Early clash of rural tourism and Burren farmers

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Clashes between environmentalists and farmers have been common, they even stretch back to 1993 in North Clare.

Today, greenways pave the way for a surge in eco-friendly tourism. The year 1993 was no different for the infamous Burren Landscape of County Clare. Thousands of adventure hungry tourists traipsed across the farmlands of the Burren, much to the dismay of a collection of once-genial local farmers.

In an effort to combat the onset of rural tourism, farmers across both Co. Galway and Co. Clare began to erect hundreds of ‘No Trespassing’ signs across their land. This apathy was born out of what was originally considered good-will on the part of the farmers, to encourage local tourism in the Burren Region.

This quickly began to dissolve during the controversial delay of the Burren Interpretative Centre, a building which generated lengthy protests in 1992 from prominent figures within the county. Its construction was seen as an infringement on the eco-system of the Burren.

One farmer voiced his frustrations to local media at the time saying, “When you have visitors coming, you have to have a visitor’s centre to welcome them.” The onus of occupier’s liability fell on the farmers, who were calling for immediate action for the government to change the law.

In short, the farmers of the Burren felt they couldn’t continue to work the lands of the Burren region unless legislation changed and an interpretative centre set up in order to restore some law and order to the area.

An avid reader from a young age, Cian’s love of the archives has been shared by Clare Echo readers who enjoy his Reeling in The Years section. Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton were his favourites writers in his younger years while he was always a fan of studying the opinion columns in The Irish Independent. A past pupil of Lissycasey National School and St Flannan’s College, he is currently completing his final year studies at the University of Limerick in New Media and English. From September, he will be commencing a Masters Degree in Journalism at UL.

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