Fernhill Farm is the ideal base for exploring North Clare. In the heart of the countryside, on the edge of the Burren with winding country roads and stunning landscape it is ideal for walking and cycling holidays. Fernhill is also just a few minutes drive from the world famous Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Cave, home to the Great Stalactite. Some of the local attractions and activities are outlined below.
The Cliffs of Moher rise to the height of 200 meters (650 feet) and stretch over 8 kilometers (5 miles). Its sheer rock face is lined with the mulit-colors of shale and sandstone. The weathered surface provides shelter for the thousands of Puffins, Guillemots and Kittiwakes that nest there.
On the viewing platform there are telescopes that allow you to see the birds as well as down the rocky face of the cliffs. Just below this platform is a prominent sandstone ledge that you can walk out onto.
There is a fort ruin on the southern end at Hag's Head. O'Brien's Tower is to the northern side of the Cliffs. This tower dates back only to the Victorian era when it was built as a tea room and an observation tower for the tourists of the time. You can reach the tower to the north of the Visitors' Center via a stairway that follows the contours of the hillside.
The Burren region of North Clare derives its name from the Irish word Boireann, which means "rocky land", the perfect name for an area of land that more resembles a lunar surface than a place for exotic and rare plant species.The Burren is approximately 100 square miles of fissure covered limestone surface similar to what you will see at Doolin Point. These fissures are commonly known as grykes and often described as "lunar" in appearance.
By all appearances, the Burren is a barren and desolate place, but in fact, the grykes are home to a number of plant species, some rare and only found on the Burren like the Hoary Rock Rose and Wild Orchid. You may also see some of the wildlife that lives in the area as well, like the Irish Hare, Whooper Swans and tiny rare butterflies.
Oliver Cromwell's surveyor described the Burren as -"a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury him".Little did he know! The Burren also supports grazing sheep and cattle.
Doolin cave is home to the Great Stalactite. At 23 feet long, it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. Suspended from the ceiling of the cathedral-like chamber like a great chandalier, it truly is astounding. It is hard to believe that it has formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years.
Doolin Cave is also home to a charming farmland nature trail that takes a looped walk around the cave setting. The nature trail is home to rare and indigenous species of plants and animals including Minnie and Billy, two very cute miniature goats.
Lidoonvarna Spa Wells
Lisdoonvarna became a popular health resort in the early nineteenth century growing around its spa wells. Lisdoonvarna's famous Victorian Spa Complex and Health Centre is a major attraction. It is the only active spa centre in Ireland. The waters contain magnesia, iodine and iron and are reputed to have health restorations. The Spa's therapeutic mineral waters have been dispensed here since the 18th century. The Centre features sulphur baths, massage, wax treatments and saunas. The Victorian Pump House is open daily. Base for specialist activities in the Burren including painting and botany.
The Poulnabrone Dolmen is a portal tomb which dates back to about 2500 BC. It is one of only four known in Clare, one of only two in the Burren, and the best preserved in all of Ireland.
During excavations conducted by Dr. Lynch in 1986, she discovered the remains of between sixteen and twenty men and women, and one infant, which was said to have been a later addition. Of the adults, all only survived to the age of about 30 except for one who lived to be about 40.
Horse-riding is a popular activity in the Burren, it is a superb way to explore the spectaular surroundings. Fernhill Farmhouse is close to the local horse-riding centre, Suzanne will be more than happy to contact the owners to arrange a day out in the Burren on horse back.