide, Shane – and the walk. He is a native of the region, and a cattle and a sheep farmer in the neighbouring town land of Ballyvaughan. He has a diploma in Archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Degree in Agribusiness and Business Studies. As such no better man to take you on a ramble and give a glimpse into the beauty of the region. We had spectacular weather that morning. The walk was moderately paced and Shane provided an entertaining commentary and explanation of the history, wildlife, archaeology and flora and fauna.  The highlight was when he produced a bottle of Bushmills at the summit which was promptly passed around and emptied. Shane enjoys good conversation and a laugh, which made the tour quite unique. A dedicated bachelor his interests include place names, stone wall construction and folklore !

 

Another participant produced a cake of homemade banana bread, which provided welcomed sustenance for the descent, and after the walk we retired to Monks pub in Ballyvaughan, for some chowder and a pint.  Just perfect.   Definitely a most enjoyable part of the tour.