After breakfast, we packed up and headed south through the Burren (limestone mountains). We were headed to see the Poulnabrone Dolman (another prehistoric passage tomb) but we got lost (again) and missed the turn. By the time I figured out we were lost, neither of us wanted to go back. So, we saw the castle of Dysert O'Dea instead. It was a dark dank castle, more than a ruin. Again our son looked for toilets.
This area of Ireland is often given as being second only to the Giant's Causeway in a listing of the natural sights of Ireland to see. I have to admit that in certain ways I prefer the mountains of Wicklow to the views here, but that may just be a bit of childhood nostalgia at work.
The Burren consists of a rocky landscape, basically large areas of limestone 'pavement'. This really is the green, green land of rolling hills, dry stone walls and abandoned houses, churches and watchtowers that typify many people's idealised views of Ireland.
Various sights along the way include neolithic tombs such as the Poulnabrone Dolmen (A Tomb Portal Stone) a good stop off site for those pics of the lunar pavement.
The rocky nature of this area does make this rural landscape that bit more interesting than your average country drive!
In Kilfenora, close to the cemetery you may visit an interesting museum : The Burren Centre. There you see exhibits about the special flora and fauna of the Burren and get a good idea, what the Burren looks like underneath the surface.
Maybe it is best to start to explore the museum in the "Burren-Centre" first, before you enter the landscape of the Burren, so you have an idea already about the special and most interesting facts of that unique geological formation.
Something that you will realize, when walking over the rocks of the Burren is the special sound that it makes, when you hit the stones by your shoes, maybe you even find a hammer or other tool in your car...
Of course it is forbidden to take any stones home, BUT knocking on the rocks is not at all forbidden !!
Kilfenora is my favorite place in the Burren for an interesting church-ruin and the very special Celtic Cross on my picture: the Doorty Cross, showing a bishop and 2 other people. Kilfenora has also quite a funny status inside the catholic church, because that small parish is at the same time an episcopate and their bishop is the pope - don't ask me, how this works, it is just a heritage of the 12th century that was never changed since...
On my other pictures about the church in Kilfenora you may see some of the very few great works of art that are still left over after the church had been destroyed several times.
At the small cemetery around the old cathedral-ruins there were once 7 high-crosses - see another one on my 5th picture !
You may enter the cemetery freely and without restrictions during the day !
The "Burren" is a unique landscape, covered by vulcanic rocks, that seem to be artificially cut into giant cubes of different sizes, and inside the many gaps between these rocks you will find a big variety of tropical, subtropical, alpine and mediterranean plants and flowers.
NO-where else in the whole world you may find these plants growing togeather in a natural environment !
It is the combination of the grey rocks and the colorfull flowers that make the special atmosphere of the "Burren
Once in the Burren I was lucky to be able to watch a professional photographer taking pics of 2 vintage-cars there for the official Mercedes-calender.
I visited the Burren just after the Cliffs of Moher and it was a big contrast. The Burren is a very quiet place and I saw more sheep than people. The Burren is limestone that extends for miles and turns into moutains that border the ocean.
We drove along the narrow roads I noticed that May is a great time to visit because wildflowers grown between the limestone rocks. It's something you have to experience to fully appreciate it.
The Burren is a huge area of limestone rock. You may think that there’s only bare grey limestone, but you’ll also see there several plants, and even areas with lots of bushes. But it’s not so green like the rest of Ireland! It’s an amazing landscape and we found it very interesting to drive around there. I recommend you drive as well around the coast as inside the country. Especially the west coast of the Burren (R477 between Lisdoonvarna and Fanore) was great, with the sea on one side an the rocky limestone pavement on the other side. We also found the area around Carran very interesting, we just took some of the small streets. Get yourself the free “Burren at a glance” map so that you find your way out!
The Burren covers quite a bit of ground in Co Clare and Galway and the landscape is really unusual. Burren derives from the Irish for "rocky country" [Boireann*] and the area is covered in polished limestone that appeared after errosion of the thin top soil which started some 6000 years ago with the first farmers. Despite the lack of soil the area is well known for the enormous number of unusual plants that make use of what rich soil there is between the rocks.
Ever wondered what it might look like on the moon? Go to the Burren in County Clare and you might get the idea. One of Cromwell's officers said about the area: "Not enough water to drown a man, no tree to hang a man and no soil to bury him".
The Burren is a desert of limestone on the Atlantic coast formed in the ice age by receding glaciers. These left behind seeds of arctic, alpine and mediterranean plants behind which grow in the cracks and fissures. Do not collect them, though. All plants and wildlife are protected. Picking of flowers is an offence.
The Burren is a very barren limestone plateau located in northwest county Clare. It is rather large and covers over a hundred square miles. It is a stark contrast to the lush green areas found in many other parts of Ireland. There are interesting Stone Age burial monuments in this region as well.
Another very unique thing about this area is that in the spring ,both Arctic and Mediterranean wildflowers grow here side by side.
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