The Burren Way, Day 1: Liscannor to Doolin

We’ve left Dublin and headed to the west coast of Ireland for a four day hiking excursion. We spent a day traveling to Liscannor which is a tiny town on the west coast, south of Galway and at the southern end of the Cliffs of Moher. We took the train from Dublin which was a lovely experience.

The bus from Galway to Liscannor was better than expected, even with a minor cattle jam. Both the rail and bus systems were easy to navigate and fairly inexpensive. If we come back to Ireland, I’d definitely consider using them again rather than renting a car.

In Liscannor, we had a lovely seafood dinner at a local pub (Vaughans) and then began getting set up to to hike the next day along the cliffs and into Doolin. The Cliffs of Moher are a popular tourist destination on the west coast. They rise 724 feet from the North Atlantic and you’re probably more familiar with them as The Cliffs of Insanity. They supposedly offer great views of the Irish coast and Aran Isles. Why supposedly? Because we couldn’t see a thing. The forecast called for rain early with it clearing out by the afternoon. It was a heavy drizzle as we left the B&B and it never really let up during the 3 hours we were hiking. Visibility was almost nil. We could see the edge of the cliff and not much else. In some ways, it probably made the hike quicker, as we didn’t stop to take many pictures.

Aside from the weather, the hike was interesting. It was definitely the scenic route, with a long detour along the coast, before heading uphill and onto the trail proper. The official trail is very narrow and bordered by slate slabs on one side and pasture fences on the other. There is an unofficial trail a few feet closer to the cliff edge that is sometimes easier to pass, but definitely more dangerous. The design of the main trail makes it easy for water to pool in places and it can be incredibly muddy. The stiles were made out of the same slate as the trail border which made them tricky to climb over.

At the Visitors Centre, we decided that another 2-3 hours of hiking in the rain and mud wasn’t really how we wanted to spend our vacation. Thankfully, there was a shuttle from the Cliffs to Doolin which we could grab. We took the bus in and spent the afternoon walking around Doolin, writings postcards, and getting dry. The town is a bit spread out but home to a number of B&Bs and a couple of pubs and is best known for it’s traditional Irish music. Dinner (O’Connor’s) as always was very good and the music being played was an interesting mix. Some lively songs mixed in with some slower, sadder fare.

We’re hiking from Doolin to Fanore tomorrow. The forecast calls for more rain but we’ll persevere! More pictures from today’s hike here.


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