Lord of the Rings Burren Tour
Join us for our relaxing and mystical Lord of the Rings Burren Tour and find out why the Burren inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings!
We will meet you bright and early in Doolin, outside McDermott's Pub where we will get you familiarized with our route for the day and also get you fitted for your bike and helmet. We will then get you into our van to head up to our starting point, just north of Doolin, at the start of the ancient Burren Way green road.
From our starting point, we will be able to see down to the Cliffs of Moher, over to the Aran Islands and north to the Connemara and the Mayo coastline. The ancient road provides us with a quiet cycle in the Burren limestone landscape with only cattle and horses as our companions.
The beginning of our route takes us past the Faunarooska Castle, an ancient round tower dating back to 1641, which unfortunately has collapsed over time.
Next along our route is Pol na Gollum (Hole of Gollum), the longest cave in Ireland at over 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) in length and the third deepest cave in the Republic. It is believed that the Burren landscape and in particular Poll an Gollum inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write the Lord of the Rings. The entrance to Pol na Gollum is a hole a hundred feet deep and about a hundred feet across, at the bottom of which is the actual cave entrance. It is so big that a mature ash tree grows in the hole, and the tree canopy is well below ground level. The cave is also home to the Rock Dove, whose guttural call is similar to that of Gollum's in the famous books. See a short video of the cave here.
We follow the Burren Way trail deeper into the Burren and the karst landscape, taking in the stunning scenery surrounding us before we head down into the beautiful Caher Valley. At the entrance to the valley lies St. Patrick’s Church, which was built in 1870. Across from the church is were we can take a breather by the crystal clear Caher River and take in the surroundings.
The Caher Valley houses a vast number of ancient sites that we will get to see along the way, these include; a fulacht fiadh or cooking place just down past the bridge to the south of the road; the crude, penal chapel of Fermoyle which lies on the northern side, further on and 100 yards uphill - within it are a bullaun stone and an altar slab; and the famine village of Caherbannagh where only the foundations and hearths are visible. Ring forts are found throughout the Valley as well.
As we leave the Caher Valley we will go through the Khyber Pass, so named by the British Military, with staggering views of the surrounding countryside and glimpses of the sea.
After a short cycle on the main road, we head back off onto the trails, this time the Black Head Loop. We cycle up and over until we reach the tip of the coastline where we have a change to get off the bikes and explore a bit by foot. This trail gives us amazing views in Galway Bay and beyond.
Then it's back on the bikes and on to Fanore Beach, a site of special conservation, where we can take a breather on the sandy beach which is home to golden sand dunes, storm beaches of boulders, rocks rich in ancient marine fossils as well as flora, birdlife, butterflies and moths. After a bit of exploration, we pack up and get into the van and head for home.
We have one last treat in store for you on the drive home, as we take the scenic Coast Road back to Doolin - views of the sea as well as the Cliffs of Moher rising out of the waves will cap off your day with us in the Burren, giving you lasting memories to take away from your visit to Ireland.
Approx 20 km/12 miles