Burren National Park Sunday Walk
It has been a while since we had a small adventure, and it has definitely been missed. Over the past few weeks we have been de-cluttering the stuff in our lives, just items we have hung onto, for really no reason. So the last few weekends have been all about, donating, repurposing, and giving away lots of the stuff we own. As a consequence we haven’t gotten out to do what we really want, which is walking, hiking through all of the amazing places we are surrounded by. On a side note, us de-cluttering our lives has really been prompted by our move to wanting to spend more time outdoors, the less time and worry over stuff the more time outside – so yeah, and yeah to more de-cluttering.
One of the walks on our very long to do list is actually quite close to us, the Burren National Park is situated in the south-east of the Burren, Co Clare, which is just about a fifty minute drive from Galway City. The trail head is at these co-ordinates Latitude: 52.996707 / Longtitude: -9.0372419
It is a little bit tricky to find, and the roads are quite narrow so I would definitely suggest using a GPS to locate, and as their website suggests park on a lay-by when you arrive.
The start of the trail is easily to find and shows the various trails marked out to follow. We decided on the blue route which is a 7.5 km walk. It is classed as difficult and it is best if you have the right walking gear, in particular boots. The walk loops around the summit of Mullaghmore Mountain, passing along the shore of Lough Gealain, through large expanses of open limestone pavement, some grasslands and hazel woodland.
Relatively it is quite a small mountain, the whole trail has a climb of 140 metres, and on a sunny day it is the most spectacular landscape. I was completely mesmerised by the interplay of light on the limestone paving, starkly bouncing off the lake, as the odd cloud created shadows making everything look like an upside down world.
Initially, we followed the markers, but then somehow we missed one, and ending up looping off in the wrong direction, a minor clue might have been that we ran out of blue markers and then had to hop a wall, but it was an adventure after all.
After walking a bit more than we should have, Alan consulted his map and realised we had over shot where we should have been, which meant we had to scale up a vertical grass area and go over the top of Mullaghmore, not go around at all.
So doing my best wild mountain goat impression, I followed Alan, a bit red faced up and over a few rock faces until eventually we relocated the blue trail. Easy peasy!!!
Mind you though, there were a few people who did exactly as we did, missing the turn to the left we should have followed, so we weren’t the only ones heading over the summit :).
In all the walk took about three and a half hours, and was thoroughly enjoyable, my imagination ran riot, with the landscape, trees, cows standing looking down at us from the top of the mountain, the wild goats who gave us a wide berth and the standing rocks, it was like walking through the pages of a fantasy novel from inside my head. On a sunny day there is no better place to be.