The Burren is an area of limestone pavement in County Clare, forming a natural rock garden extending over 200 square kilometres. The rock crevices, locally called scailps, support a huge range of plants. On this wild flower holiday you will discover the Large Butterwort and Burren Orchid, otherwise only to be found in Spain, and the rare Burren Saxifrage, Saxifraga rosacea. Growing in profusion are Bloody Cranesbills, Spring Gentians, Mountain Avens and a wide range of orchids, including O’Kelly’s. We will see Puffins and Kittiwakes on the Cliffs of Moher and climb Black Head to a fine Stone Age ring fort. Our wonderful hotel in Lisdoonvarna provides excellent Irish food and hospitality and the local Irish smoked salmon is fabulous!
Easy day walks although terrain can be uneven
The Burren is an area of limestone pavement in County Clare, forming a natural rock garden extending over 200 square kilometres. Walking over this pavement is a unique experience in itself. The rock crevices, called scailps in Ireland, support a huge range of plants - Spring Gentians, Bloody Cranesbills, Mountain Avens, the white Burnet Rose, Rosa pimpernelifolia and Potentilla fruticosa are amongst the most colourful. The Burren Orchid, Neotinea maculata, mainly seen in Spain; Saxifraga rosacea (now extinct in Britain) and the large Butterwort, Pinguicula grandiflora, from the mountains of south-west Europe, plus many other plant anomalies, grow together in great profusion, making the Burren flora unique. We shall explore the rugged coastline with its views of the Aran Islands and of the Connemara Mountains across Galway Bay. The Moher cliffs are excellent for seabirds, including Puffins and Kittiwakes. We may also climb Black Head to see one of the best examples of a Stone Age ring fort. Our comfortable hotel in Lisdoonvarna is an ideal centre for our exploration and offers excellent Irish food and hospitality. We will have a chance to taste, and maybe take home, some justly famed local smoked salmon.
+32 71 84 54 80
Présente le mardi et vendredi toute la journée
Mon 17th May - Fri 21st May 2021 - 806€
Mon 23rd May - Fri 27th May 2022 - 943
-Accommodation: Included in the price of holiday. We will be staying at a splendid local hotel which is always extremely popular with group members.
-Food: All included except pub/picnic lunches.
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
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Bruce Middleton lives in Hampshire and is a botanist, ecologist, wildlife artist, wildlife photographer and a honey bee keeper. He has worked for a range of voluntary organisations such as: British Trust for Volunteers and the British Trust for Ornithology. Bruce has had over 25 years in landscape and species conservation management working for West Sussex County Council, Sussex Downs Conservation Board, South Downs Joint Committee and the South Downs National Park Authority. He is currently a freelance wildlife Consultant and surveyor. He has an all-round interest in natural history who loves botanising all over the British Isles and Europe.
During the late morning your tour leader and our local driver will meet those of you arriving by air, at Shannon Airport, and offer a 1-hour minibus transfer to Lisdoonvarna, where we will be staying for four nights in a comfortable village hotel. Some members of our party may prefer to make their own way to the hotel. Check-in is not usually available until 2pm but if arriving earlier, there will be somewhere to store your luggage until we return from the afternoon excursion. Lunch will be enjoyed at a café before our afternoon walk behind the village of Ballyvaughan along a track leading to Cappanawalla, a mountain of shattered limestone pavement. Here we hope to see, in a wet flush, a prolific colony of the Large-flowered Butterwort (Pinguicula grandiflora). It is also a good place to observe the Burnet Rose (Rosa pimpernelifolia), growing from the scailps (rock crevices) and Mountain Everlasting or Cat’s-foot (Antennaria dioica). In fine weather, there can be plenty of butterflies on the hillside, including Wood White, Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Dingy Skipper and the calls of Cuckoos can be heard.
Today we drive along the coast road to Poll Salach, a place where the pavement runs into the sea and every scailp seems to have something different in it. We should find Thrift (Armeria maritima), Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum), Goldenrod (Solidago vigaurea) and Spring Sandwort (Minuarta verna) in abundance here and we will search for the very rare and diminutive Pyramidal Bugle (Ajuga pyramidalis).
