The Burren and its unfolding layers of limestone form terraces on the slopes of the hills and the area has been described as a ‘lunar’ landscape. This loop starts in the village of Ballyvaughan -a walkers welcome town and takes you close to Aillwee Cave – the most famous of thousands of ancient caves beneath the Burren.
A-B. Starting from the town of Ballyvaughan follow the R447 (towards fanore) for 300m past thatched cottages and across a bridge to reach a roadway on the left. Turn left here and follow the purple arrows along a roadway past the Primary School. Veer right here and follow the various arrows across a series of stone stiles and wooded sections to exit into a field which takes you a surfaced roadway where the Burren Way turns right – but you follow the purples arrows and turn left.
B-C. Follow the surfaced roadway for 300m to reach the main N67 road where you turn left, and almost immediately, turn right again onto a minor road. Follow this road to its conclusion at a metal gate into a field. Cross the stile and follow the purple arrows across the fields, stiles and sandy roadways to exit at the entrance to Aillwee Cave where you turn left.
C-D. Now follow the roadway for 2km to reach a T-junction where you turn left, pass through a gateway and join a ‘green’ laneway. Follow this laneway for 300m to exit at a double gate. Continue straight as the laneway changes to a surfaced roadway and eventually reaches a T-junction where you turn left.
D-A. After 400m on this surfaced road you join the N67 Galway road where you turn left for the last 500m back to the trailhead.
Caution: Rocks are slippery when wet.