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Corkscrew Hill Touring Route
Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare
Driving Corkscrew Hill is quite an experience. The narrow road folds back on itself several times as it winds through the heart of the Burren, between picturesque Ballyvaughan on Galway Bay and Lisdoonvarna of the historic Spa Wells and thriving matchmaking festival.

The viewing point near the top of the hill offers a vista of a natural amphitheatre carved out by giant ice sheets of ancient ice ages. The ice sheets left behind a fertile valley surrounded by Aillwee Mountain to the East, Cappanwalla Mountain to the West and opening out onto Galway Bay to the North. The typical and often contrasting characteristics of the Burren are on view here; bare limestone terraces, fertile fields, dense overgrowth of hazel scrub alongside areas of incredible biodiversity created by traditional farming practices.

Hiding in the overgrowth are ancient forts, tombs and a castle or two! Beneath the terraces is a vast network of caves and underground rivers. JRR Tolkien often stayed in Gregans Castle Hotel, nestling in the valley below, and one could wonder if he was influenced by this view when writing Lord of the Rings?

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Doonyvardan, Co. Clare, Ireland
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