When we have time we always like to head out into the Burren to explore. We have explored most of the marked trails at this point, with the exception of one. Lough Avalla Farm Loop walk.
The Lough Avalla Farm Loop walk has something for everyone. You know this walk is going to be special when you see the hazel walking sticks at the start of the walk for you to borrow. The walk takes you around and through the organic Burren farm of the Jeuken family.
Their farm has a magical quality, a place that literally seems out of this world. It comprises an intricate patchwork of hazel woodland, Burren limestone pavement and small fields. Handmade hazel gates and wooden stiles keep things under control.
There is also a small lake and in the mossy hazel wood you will find a Holy Well with cups provided for drinking. The water of the well is said to cure diabetes provided you drink it in situ over six consecutive days.
Originally from the Netherlands the Jeuken family have made the Burren their home. They tend to their herd of over 20 white-belted Galloway cattle and 50 goats. The family manage the land at Lough Avalla with great care, and welcome you provided you respect the place with the same reverence that they do.
At the end of the walk we discovered that the shingled roof we had seen peeping through the trees earlier was the Lough Avalla Tea Room. Here during the summer weekends Eileen Jeuken will serve you tea and a selection of cakes at the end of the walk. There is no charge for this, but you are welcome to leave a donation on your way it.
While enjoying our tea we discovered that Eileen’s sister Melissa, looks after the goats and produces what she calls True Burren Goats Cheese. Sitting in a small room off the tea rooms were rows of beautiful cheese in different stages of maturity. We left with a box of four.
It is a delicious hard goat’s cheese with a natural rind. The superb flavor of the cheese comes from the goat’s diet of Burren scrubland. This fabulous cheese in its various versions is now regular on our cheese board.