Geosites are areas of geological importance. There are 9 sites in the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, each is accessible and tells a part of the story of the geology of the Burren.
The Stone, Water, Ice publication is a guide to each site and is available from Visitor Centres throughout the Burren.
Strewn with rocks from far away places, this shoreline provides several clues to the movement of ancient ice sheets across the Burren landscape. Pink coloured granite rocks from Connemara to the north and purple sandstone rocks from the Slieve Aughty Mountains to the east; share the shoreline with the native grey limestone rocks of the Burren.
The smooth limestone pavement of the upper shore is embedded with the fossils of creatures that lived here 330 million years ago, while the brown coloured, pitted, deep creviced limestone (biokarst) of the lower shore is being carved by living marine organisms.
GPS N 53 09.496 W 9 05.459
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Golden sand dunes, storm beaches of boulders stacked together by powerful waves, rocks rich in ancient marine fossils and smooth lime encrusted stones in the river bed of the Caher river – the only surface river in the northern Burren, are all to be discovered at Fanore Beach. Together with its diversity of flora, birdlife, butterflies and moths – and evidence of prehistoric hunters-gatherers living amongst the dunes, it is easy to understand why this beach is a Special Area of Conservation.
GPS N 53 07.037 W 9 17.244
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Experience the full force of the power of the Atlantic Ocean, as it crashes into the land, and see the massive limestone blocks that have been thrown up onto the shoreline. Imagine the great ice sheets that moved across this land between 25,000 and 12,000 years ago, plucking rocks and boulders from the landscape, carrying them along and then dropping them as the weather warmed and the ice melted. Spot these huge glacial erratics scattered around the fields of the Burren.
GPS N 53 00.923 W 9 24.295
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As a special protected area (SPA) for seabirds the Cliffs are home to over 30,000 pairs of seabirds. Internationally significant numbers of both Guillemots and Razorbill can be found here along with Puffins, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Peregrine Falcons and Choughs.
Imagine the time taken to create the mighty and formidable Cliffs of Moher. The sand, silt and mud layers of the cliff face tell us about the local environment that existed over 300 million years ago when they were laid down in an ancient river delta. Stand on the cliff top and experience the powerful energy of the Atlantic Ocean’s wind and weather which has carved those layers of sand, silt and mud into cliffs. Examine the fossil trails in the flagstones and picture the unidentified, wormlike creature that made them as it moved across the soft sediments over 300 million years ago before they were hardened into rock.
GPS N 52 58.313 W 9 25.592
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Lisdoonvarna (Lios Dúin Bhearna, meaning the Fort of the Gap) is set within a landscape of steep shale hills, interspersed with the deep gorges of the Aille, Gowlaun and Kilmoon rivers. Where the upper shale layer meets the underlying limestone a number of mineral springs rich in sulphur, iron, magnesium and calcium emerge, providing Lisdoonvarna with the health-giving water that has attracted visitors to the town for over 150 years.
GPS N 53 01.527 W 9 17.358
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Visit the Burren National Park information Point at Clare Heritage Centre, Corofin National Park for further information, free walks, talks and activities. Guided walks for groups can be booked in advance.
The information point is open April: Wednesday to Sunday 10-5 / May, June and September: everyday 10-5 / July and August: everyday 10-6
Please visit www.burrennationalpark.ie for more information.
Burren National Park Walks
Download Map: Burren National Park Walks
Follow the Nature Trail and Walking Routes to view limestone pavement, calcareous grassland, hazel scrub, woodland, turloughs, lakes, petrifying springs, cliffs and fen. Your journey of discovery will lead you towards the folded limestone layers of Mullaghmore – a mountain buckled and warped by ancient movements of the Earth’s crust.
GPS N 53 00.483 W 9 00.099
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Explore the shoreline of this mysterious lake – where no streams flow in or out. Seek out the unique karst limestone features of freshwater lakes such as the peculiar egg-box shaped solution hollows. Here you stand between the ancient limestone pavements of the Gort lowlands which extend eastwards towards the Slieve Aughty mountains and the younger limestone hills which rise up to the west.
GPS N 53 01.325 W 8 55.479
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Walk the quiet roads of the Carron Polje – the largest karst depression in northwest Europe. This large hollow can be filled, very quickly, with a seasonal lake (Carron Turlough) when rainfall is high and groundwater wells up through underground springs. As the season dries it can empty just as quickly, as the water drains underground through subterranean channels and swallow holes. Explore the Carron Loop Walking trail over Termon Mountain, with its fantastic views across the Carron Turlough, and visit the historical monuments of Termon Cross, Temple Cronin Medieval Church and St Fachtnan’s Holy Well
Carron Turlough Loop
Trailhead: Opposite Cassidys Pub, Carron
Services: Services available seasonally at Carron, year round at Corrofin
Terrain: Short section of regional road, mostly minor country roads
To Suit: Medium levels of fitness, buggy friendly
Download Map: Carron Turlough Loop Walk
GPS N 53 02.111 W 9 04.605
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Pause for a while at Ireland’s most ancient and iconic archaeological monument. For almost 6,000 years, Poulnabrone portal tomb, built by the local Burren community of that time, has stood proud within this rocky landscape. Look closely at the rocks that surround you and discover the fossils of the marine creatures that lived in the warm, shallow, tropical sea that covered this area approximately 345-326 million years ago – before dinosaurs, flowering plants or man had even evolved.
GPS N 53 02.922 W 9 08.404
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