Posts Tagged With: Burren walks

Sheepdogs, Stone Forts and Miles of Stone

Culloo Rocks and St Brendans well (12)Our Wild Atlantic Way Cultural Tour is coming up October 8th, and there are still some spaces left. One of the places we will visit on the tour is the Caherconnell Stone Fort in the Burren, a unique area of limestone and history. Archaeologists are working on excavations, providing a perfect opportunity to ask questions abut the finds and their work. In addition to the fort, we’ll get to see sheepdog demonstrations! The dogs’ skill and intelligence is definitely worth watching, plus a part of Burren and Irish history comes to light, as dogs have always been an integral part of the family farm.


An excerpt below from the Caherconnell website:

Caherconnell is home to the Burren’s premier Sheepdog Demonstrations, which were started by John Davoren, the landowner.  These demonstrations are attracting visitors from all over the world to see the combined skills of the Border collie and his master.

John has been training dogs since he was 16 years old and has trained a variety of dogs to work with sheep and cattle.He is now passing on his expertise to the next generation in an attempt to preserve a culture which has been part of Burren life for generations.

The sheepdog is an integral part of farming culture and here you will see just how useful a well-trained border collie can be for a farmer.  The sheepdog is of untold value when trying to move or direct sheep or cattle across open areas of karst landscape.

The use of a small number of well understood directions enables the sheepdog to complete tasks in half the time it would take a number of people.  This, along with the qualities of loyalty and hard work, make the sheepdog the very best pet a farming family could hope for.

Sheep Dog Demonstrations

Border CollieAt Caherconnell you will meet three of our dogs. Rose and Lee are Border Collies and Sally is half Collie and half Scottish cattle dog.  We will demonstrate the dogs working with both cattle and sheep.

The sheepdog and the ‘cattle-dog’ go about their business with very different tactics.  Sheepdogs, such as the Border Collie maintain control of the flock using their predatory behaviour.

On the other hand the cattle dog is much smaller than the cattle being herded and therefore needs to illustrate that its bite is most definitely worse than its bark.

Thus the ‘cattle dog’ will ‘nip’ at the heels of the cattle so as to get them to obey.

As you will see the skill, intelligence and obedience of a well trained sheepdog makes an invaluable contribution to any farming family.

Come along… we know you will enjoy the experience! Visit the website here to read more and watch the video of the border collies at work!

Shep the sheep dog working hard at Caherconnell

Here is a link to the video clip from the Caherconnell website:

Categories: Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Walking in the Burren on the Wild Atlantic Way tour

DSCF5726-001On our tours, including the unique landscape of the Burren is always a highlight. The limestone hills hold ancient holy wells, ringforts and secrets of the past. A celtic gold torc was once found her wedged between the stones! We will be visiting Poulnabrone dolmen, Caherconnell stone fort, and many other fascinating sites.

One can’t find a better interpreter of the region than Tony Kirby, who will be our walking tour guide. Read about Tony below, and see his website at to learn more about him and the mysterious, beautiful Burren.


Tony Kirby was born in Limerick city. He has also lived in Dublin and Bologna in the north of Italy. He conducted guided walking tours in Dublin in the late 1990s. In 2002 Tony moved to the Burren in County Clare where he founded a small walking tourism enterprise which offers a wide variety of guided Burren walks.

Tony 300x300 The Guide

 Tony also works as a heritage education specialist conducting Burren classroom workshops and field trips for primary school pupils.

A new edition of Kirby’s critically acclaimed bookThe Burren and the Aran Islands A Walking Guide(Collins Press, 2009) was published in August 2014.

In 2012 he produced the short film West Cork set at St Gobnait’s monastic site in Ballyvourney, County Cork. The film was screened at the 2012 Cork International Film Festival.

Tony Kirby of Heart of Burren Walks was winner of the Burren/Cliffs of Moher Visitor Communication Award 2014.

He is currently researching a number of holy wells/sacred sites in the Burren with a view to a second publication.


Trevor Cochrane and Explore TV Australia made a film in Ireland in 2014 about the Wild Atlantic Way. The film was broadcast in Australia on 24th January 2015. You can view the Burren part of the film (3 mins 37 seconds) here as Tony leads Trevor on a walk…. (go to Tony’s website to watch the video)

0 The Guide


Heart of Burren Walks has featured in……………… Newspapers – Irish Times, Irish Independent, Sunday Tribune, Sunday Business Post, West Australia News, Guardian (UK) and Hannoversche Allgemeine (Germany) ; Magazines  – Cara (Aer Lingus in-flight) and Knack (Belgium) ; Radio –  CBS (USA) and RTE (Ireland); TV–  RTE (Ireland).


Heart of Burren Walks is strongly recommended by guide books Fodor’s, Frommers, Lonely Planet, Guide de Routard and Rick Steves Ireland (2015 edition).

THEY SAIDburrenwaycottage The Guide

I was so lucky to be a part of your tour as a participant of the Fáilte Ireland press trip this September. I really enjoyed your enthusiasm and your deep knowledge of the Burren.
Peter Kyhl Olesen, journalist, Jyllands-Posten, daily broadsheet newspaper, Denmark. September 2014.


13 Responses to “The Guide”

Thanks to Tony for making our walk in the Burren an unforgettable experience.
A Burren walk with Tony offers beauty, geology, history, nature, politics, ideas, serenity, spirituality . . . and as much exercise as you tell him you want. This is the one to take.

Freddy Rodriguez, New York City, USA on 4th of May 2010 at 6:27 pm

If you find yourself wanting more botanical guidance in the The Burren, then go no further than Tony Kirby. Experience a couple of hours of a guided walk in his company and you will learn a lot more than just the names of some exotic plants. He will amble verbally about archaeology, history, literature and art, to name but a few additional subjects other than botany! Throw in some humour, farming and eco-political arguments, ancient tales of yore and poetry and you will have experienced something highly entertaining and not to be forgotten.

David Rosair, Island Ventures, Wildlife Tours, Whitstable, Kent, England on 1st of July 2010 at 12:49 pm

Buíochas mor duitse freisin, Tony, for the quality time you shared with our international group of interested walkers last Thursday the 5th of July.

Renewed thanks for re-connecting me to my ancestral roots in this awe-inspiring landscape.

Bail o dhia ar d’obair criomhar”.
Slán go fóill go dtí an chéad uair eile ar an mBoireann,

Madeleine Mc Mahon, Dublin. Ireland. on 8th of August 2010 at 11:02 pm

Dear Tony,
I was part of the Swiss press group you guided in the Burren last Saturday.
Your introduction to the Burren was fantastic. Thank you very much!

Christian Von Arx, Der Sonntag OT, Swiss Sunday newspaper, Olten, Switzerland on 7th of June 2011 at 8:20 am

Dear Tony,

Thank you for the excellent walk you took us on in the National Park on May 31st. We enjoyed it enormously.

David and Jill Taylor, Lennoxtown, Scotland on 11th of June 2011 at 10:41 pm

I’m definitely looking to come back to The Burren at some time. Many thanks for your inspiration.

Derek Prescott, Argyll and Bute, Scotland on 24th of August 2011 at 3:44 pm

Tony Kirby’s Burren walking tour is a fascinating description of natural and human history – all the way up to the present. He really brought it to life. It was my teenage son’s favorite part of our visit to Ireland.

Categories: Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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