Friday 17 November 2017

Black Head Loop, The Burren - way to go

MAP: OS of Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery 51; downloadable map/instructions at discover ireland.ie/walking.

TRAVEL: Bus (buseireann.ie): Galway-Ballyvaughan-Cliffs of Moher, services 423, 050.

Road: From Galway -- N18, N67 to Ballyvaughan; R477 to Fanore. Park in Fanore beach car park.

WALK DIRECTIONS: Left along R477 (take care!) for a third of a mile; right at Fanore Bridge (OSI ref. M 145089) up side road for 2½ miles. Pass turning on right (174069; 'Burren Way/BW'); in 30m, left up track (BW; yellow 'walking man'; purple arrow/PA), past Cathair an Aird Rois, down to road (190070). BW turns right, but go left ('Blackhead Loop' fingerpost; PA) for ½ mile along lane, over stile, past house (PA).

Right up path (188078), levelling out on Poulanegh Hill and turning west, following PAs to meet cobbled path (197066) after 2 miles. Downhill towards sea; left (189097) along slopes. At gate on right, keep ahead (PA) along jungly mile; descend above Aghaglinny North onto track; left along cliffs for 3¾ miles to R477; left (take care!) to car park.

LENGTH: 12 miles -- allow six to eight hours..

GRADE: Moderate

CONDITIONS: Uneven stones on Poulanegh Hill; jungly stretch, slippery descent to Aghaglinny North.

DON'T MISS: Fabulous wild flowers; wild goats; Mass house and shebeen in Cathair an Aird Rois.

REFRESHMENTS: Picnic.

ACCOMMODATION: Hylands Hotel, Ballyvaughan (065 707 7037; hylandsburren.com).

OPERATORS/COMPANIES: Burren Guided Walks and Hikes with Mary Howard (065 707 6100/087 244 6807; burrenguidedwalks.com).

INFORMATION: Tourist Office: Village Stores, Main Street, Ballyvaughan (065 707 7077); clare.ie.

WALKING NEWS: Dunmore East Walking Weekend, Waterford: May 21-23, 2010 (dunmorewalks.com).

Irish Independent

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