I managed to mark another tick on my list of ‘Places I Want To Go In Ireland’ this morning with our visit to ‘Burren National Park‘ in County Clare, Ireland. It was somewhere which has intrigued me ever since the first time I read about it on Google, it was described as a ‘Lunar-like landscape of rock and cliffs with 7 walking trails, woodland, otters, mink and lizards.’ I just knew it would also be somewhere that the kids would love to explore.
To be honest, my research about the Burren National Park didn’t go beyond trying to figure where to park, which if you’re wondering is wherever you can find a space in the lay-bys. My advice would be to get there first thing, we’ve found that in Ireland, Sunday mornings are the quietest with people either being at mass or the tourists are not quiet awake just yet. This meant we were able to nab ourselves a parking spot, which a couple of hours later would have been slightly more difficult. In the Summer months though they do put on a minus to bring you over, which you can read more about over on their website.
There are a few different trails to choose from, but we decided to take the white one as it was only 15km, 40 minutes long and classed as a moderate walk which I thought was ideal for the kids. It was also a nature trail which we soon discovered as minutes into the walk we stood to watch a caterpillar climbing over a bright yellow flower, raindrops on another; dragonfly adorn a stone and fields full of wildflowers.
The kids soon took back their moaning of how boring the journey there would be (mainly a certain 10-year-old who can’t read/play/watch in the car thanks to travel sickness) as the car approach the Burren and all they could see was nothing but rock, and to be honest I thought it just as cool as when I was in Hollywood approaching that famous sign for the first time. In a country where there is nothing but green fields for miles, it was a completely different scenery to soak in.
It is said that you should wear walking boots and I agree, we just about got away with this terrain in our trainers, but I wouldn’t recommend it, I spent our time walking over these rocks fearing that one of the kids may twist their ankles. It wasn’t entirely like this, but one thing for sure is it’s not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers, and I wouldn’t recommend kids younger than mine unless they are experienced, all-terrain walkers. I look forward to going back with mine as they get older so we can do the more challenging trails, obviously this time with walking boots.
The view we got rewarded with after half-hour of walking was priceless; there was a scene which reached far out over County Clare taking in the sight of the Lough Gealáin at the same time.
We were also greeted with incredible views as we walked through the forests, the moss-covered stones walls, rogue butterflies, the gates we had to walk through and stone gaps we had to climb through. I particularly enjoyed walking through the wildflowers, can only imagine how beautiful this gets with each change of the season.
Of course, it took more than 40 minutes to walk what with the kid’s pace, and the fact we regularly stopped to take in the nature around us and for a certain person to take photos, just like the famous quote says ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints’.