Know Before You Go: This trail walks over very uneven, rocky paths up and down steep climbs. Rains happen without warning and can make the rocks slick. Length: 7.5 kilometers/4.6 miles. Time: 3 hours. Terrain: Very rocky and uneven. Hilly. Difficulty: Very hard. Dog-friendly: The signs say dogs are not allowed; however, we saw many dogs on this hike. Kid-friendly: Yes. If your kids cannot handle the Mullaghmore Loop, there are other loops that we saw small children hiking without any problem.
The Mullaghmore Loop gives you a splendid sampling of the Burren, a region of western Ireland known for its rocky landscape. The word “Burren” comes from the Irish word “Boireann”, which means rocky place. This walk takes you over open areas of limestone and other rocks around the summit of Mullaghmore mountain, near the shores of Lough Gealain. You have spectacular views of the surrounding hills and countryside.
Directions to the trailhead can be found on the Burren National Park website. There are several trails that can be accessed from this trailhead. What makes the Mullaghmore hike challenging is the footing and the steep climbs. You pick your way across stones, much like crossing a creek, and the climbs require a bit of scrambling. You’ll want to wear good hiking shoes that don’t slip on wet rocks because sudden rains are common.
The Burren region covers 1% of the Irish landscape. It’s a protected area due to its unusual habitat, with a huge diversity of plants living together under one ecosystem. For example, arctic-alpine plants live alongside Mediterranean plant. The variety of plants and rocks make for a colorful and interesting hike.