Purpose, People, Place and Passion!
The aim of our interpretive experiences
Our aim is to provide interpretive experiences during our guided outings to help enhance our visitors awareness of the richness of the local area of The Burren, and also to help our visitors enjoy and appreciate their time here through inspirational and creative learning in a non class room way.
We also hope that by appreciation of the local area and the wider environment will encourage conservation actions by our visitors after they leave.
Dave is the interpretive guide on all guided outings
I am passionate about The Burren and spending time in Nature. My enthusiasm and love for the Burren are important aspects of our guided outings, and helps spark and interest in others who may be seeing the Burren for the first time.
Based on experience of taking groups on these outings for over 10 years, and from experience of reading and predicting local weather patterns, i choose the location for our outing by going upstairs in the centre, and checking the wind direction, temperature, cloud cover, quality of the clouds and also a couple of weather forecasts before choosing what i feel is the best location for that day. I also take into account the age and fitness levels of our course participants to make sure the location is suitable for everybody.
Dave your guide guide will
- ensure the whole retreat flows smoothly
- give environmental messages and tips at appropriate times
Materials that we use for Interpretive experience
We keep our materials simple, small and easily transportable as our interpretive experiences take place while we are out and about on our
- hill walks
- walks by the sea
- visits to ancient sites
- boat trips to Cliffs of Moher or Aran Islands
- visiting the Burren National Park
- visiting local attract attractions as Burren Perfumery, the Ailwee caves
- and other activities/places
The materials mainly consist of
- flower identification charts on laminated sheets which can be reused.
- One small flower identification book (Wild Plants of The Burren – Charles Nelson)
- One small guide book Burren Archaeology a tour guide – Hugh Carthy and the Burren Beo Field Guides. Principles and methods used
More information on the locations we visit and other outdoor activities we do are listed on the website at
The Burren Outdoor Activities
When we climb to the top of one of the hills and come across any of the ancient sites such as dolmens, tombs or forts, i often give some background on the artifact, and sometimes we look through our reference guide to find out more detailed information, and to share this with the group.
And then depending on the group we may go searching for wild flowers using our laminated sheets and Field Guides, or one of the group may elect to read some information from the Archaeology guide.
Flower identification sheets
Each of the course participants is given a flower identification sheet, which helps them to identify and learn a little more about the wild flowers in the Burren. This activity also enables them to see the huge range of plants and fauna they may have otherwise missed.
Backup research material
After we return to the centre, there is a range of books for reference in our reading area, and we often meet there to look up and answer some of the questions that arose during our outings.
Our library has over 300 books and our reading area has approx 90 books.
We base our information on reliable sources such
- Wild Plants of the Burren and the Aran Islands – Charles Nelson
- Burren Archaeology a tour guide – Hugh Carthy
- The Burren & the Aran Islands A walking guide – Tony Kirby
- Pocket guide to the Common Birds of Ireland
- The Usborne Spotters Guide Birds, Flowers and trees
- Burren Field Guides
- The Burren companion to the Wildflowers of an Irish Limestone Wilderness – Charles Nelson
- The Fertile Rock seasons in the Burren – Carsten Krieger
- Leave No Trace outdoor ethics
- The Book of the Burren – Tireolas
- A Burren Journal – Sarah Poyntz
- New Irish Walks and Scrambles, The |Burren – Barry Keane
- The Burren – Gordon Darcy
- Limestone Pavements of the Burren – Mike Simms
- Kinvara a seaport town –
- Geological and Environmental learning centres in the Burren: Stone, Water, Ice
- The Burren and the Aran Islands; exploring the Archaeology – Carleton Jones
- Wildflowers of Ireland – Zoe Devlin
We also have booklets and printed reports as well as the above books in our reading area, including
- Dromore woods trail guide
- The Seven Woods trail; and the Family Trail
- Galway Bay Flaggy shore SAC
- Moneen Mountain SAC
- Blackhead Poulsallagh
- Shannon Region Trails Dromore loop walk
- Danes hole, Poulnalecka
- Oysterman’s Marsh
We also have a much bigger selection of books in our library which yoiu are welcome to borrow while you are here.
Some aspects from these books are interwoven into our guided outings, and we do this through personal involvement with each member of the group.
Information you can access before your visit
The National Parks and Wildlife is a very informative website which contains a wealth of information about the Burren.
Just click the tab for ‘By County’ and select Clare and you can choose to see all the SACs or NHAs and then read details on any of them.
Similarily there is also information about Nature Reserves on this website by selecting the ‘Nature Reserves’ tab.
Main themes and messages of the interpretative experience
- The Burren rock was formed 360 million years ago as the bed of a shallow coral sea
- The alkaline rock and the weathering of the slightly acidic rain over millions of years
- The erosion due to the ice age
- The erratics left behind by the glaciers
- The wide range of wild flowers in the Burren
- Seeds brought in by settlers and also by glaciers
- Identifying some of the wild flowers based on our materials
- Irish place names with their meaning
- Stone walls and ownership of land
- Famers and their livestock and respect for their livelihood
- Sustainable tourism and Leave No Trace and The Burren Code
- Some background on the archaeological sites we come across
- Sampling and eating food at local cafes and tea gardens
- Visiting craft shops and art galleries
Goals and objectives of the interpretive Experience
Our main goal is to help enhance our visitors awareness of the richness of the local area of The Burren, to experience it first hand and to engage in interactive involvement with their surroundings.
We hope that through our interactions and materials provides and the places we go and visit they will leave with a genuine interest and awakened passion to become actively involved with conservation of the environment through having being exposed to
- a better understanding and appreciation of the geological formation of the Burren
- an awareness of the fragile Nature of the area and the need for conservation
- know about the GeoPark status awarded by Unesco in 2011
- have an awareness of the variety of wild flowers in the Burren
- hopefully they will buy one of the BurrenBeo Field Guides and this pay-back will support Conservation. These guides are great ways for them to be reminded of the many special features of the Burren, and hopefully influence them to come back.
- know of some reference materials they can buy themselves after the course
- leave them aware of Leave No Trace when they go out into Nature the next time themselves
- hopefully this time in Nature will leave them feeling good, more relaxed and refreshed when they return home
And that our time in The Burren will help them to ‘experience the silence’ both within and without.
To learn to appreciate spending time in Nature, and to be aware of the benefits of how they feel while they are out and about in The Burren, and also how they feel afterwards.
And to encourage them to spend more time in Nature when they go home after the retreat, and to be aware of their personal responsibility to look after the environment and hopefully they will also inspire their friends and families about this too through changes in their own behaviour.