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A day's journey from Galway to Doolin taking in some of the highlights of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.
You will not have time to visit all places mentioned, so have a look at these places and choose what interests you!
From Galway take the N18 (direction: Limerick) to Kilcolgan.
At Kilcolgan turn right onto N67 (direction: Ballyvaughan, Cliffs of Moher)
First place of note travelling from Galway towards the Burren is Dunguaire Castle on the shore at Kinvarra. This is a simple "tower house" type castle, which you might want to explore for 20 minutes.
Continue into Kinvarra: a pretty town on the shores of Galway Bay.
There are two notable festivals held in the town: the Fleadh na gCuach - Cuckoo Festival - a celebration of traditional irish music, which takes place at the beginning of May.
Towards the end of August the Cruinniu na mBad - the Gathering of the Boats - celebrates the use of the Galway Hooker which used to transport turf to Kinvara.
Note: Farmer's Market in Kinvara on Fridays 10am-2pm, Easter through end of October.
Galway - Kinvarra : approximately 35-45minutes
This little visitor centre holds a wealth of information about the Burren; you'll find it on the main street of Kinvarra, right-hand side (grey stone building).
Open Friday morning from 10am-2pm to coincide with the Farmers' Market.
Continue on the N67 through Kinvarra towards Ballyvaughan.
This ruined abbey lies in a peaceful valley not far from Galway Bay; turn inland at Bellharbour and take first left past the thatched holiday cottages.
Spend 10-15 minutes admiring the beautiful carvings of flowers and exploring this small site. Free admission.
After visiting Corcomroe Abbey, return to the N67, and continue along the coast road to Ballyvaughan Village. Another pretty location by the sea, this village has several craft shops, pubs and cafes.
Ballyvaughan makes a good base from which to explore the Burren and surrounding area.
Kinvarra - Ballyvaughan : approximately 25-35 minutes.
From Ballyvaughan, continue on the N67 (direction Lisdoonvarna), and a couple of minutes drive from the village, turn left onto the R480; you will see the signs for Aillwee Cave and Burren Birds of Prey, which are located on the left-hand side a couple of minutes drive up this road.
There is a 25-minute guided tour through the Cave. A cafe offers hot and cold snacks and drinks and there is a farm shop selling local produce: cheese and delicious not-too-sweet fudge, plus other goods made in Ireland.
You will also find the Bird of Prey Centre at Aillwee.
Flight displays take place twice a day: 12pm and 3pm, and are more frequent in the summer months: 12pm, 2pm and 4pm - dependent on favourable weather.
You can also arrange a "hawk walk" where you will take a hawk out into the woods at Aillwee, fly him/her and learn about these beautiful birds.
Highly recommended: this is a firm family favourite of ours!
Return to the road and continue driving along the R480 (couple of steep tight bends ahead of you) and you will come to one of the oldest monuments in the Burren.
Poulnabrone is probably one of the most instantly recognisable images of Ireland. It is a neolithic tomb dating back more than 5,000 years. When archaeologists examined the site, they found the remains of men, women and children numbering between 16 and 22 individuals.
There is a parking area and information board. Expect to spend approximately 10 minutes here.
Please respect the site and keep outside the barriers surrounding the tomb.
And Please do not build any "mini cairns" or pick flowers: please respect the Burren Code.
A little farther down the road on the right-hand side lies Caherconnell Fort: this is a very fine example of prehistoric fort, of which there are many scattered across the Burren.
Although little remains of the fort, there is an audio/visual presentation, shop and cafe on site.
Sheep dog demonstrations also take place near the Fort.
Continue down this road until you come to the junction with the R476. You will see Leamaneh Castle (ruin on private property) on your right as you approach the junction.
Turn right towards Kilfenora.
Ballyvaughan - Leamaneh : approximately 30-35 minutes.
If you have time, you might like to take a diversion to Burren Perfumery (approximately 90 minutes).
From Caherconnell Fort car park, turn right and take the next left-hand turn to Carran ((note: this lane is very narrow: room for 1 car only). At the bottom of this lane, turn left onto main road, and take first right; you will see signs for Burren Perfumery, which is 5 minutes drive from the main road.
This is a super little place where you can purchase small gifts to take home: soaps, candles, perfume. There's also a little cafe on site, open during peak season only. Check web-site for opening times.
Return to Carran from the perfumery, and turn left, passing Cassidy's pub on your left-hand side. Continue down this road to the junction with the R480.
Turn left onto R480 and a short distance down this road you will reach the junction with R476, where you will see Leamaneh Castle on the right - a ruin on private property. There is space at the roadside to stop and take photos.
Turn right towards Kilfenora.
At Kilfenora you will find the Burren Centre, where there are displays and audio visual presentations about the Burren. There is also a shop and cafe.
Next door you will find the tiny ruined Cathedral which has a fine display of intricately carved High Crosses.
Leamaneh - Kilfenora : approximately 10-15 minutes.
From Kilfenora take the R476 towards Lisdoonvarna, and continue onto the R478 to the Cliffs of Moher. You will find a large parking area on the right-hand side and pedestrian crossing to the Visitor Centre and the viewing points.
Best time of day to visit the Cliffs is either first thing in the morning, or last thing in the evening, when it will be much quieter.
If you don't have time for the Cliffs after your days journey, visit them first thing following day.
From Lisdoonvarna, take R478 towards Cliffs of Moher, then turn right for Doolin village, which is signed from the R478.
Kilfenora - Cliffs of Moher : approximately 35-45 minutes