Located on the serene west coast of Ireland, Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark is set in an expansive area of 530 square kilometres. With the scenic several meters high Atlantic Coastal Cliffs on the West, low hilly terrain on the South, and Gort lowlands on the East, the Global Geopark has become a symbol of natural heritage in all of Europe.
With much of land at an elevation of 200 meters above sea level, the highest point in Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark is Slieve Elva at 344 meters. The limestone formations in the area, which are visible in most of the Global Geopark terrain, have several rivers. One of these, i.e., Caher River, is the only one that flows its entire length over ground. It's a sight to watch!
During your visit, there's every chance to explore dramatic sea Cliffs, huge networks of subterranean caves, seasonal lakes, and Carboniferous (from 300 million years ago) fossil-rich limestone hills.
The rich and diverse geological landscape in the region hosts unique floral assemblages and rare natural habitats not found anywhere else on the planet. Moreover, the region has been home to abundant human settlements dating back to over 6,000 years.
Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark has been formed of Carboniferous shale, sandstones, and limestones, dating back to 300 million years. Formed close to the equator, the limestones have been lying in warm shallow water on a carbonate shelf. As such, they're rich in fossil brachiopods, crinoids, and corals.
With several caves in the region, the limestones are home to one of the longest free-hanging formations of stalactites in the world. With extensive erosion due to dissolution, it has seemingly produced ridges and towers, and remains open for public view and appreciation.
The extensive limestone pavements in the Global Geopark are considered to be the best of their kind around the world. These comprise of prograding cyclical deltaic deposits and deep water shales on all sides.
It's also common to see channel deposits, turbidites, and sand volcanoes. Typical fossils in the region include bivalves, plant material, and goniatites. Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark is counted among the finest coastal exposures of deltaic sedimentation in the world. The region is breathtakingly beautiful!
Burren and Cliffs of Moher Experience attracts more than 1 million people every year from different parts of the world. Tourism and Farming (Dairy and Beef) are the primary industries supporting local communities and the region's environmental diversity. While the population density is low, it has been dispersed in small towns and villages, such as Corrofin, Lisdoonvarna, Kilfenora, Doolin, and Ballyvaughan.
Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark is home to a huge network of accredited ecotourism businesses, environmental learning centres, information and interpretation centres, managed outdoor recreation centres, conservation groups, local farm tours, and other traditional hubs. The region is best known for traditional agricultural practices, allowing the conservation of culture, tradition, biodiversity, and character of the landscape.
The region has flourished with collaborative efforts of community-based and sustainable ecotourism, conservation, and education initiatives. These efforts have led to the environmental, economic, and social development of this popular and preserved Atlantic edge region.
Authorities and local communities in the Geopark have always encouraged a holistic approach to promoting, conserving, and managing the landscape. Communities in the region understand that every aspect of the environment, i.e., ecological, geological, oceanographic, climatic, and anthropological, is closely linked to ensure sustainability.
Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark runs collaborative educational programs with local communities and businesses, including local farm visits, stays in family-run properties, geology courses, environmental projects, and groundwater education programs. These initiatives aren't limited to schools in the region but focus on educating tourists about the rich diversity in the Geopark.
The UNESCO-listed Global Geopark has successfully supported the development of more than 60 tourism businesses in the area. It's popularly called the Burren Ecotourism Network, and has been dedicated to promoting sustainable and environmental tourism. Once members sign up for the UNESCO Global Geopark Code of Practice in Sustainable Tourism, they're given the right marketing materials and training to coordinate group products in Food and Activity trails.
Burren and Cliffs of Moher Global Geopark is currently managing a major EU LIFE Project on balancing conservation and tourism in the region. GeoparkLIFE, as the project is called, involves working with global conservation and tourism agencies, businesses, and farmers to minimize the environmental impact of tourists visiting the region, while maximizing the economic and social benefits acquired from tourism.
In 2011, Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark was made a member of the Global Geoparks Network. It wasn't a surprise when the popular destination was designated a place by UNESCO among renowned Global Geoparks in 2015. Since then, the region's popularity has soared and supports several local communities.
Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark has the geological importance and distinction required of a scenic Geopark. Additionally, the region has a huge network of organisations that oversee and support tourism in the area. Most importantly, these organisations indulge in coordinated conservation and education efforts.
Burren and Cliffs Moher Global Geopark is a living landscape comprising livelihood, learning, cultures, environments, and people.
Whether you're interested in delicious local food, sustainable family-owned farming tours, stays in family-run B&Bs, or farmer-guided walks on Mullaghmore, the popular Global Geopark won't disappoint. With plenty to do in the area, it wouldn't just be a vacation but support for the sustainable development of an important region in the world.