Ecotourism in the Burren

Ecotourism in the Burren

The Burren Smokehouse is a member of the Burren Ecotourism Network and actively works with other local businesses to promote sustainable travel to and in the Burren that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people and those enjoying this unique landscape.

What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism is defined as:

… responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.
(The International Ecotourism Society TIES)

Ecotourism focuses on ecologically and socially responsible, nature-based tourism that fosters environmental appreciation and understanding while contributing to the local economy.

The Burren Smokehouse is a founder-member of the Burren Ecotourism Network (BEN). We are a group of tourism providers in the Burren region of County Clare who have worked together to obtain independent ecotourism certification.

We offer visitors opportunities to engage with the protected landscape of the Burren in a manner which is sustainable both in terms of the environment as well as the community.

Tourism businesses within the Network are committed to local produce, conservation and the community, as well as to continuing high standards of sustainability, and offer a range of accredited, nature-based experiences.

Our shared vision: Providing genuine ecotourism travel experiences in the Burren which will ensure the sustainable development of its communities, environment and heritage.

Click here for more information on Burren Ecotourism.



Learn about smoking salmon, an ancient food craft, in the Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna, learn about our local history and craft beer brewing with Peter Curtin who together with his wife Birgitta Hedin-Curtin are owning the Burren Smokehouse and Roadside Tavern.

These travel experiences have been audited and assessed by Ecotourism Ireland, an independent certification organisation which promotes the development and maintenance of ecotourism quality standards with the aim of establishing Ireland as a world-class ecotourism destination.

Taste the Atlantic - Salmon Expeience at Burren Smokehouse

Burren Food Trail

Burren Food Trail long table eventOne of the three main groups of BEN members are food producers, farmers, restaurants and cafés. They are forming the Burren Food Trail as part of BEN, and organise food fairs and festivals like the Burren Slow Food Festival, the Burren Food Fayre and other interesting events.

Under the motto “Don’t just visit the Burren – taste it!”, members of the Burren Ecotourism Network like the Burren Smokehouse created a route across the Burren of places to visit where you can get rare looks behind the scenes, all to do with the Burren and food.

The members of the Burren Food Trail organise Long Table Dinners in unusual locations, vegetarian feasts, summer solstice evening parties, cookery demos, BBQ’s, guided walks with lunches or afternoon teas, farm tours, gourmet smoked salmon & wine pairings and many more.

Find out more about the Burren Food Trail and get to know the Trail’s members.


Ecotourism Ireland Certification

Ecotourism Ireland is an organisation set up to stimulate the development of ecotourism in Ireland.  Its label is approved as the national ecotourism label and it acts as an independent certification and standards authority in Ireland.  

Core to ecotourism and to the Ecotourism Ireland philosophy is the concept of environmental sustainability. The label has been developed in order to ensure that the environmental impacts of certified ecotourism products are minimised.  

The label also encourages proactive nature conservation and the promotion of local cultural values, while at the same time developing local economies and the long term viability of ecotourism destinations.  

The Ecotourism Ireland label helps you to find high quality experiences and guarantees a high quality of delivery of services – it reassures you that the holiday and travel experience is the genuine article.

As members of the Burren Ecotourism Network, we subscribe to the Ecotourism Ireland philosophy.

Our environmental and ecotourism policy underpins all of our day-to-day activities and is a cornerstone of our business philosophy.

Following an independent audit and assessment of our environmental practices and policies, our Burren Smokehouse obtained Ecotourism Ireland Gold certification in 2011.

This certification assures you of the authenticity of this travel experience and the measures taken to minimise its environmental impact. You are also assured of two principles underlying all aspects of our business:

  • that steps have been taken to minimise the impact of our operations on the local nature and culture
  • that we are actively contributing to the conservation of our local biodiversity and cultural heritage.

As a visitor, you can expect to gain privileged insights and knowledge about the Burren.  You can also be assured that we have adopted environmentally sustainable practices and that we actively contribute to the conservation of our local biodiversity and cultural heritage.

For further information on Ecotourism Ireland, visit the Ecotourism Ireland website.


Environmental and Ecotourism policy

This is individual to each provider and was submitted as part of the initial certification. You can read our Environmental Policy here.

We also have a dedicated Green Team consisting of members of staff and management.


Who are the Burren Ecotourism members?

Since its launch in 2011, the Burren Ecotourism Network has been constantly growing to over sixty accommodation providers, food producers, activity providers and experiences members.

You can find the full alphabetical list on the Burren Ecotourism Network website.


How to get to the Burren Smokehouse without a car?

Coming from the south:

Bus Eireann – regional service 350 Ennis to Galway:
Starting from Ennis to Lisdoonvarna via Corofin, Ennistymon, the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin (daily service)

Coming from the north:

Bus Eireann – regional service 350 Galway to Ennis:
Starting from Galway to Lisdoonvarna, via Kilcolgan, Kinvara, Ballyvaughan and Fanore (daily service)
For more information, please go to the Bus or Transport for Ireland websites.

Another way of getting to us is by Clare Bus.

Under your own steam:

While you are based in the Burren, a very relaxing way to experience the landscape is by bike or e-bike – E-Whizz is located in Kilfenora and Burren Fine Wine & Food are outside Ballyvaughan. You can rent (electric) bikes in both places to explore the Burren and all its wonders at an ideal pace.