Barefield, The Burren and Beyond
Start and Finish in Barefield
The 2024 Tour de Burren will START and FINISH in Barefield – a small and pretty rural village and townland in county Clare. Barefield is located on the R458 road and is skirted by the M18 national primary road connecting Ennis and Gort.
A typical Clare village that is the centre of a busy farming community, Barefield has two shops for basic provisions and two pubs. The village is in the heartland of Irish traditional music and dancing and is well-known for the 20-piece Barefield Ceili Band, which has played many concerts and ceilis at home and abroad, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and the prestigious Milwaukee Irish Fest.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception sits at the heart of the village, dating to 1874 and featuring a gabled front, leaded glass and timber double leaf doors. The church interior includes beautiful original features including a marble alter and memorials and parquet floor.
16.8km from the M18 motorway
5.6km from Ennis
16.5km from the Burren
Vast, hauntingly beautiful and full of fascinating features, the Burren is a karst landscape of bedrock with an expansive cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone. From cliffs, caves and fossils to ancient rock formations and fascinating archaeological sites, the Burren is a natural world of wonder. The Burren also showcases a rich array of birdlife, flora and fauna. Walkers, hikers, birders and cyclists are drawn to, and constantly inspired by, the strange beauty of this unique landscape.
17.3 km from Barefield
A 180-metre limestone hill in Kilnaboy, Clare – Mullaghmore is part of a hiking trail called the Mullaghmore Loop in the Burren National Park. It is one of the most scenic, peaceful and unspoiled areas of natural beauty in Ireland. It’s a tough hike – but the views are mighty and unforgettable.
Father Ted’s House
If you’re a fan of the legendary Father Ted TV series, don’t miss catching a glimpse of ‘The Parochial House’ made famous in the show. The actual house is officially known as Glanquin Farmhouse and is in Lackareagh, county Clare. The house is privately owned though and is not open to the public, so please be respectful if you’re driving or cycling by.
22km from Barefield
Just a 20-minute car drive from Ennis near the village of Ruan, Dromore Woods is situated in the south-east of the Burren and measures around 400 hectares. It is home to hundreds of different wildlife species and offers seven way-marked walking trails – so there’s something for everyone. Dromore Wood Loop is a self-guided 6.4-kilometre trail, while the lake is a popular fishing spot.
Slieve Carran Nature Reserve is part of the East Burren Complex Special Area of Conservation and is a significant Early Medieval heritage site. To spend time here is to connect with nature and to retrace the steps of our ancestors. As you explore, you’ll see plants that would normally grow only on the snow-capped Alps alongside those from the Mediterranean. You can also spot Ravens, Peregrine Falcons and Kestrels.
The Burren Lowlands
Discover this region of significant culture and landscape heritage, stretching from the Slieve Aughty mountain range to the Burren Highlands, and from Kinvara to Crusheen. The region is studded with castles and monuments, including Thoor Ballylee – the ancient home of the Irish poet WB Yeats. The Lowlands offers unlimited outdoor adventure – from paddle boarding, hiking and cycling to fishing and golf.
Michael Cusack Centre
A treasure chest of history alive, the Michael Cusack Centre is a celebration of the founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Michael Cusack, born in 1847. Located in Cusack’s home village of Carran, the Centre commemorates his life and memory through a guided tour and immersive multimedia presentation featuring unique holographic projections of the great man.
Step back in time and experience one of Ireland’s most iconic archaeological monuments and the second-most visited location in the Burren, after the Cliffs of Moher. The Poulnabrone Dolmen is the oldest dated megalithic monument in Ireland – dating to the Neolithic period (approximately 4200 BC to 2900 BC). Situated on the high Burren limestone plateau, the Dolmen comprises three standing portal stones supporting a heavy horizontal capstone.
A pretty spa town in Clare, Lisdoonvarna is famous for its music and festivals and each year the town hosts its annual Matchmaking Festival – a traditional event that is over 165 years old. The town also has a reputation as a foodie hot spot which is highlighted during the Burren Slow Food Festival. The town also has Ireland’s only Michelin-starred pub.
This postcard-pretty village lies on the coast of North Clare looking out over Galway Bay. Originally a fishing village it’s an Irish heritage town and is a great base from which to explore the Burren and beyond. There are many self-guided walks in and around Ballyvaughan, including the Ballyvaughan Wood Loop, the Black Head Loop, the Carron Loop, and the Burren Way. Make sure to sample some fresh local seafood when you visit and take a stop at the village’s famous 6th generation Irish Whiskey Bar – O’Loclainn’s.
Doolin is located on the edge of the Burren and is a colourful, vibrant and characterful village that offers some of the area’s best accommodation, eateries and local shops. It is also the home of traditional Irish music – so there’s sessions and craic to be enjoyed here every night! From Doolin you can also take a ferry trip over to any of the three Aran Islands or enjoy a scenic 360-degree cruise around the Cliffs of Moher.
Cliffs of Moher
A Signature Discovery Point and Ireland’s Best Visitor Attraction, the Cliffs of Moher are 320 million years in the making, stretching for 8km and rising 214 metres. Here history, geology and natural beauty come together to make a truly unforgettable experience. You can view the Cliffs by following one of several cliff top trails which will treat you to breathtaking, panoramic views of Galway Bay, Connemara and the Aran Islands.