Fáilte Ireland has unveiled the first viewing points along the Burren Discovery Trail, a new looped route off the Wild Atlantic Way designed to encourage visitors to explore more and stay longer in the Burren.
Developed with an investment of €340,000 from Fáilte Ireland, the 95km Burren Discovery Trail takes visitors through the Burren Highlands in Co. Clare and Lowlands in Co. Galway encouraging them to engage with the stories of each local area and explore the many wonderful towns and villages in the region.
The Burren Discovery Trail is one of the catalyst projects identified through Fáilte Ireland’s Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher which was published earlier this year. The plan aims to create a sustainable tourism destination by extending the tourism season and spreading business across all parts of the region over the next five years.
Commenting on the Burren Discovery Trail, Miriam Kennedy, Head of the Wild Atlantic Way at Fáilte Ireland, said:
“The Burren is famous for its stunning karst natural landscape but it is also a living environment with its own unique culture and traditions. The Burren Discovery Trail was designed to bring the stories of the region to life and encourage visitors to explore more of the area and stay longer. With the support of Clare and Galway County Councils, the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Coillte, we’re delighted to unveil the first of our new viewing points, which will enhance the visitor experience and increase dwell time, supporting revenue generation and job creation in local communities across the region.”
Leonard Cleary, Director of Service at Clare County Council, said “Clare County Council is delighted to work in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, other statutory bodies and the local tourism industry and community on the Burren Discovery Trail. This project delivers on the Clare Tourism Strategy 2030 and aims to distribute visitors across the wider North Clare area for the economic and social benefit of local towns and villages.”
Liam Hanrahan, Director of Services at Galway County Council said:
“The continued protection of the Burren and uncovering unique stories associated with this part of Galway, Galway Bay and Clare underpins this project. The Burren Discovery Trail recognises the international reputation of the Burren and offers visitors additional reasons to visit, providing clear connected alternative routes throughout the Burren. In particular, we welcome how our towns and villages are to the fore in maps and promotion and we trust visitors will stay and spend in local businesses as a result. It’s an exciting opportunity for continued partnership with Fáilte Ireland, Clare County Council, the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), other statutory bodies and the local communities and tourism industry, to ensure the success of the trail, in its aim to both protect and invite people to experience and stay in the Burren.”
Nuala Mulqueeney, Managing Director of the Aillwee Cave & Birds of Prey Centre in The Burren and Geraldine Enright, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, Co-Chairs of the Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher, said:
“We’re delighted to see the Burren Discovery Trail come to fruition. A catalyst project in the Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher, it will help distribute visitors more evenly across the Burren and encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more within the region.”
The theme of the trail is mythology and folklore. Constructed of the same Corten Steel as the Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points, each viewing point along the trail features a doorway interpreting the Dolman, a signature image of The Burren. Storyboards highlight the unique stories and flora of the local area as well as follow on steps encouraging visitors to explore the route further.
Viewing points have been installed across the Burren Highlands in Co. Clare in Lisdoonvarna, Corofin, Gragan’s Wood, Corkscrew Hill and Kilfenora and further viewing points will be installed across the Burren Lowlands in Co. Galway over the coming weeks, ensuring the trail is market ready for the beginning of the 2022 tourism season.
The Burren Discovery Trail will be promoted on www.discoverireland.ie and a visitor map is available for local businesses to use. Fáilte Ireland is working with businesses in the region to maximise the tourism opportunities the trail presents and a motif celebrating the unique culture of the region has been created for businesses to use across their websites and marketing materials along with an Interpretation Toolkit.
For more information on the Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher, visit www.failteireland.ie.
Pictured above: At one of the viewing points along the route in Lisdoonvara, Co. Clare are (Front) Margaret Jenkins, Manager Wild Atlantic Way Failte Ireland, Siobhan King, Project Officer Failte Ireland and PJ Ryan Cathaoirleach Clare County Council with Deirdre O’Shea, Head of Tourism, Clare County Council, Enda McNamra, Senior Executive Engineer , John O’Malley, Senior Executive Engineer, West Clare MD and Birgitta Curtin, Burren Smokehouse.