We will then drive to Black Head, with its lighthouse, where we hope to see the Irish Saxifrage (Saxifraga rosacea) and Mossy Saxifrage (Saxifraga hypnoides).
After a delicious lunch in Ballyvaughan and a short exploration of the village, which is the central hub of The Burren, we then move on to The Rine, a low spit of land jutting into the sea. New finds here will include Sea Milkwort (Glaux maritima), Field Mouse-ear (Cerastium arvense) and Sea Mouse-ear (Cerastium diffusum) growing along a sandy bank. We will also look out for two rare Sea Lavenders (Limonium humile and L. recurvum var. pseudotranswallii) and Sea Arrow-grass (Triglochlin maritimum) in the salt marsh and possibly identify some seaweds too.
On our return to Lisdoonvarna we may have time to visit a marshy peat meadow where an abundance of different species will be found. Here grows another special plant; Irish Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza kerryensis var. occidentalis) as well as the pretty Meadow Thistle (Cirsium dissectum).
Today will drive across The Burren to Slieve Carran National Nature Reserve, where we will hopefully find Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera) and Common Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris) on the pavements as well as Brittle Bladder-fern (Cystopteris fragilis) and Hairy Rock-cress (Arabis hirsuta) at an old hermitage site and Holy well.
We will have lunch at Cassidy’s Pub and Restaurant in nearby Carron, overlooking the glacial turlough valley. Turloughs are winter lakes which almost disappear in the summer.
Next we drive to Mullach Mor, an area of limestone pavement with a rich flora and several turloughs, Loch Gealain is one of the largest and we shall explore the edges of this. Here we should see large patches of Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) and clumps of Black Bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans). If there has been sufficient draw-down of the turlough we may be lucky to find the tiny Fen or Turlough Violet (Viola persicifolia) amongst the Heath Dogviolet (Viola canina) and their hybrids. We must look out for the delicate and distinctive Turlough Dandelion (Taraxacum amarellum), we should also see the Leopard Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. cruenta) and with luck, the white-flowered variant of Common Spotted Orchid, known as O’Kelly’s Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsia var. okellyi).
On the return journey we may have time to visit Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen.
Today we will purchase our picnic lunch in Lisdoonvarna before heading off for a guided tour of Caher Bridge Garden which makes wonderful use of the only river in The Burren limestone landscape, and we will see what an amazing range plants can be nurtured in this seemingly barren landscape. “Anyone with even a cursory interest in gardens and plants could not fail to be impressed; Carl has done an astonishing job in converting a wild hillside into a charming and incredibly well-stocked garden.”
We will have our picnic lunch in a suitable picturesque riverside spot and then make our way towards the little ruined chapel of Formoyle. From here we will walk along part of the Green Road (an old walled stock road which stretches across from Ballyvaughan to join the road to Doolin). Here we will find more of the typical, and beautiful, Burren sight of Spring Gentians (Gentiana verna) with Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala) in addition, we have a good chance of locating the Burren or Dense-flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata) and many more interesting species.
On our last day we will drive along the coast road to Fanore, where we will explore the sand dunes. In the short turf we will look for Irish Eyebright (Euphrasia salisburgensis var. hibernica) and Sea Bindweed (Calystegia soldanella), whilst in the rocks we hope to see Sea Spleenwort (Asplenium maritimum) and we must also look out for Pyramid Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) on the steep dune sides before setting of for a short stop at The Burren Visitor Centre and Cathedral at Kilfenora.
Our final visit will be to the Cliffs of Moher. It is rather spoilt by tourism infrastructure in recent years, we may have to put up with a few coach loads of school parties and tourists. Nevertheless, on a clear day the cliffs are an impressive sight and will offer a chance to enjoy Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Puffins, although views are likely to be quite distant.
Then finally back to catch late afternoon flights home from Shannon Airport.
If you would like to stay on at Lisdoonvarna, we would be delighted to extend your hotel booking. Car hire can also easily be arranged from Shannon Airport or major towns, should you require.