An age old tradition will be marked in Fanore this Sunday as a group of local herdsmen will drive hundreds of cattle to their winter home on the upland Burren pastures.
The cattle drive is the centre point for the second annual Burren Winterage Festival – which is expected to attract hundreds of late season tourists and visitors to the Burren this weekend.
The festival is aiming to mark the age old process of winterage – which saw hundreds of cattle being moved to the Burren at the end of the summer – where they would spend the winter in relative dryness because of the pores limestone rock of the Burren.
The process of winterage has actively helped to shape the Burren over the centuries – as the cattle helped control the spread of hazel and other scrub plants into limestone pavement.
“The Winterage Weekend is all about celebrating the local community and their traditions which have assisted in the Burren receiving such international recognition,” said Brigid Barry of the Burrenbeo Trust – who are organised the event.
“Visitors and locals alike have the opportunity to get involved in some really interesting and fun events – and all completely unique and connected to the magnificent landscape that is the Burren.”
Along with the cattle drive the Winterage Festival will also include a number of unique Burren events including the Burren Food Fayre, a number of open-farm events and even a prize for the best shorthorn heifer in the Burren.
The Burren last month because the first place in Ireland to receive a European Diploma for protected areas. The diploma, which is awarded by the Council of Europe, was in recognition of the natural and cultural heritage of the Burren – something that the process of winterage has been key to over the years. The full Winterage Festival Weekend programme is www.burrenwinterage.com.

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