The Burren Winterage Weekend

Oct 24 2019 - Oct 27 2019
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Contact details


Lisdoonvarna, Clare,
T: +353 91 6380096

The Winterage Weekend takes place on the October Bank Holiday weekend each year, offering a chance for all to come together and celebrate the unique farming traditions of the Burren and other ‘high nature value’ farming landscapes across Europe.

Recently recognised as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Ireland, the Burren Winterage refers to a unique farming tradition that has been practiced in the Burren for thousands of years.

For thousands of years, Burren farmers have marked the end of summer by herding their cattle onto ‘winterage’ pastures in the limestone uplands where they spend the winter grazing. It is thought that Burren farmers initially adopted this practice in response to the shortage of water in summertime, only to find that the warmth of the limestone and the ample grazing on the rocky winter pastures made the Burren an ideal, low-cost ‘outwintering’ environment for their stock.

Winter grazing by cattle, at a time when most flowers are dormant, enables the Burren’s renowned complement of flowers and insects to flourish unhindered in summer. Winter grazing is also critically important to the conservation of the extraordinary array of monuments built by farmers in the past, as it slows down the encroachment of damaging scrub.

The Burren Winterage festival is a community celebration of an ancient and unique farming practice but it is also a platform for sharing ideas on how these special places and their custodians might best be supported at a time of great challenge.

Focusing on the theme of 'Building healthy futures for people, food and nature', the Burren Winterage Weekend programme for 2019 promises a rich variety of events such as the Burren Winterage School, farmer-led walks, talks, book readings, film screenings, a children's art workshop, the national Farming for Nature awards, and the community cattle drive to celebrate the farming heritage in the Burren.

Burren Winterage Weekend is coordinated by the Burrenbeo Trust and supported by Burren community volunteers and local businesses.