The UNESCO Global Geopark
Stand on 330 million-year-old limestone pavements of fossils, clints and grykes, filled with flowers from the Artic, Alps and Mediterranean growing side by side. Listen to the Atlantic waves crash into a vast network of unseen caves beneath your feet. Feel the awesome power of the Cliffs of Moher as they rise majestically from an ocean teeming with life. Imagine the lives of the people of bygone cultures who built the ancient tombs, forts, churches and walls all around you. Immerse yourself in the wonderful energy of traditional Irish music. Taste the delicious food produced from this ‘fertile rock’, and you will realise why this extraordinary place has been awarded the prestigious UNESCO Global Geopark Status.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are internationally recognised places with unique geology, landscapes, history and culture. Geoparks are managed with a focus on education, conservation, sustainable tourism and community engagement.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher region have been a Geopark since 2011. Not only does the region have the geological and cultural importance that is required for UNESCO Global Geopark status, but it also has an all-important network of organisations that oversee tourism as well as education and conservation efforts. The Mission Statement shows the type of work it engages in:
The Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark supports people and organisations to work together to ensure a cared-for landscape, a better-understood heritage, more sustainable tourism, a vibrant community and strengthened livelihoods.
A very important aspect of UNESCO Global Geoparks programmes is sustainable tourism development. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher already have a very well-developed tourism offering, with the Cliffs of Moher attracting over one million visitors per year and the adjacent Burren having a National Park, visitor centres, managed archaeological sites, numerous walking and cycling trails, top quality food and accommodation and of course, the hugely successful Wild Atlantic Way.
The approach of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark is to work with the tourism sector to develop an ethos and practice of sustainability. With the Burren Ecotourism Network, the Geopark is raising the standard of sustainable practices among tourism businesses across the entire destination of the Geopark and across all types of businesses. To achieve this, we have developed the Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism.
The Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism and its supporting training and mentoring programme is essentially a framework that will allow businesses in a destination to come together to build a sustainable tourism offering, the framework also allows each business that engages in the code to develop an environmental action plan.
The sustainability of the businesses within a destination along with the sustainability of products and experiences they offer contribute hugely to the sustainability of the destination as a whole. Through a partnership with the Burren Ecotourism Network, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark have become a premier internationally-recognised sustainable tourism destination.
For more information visit the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark website.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher region have become internationally recognised, though plenty of people, some 800,000 per year, have been aware of this hidden gem on the west coast of Ireland for a long time. Not only does the region have the geological importance that is required of a Geopark, but it also has the all-important network of organisations that oversee the tourism in the area as well as the education and conservation efforts. For more information visit Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark website.
The Burren, a remarkable place where geology, ecology, archaeology, agriculture, history, food and traditional Irish music are deeply rooted in the landscape and culture of the region. It is a landscape of hills, valleys, plateaus, cliffs, beaches, turloughs, lakes, streams, depressions, and caves – all of which provide us with a truly remarkable window into the geological history of North Clare and the West of Ireland.
The Burren is one of the largest and most accessible Karst regions in the world. It is the only place on the planet that Arctic, Mediterranean and Alpine plants grow side-by-side. It also has geological and historical wonders and a rich community of people full of passion and pride for this wonderful place.
The Burren National Park
The Burren National Park is located in the south-eastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Parkland was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, calcareous grassland, hazel scrub, ash/hazel woodland, turloughs, lakes, petrifying springs, cliffs and Fen. Approximately 75% of all plant species found in Ireland can be found in the Burren including 23 of Ireland 27 native orchid species.
The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher rise over 200 metres above the ocean and run for over eight kilometres along the Atlantic Ocean on County Clare’s west coast. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience includes over 800m of cliff edge paths and viewing areas, the gothic style 19th-century O’Briens Tower near the highest point of the cliffs and the eco-friendly underground visitor centre building containing visitor services and facilities, gift shop, restaurant & coffee shop and the award-winning Atlantic Edge Exhibition.
The Cliffs of Moher are a specially protected area (SPA) for seabirds under EU and Irish legislation and during the nesting season are home to over 30,000 pairs of seabirds including a number of protected species. Internationally significant numbers of both Guillemots and Razorbill can be found here along with Puffins, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Peregrine Falcons and Choughs.
A geosite is a location that has particular geological or geomorphological significance and it may also have cultural or heritage significance. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark geosites have been selected for their accessibility as well as their geological and cultural significance, providing ease of access for visitors and educational groups. See all Burren Geosites
Location of The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark
The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark is an area in the North of County Clare, Ireland.
See Getting here for further information.