Farmers, food producers and artisans based in the Burren are enjoying the benefits of many agritourism initiatives this summer as visitors flock to the area.
The Burren Food Fayre will take place on the October Bank Holiday Weekend for the 10th year in a row. It coincides with the Burren Winterage Festival which celebrates the ancient custom of outwintering cattle on the upland areas of the Burren, and is organised by Burren Beo.
Burren Ecotourism Network CEO Jarlath O’Dwyer says that as people holiday at home this year, experiences such as food trails, foraging walks, food visitor experiences and farm stays have all become popular.
The Burren Ecotourism Network represents over 70 diverse businesses in the region.
O’Dwyer said: “For farmers, agritourism offers an opportunity to diversify and create supplementary income. Many enjoy the social aspect of meeting people and share their special stories about the food, agriculture and biodiversity of the region."
Food and landscape
"For visitors, it allows them to connect with the land, the people, the animals and learn more about where their food comes from while enjoying beautiful landscapes of the Burren.
“There really is no better place for visitors to learn about the region than those who have farmed the land for generations,” he added.
The Burren Ecotourism Network is home to a wide variety of farming businesses, all focused on sustainable tourism and complying with the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark Code of Sustainable Practice.
Some of the businesses in the network include: Caherconnel Stone Fort, Linnalla Ice Cream, Burren Distillers, Burren Farm Experience, Burren Free Range Pork and Glamping, Flaggy Shore Oysters, Moher Cottage, Vaughan’s Pub in Kilfenora, Marie McGauran walking tours, Burren Fine Wine and Food, Hotel Doolin, St Tola Goat’s Cheese and The Market House.
The development of the Burren food story has been a success stories for the area, and has seen groups of producers, farmers and chefs come together and organise food events to celebrate the rich history of food production in the area which dates as far back as the 12th century.
Sustainability at its core
UNESCO Global Geoparks have developed a "Geofood" quality label, whose aim is to support the sustainable development of local communities by promoting locally produced food of the highest quality. Geofood can only be used in UNESCO Global Geoparks designated areas.
The brand highlights the link between the local food and how local geology protects biodiversity, promotes sustainable food production, responsible use of water and waste recycling, seasonality, reduces food miles, and increases local economic impacts. These actions work towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Goals.
Agritourism initiatives in the Burren are funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the 2021 Rural Innovation Development Fund.