Stop on the street and listen to the magical sound of a penny whistle player. Take a drive out of town into the wild and rugged countryside and feel the ancient essence of Ireland in the rolling hills, craggy outcrops and charming little hamlets where time seems to stand still. You feel Ireland everywhere. But perhaps nothing gives you a taste of the spirit of Clare quite like the incredible home-grown, home-made, natural and hand-crafted foods which we do so well. To discover Clare is to sit down at a harvest table that thrills every sense. Here, local producers with a love for their craft and a passion to nourish body and soul, have for generations produced the finest of real, organic foods and products. They’re inspired by passion and a love for what’s real – and you’ll taste it in every glorious mouthful!
Perhaps at the head of the table sits The Burren Food Trail – a veritable tour of food produced from the goodness of the land using ancient, traditional methods. It’s a whole food story really – as thanks to ancient and quite unique farming systems used, the fertile valleys of The Burren have long been associated with quality foods.
The Burren Food Trail is something truly special because it’s so much more than just a collection of 54 great food destinations. Together, the producers, restaurants and growers, show you exactly how their foods are produced from field to fork. Local provenance is everything – and all Burren Food Trail members are committed to playing their Part in ‘a good food revolution’ and building a sustainable future for Clare.
As Part of the network, members support each other, using one another’s produce in their foods – and each member has achieved quality awards and accolades for their craft. As you follow the trail you’ll meet locals who are extremely knowledgeable about the Burren food story and will also find out about current local food events – from festivals to markets.
The Trail is there for you to enjoy as you please – go from start to finish and stop at each spot, or weave in and out as the fancy takes you.
En route, look out for:
Hazel Mountain Chocolate – You had us at the words ‘interactive’, ‘chocolate’ and ‘boutique’! Hazel Mountain Chocolate is a specialist chocolatier set in the beauty of the Burren mountain foothills. It’s a busy chocolate factory that invites you to view the chocolate-making process that uses old, traditional methods to produce beyond sublime pralines. Only the real thing is used here – no artificial anything! Taste delicious and unique chocolate pairings (juniper berries and violet petals), indulge yourself in the artisanal café and stock up on chocolate memories from the shop, to take home and savour.
Wilde Irish Chocolates – Meanwhile, more than 80 different iterations of ‘delicious’ is produced over at Wilde Irish Chocolates near Lough Derg in East Clare. A small artisan factory with a huge choice that is totally dedicated to the love of chocolate! Watch the treats being made and packed, sample the ingredients in the kitchen, ask questions and make suggestions, and above all – taste!
Burren Free Range Pork – There’s pork… and then there’s grass-fed-pig pork. Visit Burren Free Range Pork in Kilfenora and you’ll know the difference immediately! It’s a fascinating little place – just wander about and get to see the farm in action, then gather around the barbeque to sample some of the results. You’ll discover that the meaning of life really can be summed up by delicious, flavourful fresh pulled pork in a bun! There’s also a wonderful little farm shop so you can load your larder.
Gleninagh Lamb – Next, take a swing down to Ballyvaughan on the coast and sample Gleninagh high quality, free-range lamb. All lambs are grass fed and the meat is reputed for its tenderness, quality and high lean meat content. It’s the tender taste of Clare you will simply never forget.
Burren Smokehouse – Unarguably, a flavour that is synonymous with Ireland and more specifically Clare, is that of fine, refined, smoked salmon. Nowhere captures it better than the Burren Smokehouse – a county treasure and definite foodie signature spot in Lisdoonvarna. The fascinating, mouth-wateringly delectable taste experience begins as soon as you arrive. Learn how the House smokes their salmon, trout and mackerel, view the kiln with its unique patented smoking method – then pop over to the House’s pub, The Roadside Tavern, to try their signature dish Burren Hot Smoked Irish Salmon on Colcannon.
St Tola Goat Farm – The art of cheese-making is taken to a tantalising new level at St Tola Goat Farm in Inagh, just south of the Burren. Here on 65 acres of breath-taking Burren countryside some of the most sought-after goat’s cheese in Ireland are hand-made – from young, fresh crottin to mature Gouda. Tour the farm, watch the gourmet cheeses being made and sample the fare. All cheese is matured to suit your taste, completely organic and with no artificial colours or preservatives. All ingredients are 100% traceable from farm to fork.
Cratloe Hill Cheese – Meet the original pioneers of sheep dairying in the Republic – Sean and Deirdre Fitzgerald at Cratloe Hill Cheese. They’ve been farming Friesland sheep since the 1980’s and producing magnificent sheep’s cheese the traditional hand-made way. Their cheese, Cratloe Hills Gold, was the first sheep’s cheese to be produced in Ireland – and the rest is history. Try it for yourself – it’s famous for its high nutritional value, being easily digested and having no artificial additives. And of course its taste is simply beyond compare. If you love cheese, you need to have a Cratloe Hill Cheese experience – it’s an experience you’ll hold on to for life, just like Clare.
Wild Kitchen – There are so many experiences in Clare that you simply can’t match elsewhere – and a visit to Wild Kitchen has to be one of them. Based in Lahinch in North West Clare, the Kitchen offers guided Wild Food Walks on land and seashore. It’s a chance to let the wind whip through your hair, feel the sun on your skin and ‘get back’ in touch with nature’s way as you discover, identify and delicious, edible wild plants – from seaweed and dilisk to sea spirulina, watercress and ramsons. Learn about their exceptional nutritional values and how they can benefit body and mind. Then let nature treat you to a wild food lunch as you over-look the ocean and take in the best of the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s a sensory journey, a growing experience – and a true Clare embrace.
Clareville House Kitchen Garden – Offers a natural experience of a different kind – in the fertile Burren valley of Ballyvaughan. Here herbs, vegetables and soft fruits are organically grown in the Kitchen Garden and used in a bespoke range of sweet and savoury preserves. Visit the Garden, experience the gathering of fresh vegetables and herbs and choose your personal favourites from the produce shop.
Clare Jam Company – Moving northwards to just between the Cliffs of Moher and the traditional music village of Doolin, you’ll find the Clare Jam Company in all its sweet delight. Here, a very special family makes over thirty different preserves and condiments, all steeped in a long standing artisan heritage. Find your favourite flavour.
Linnalla Pure Irish Ice Cream – a charming ice cream Parlour on a farm situated on the Wild Atlantic Way’s ‘Flaggy Shore.’ Linnalla makes the creamiest, most delicious of ice creams from fresh, natural, farm-produced ingredients.
Sheedy’s Hotel and Restaurant – an elegant country house and eatery that’s known for its ‘Tradition of Elegance’ and fine fare from well-known award-winning chef John Sheedy. All ingredients are sourced locally by John from artisan producers. Here’s a tip: The house speciality, Burren Lamb, has to be tasted to be believed!
Kieran’s Kitchen at The Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna – a meeting place for locals and visitors alike for over 100 years. Keep up the tradition – and enjoy award-winning food, the Tavern’s very own micro brewery and traditional music most evenings.
Burren Sea Foods – Lobster, brown crab, oysters, mussels, clams and shrimp – just off the boat at New Quay! This is a shellfish lover’s Paradise – straight from boat to table.
There’s simply no better way to sample the full flavours of Clare. So come with an empty tummy, a big appetite and you’ll leave with a very full heart, we promise.