We saw a sign post for the Burren on our way to Ailwee Caves (we didnt really know what the Burren was at the time) and decided to have a look. We ended up driving about 30kms extra to get to the caves! Bit of a detour:) But we got to see the amazing Burren landscape, havent seen anything like it before. We arrived at a Perfumery too, where they sold soaps, perfumes and potpurie... not much to do there except watch a film about the Burren.... but it turned out to be a lovely drive anyway!
Kilfenora has one of the most beautiful and most unique Celtic High Crosses in Ireland : The Doorty Cross, showing a bishop and 2 other people. Nowadays Kilfenora is just a tiny village but once it had been one of the most important centres of religion in Ireland and it even has also quite a unique status inside the catholic church: 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, that you will not find at any other place in the whole world : All of the ground is covered by vulcanic rocks, that seem to be artificially cut into giant cubes of different sizes. Inside the many gaps between these rocks you will find a giant 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 !
Walking on this vulcanic rocks makes a strange sound and when you take one of the stones in your hand you will see, that it is less eavy that ordinary stones. It is the combination of the grey rocks and the colorfull flowers that makes 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.
The Poulnabrone-Dolmen is without doubt the most famous megalith tomb of Ireland. It dates back to the times of 2500 B.C. and still today scientists dont know exactely, how it was technically possible to build such heavy structures by the primitive tools of that time.
The Poulnabrone-Dolmen might easily be overseen, because it is not directely next to the road, but in a distance of maybe 300 meters - it is always the best to search for other cars and buses and follow their passengers - you will have to climb over a fence of a farm, it includes a small & easy stair ! When walking over the rocks of the Burren, try to listen to the strange sound it makes, when walking on these vulcanic rocks !
The formation of the rocks in the Burren made me feel as if I were in different planet! You can wander till you drop, choosing your path in the grey stones of the Burren to reach next village by walking, or you can walk to the rocky beach, or simply laying in the green grass to enjoy the scenery and breeze. There is also tour operator offer tour of Burren from the sea.
The name Burren derives from the Irish word "Boireann" meaning rock land. And indeed, it is. When you get here you may think you have landed on the moon. Glacial, wind and erosion have formed limestone pavements with deep fissures. The place has been home oto ancient civilizations whose remainings cann still be visited. Stone arches, old churches and the 5000 year-old Dolmen.
The Burren is a unique piece of nature in the west of Ireland. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers in the County Clare and is bordered by the Galway Bay in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and lower grounds in the south and east.
The Burren is derived from the Gaelic word for "stony place" and that is exactly what it is. Hardly nothing grows in this area, where the ground is made from limestone that makes the area rough and hardly impossible to live in, except for some famous and rare flower species that attracts nature lovers from all over the world. I found this nice quote about the Burren that indicates the roughness of the area:
"The Burren. Where there are no trees to hang a man. Where there is not enough water to drown him. And if you finally succeeded in killing him, it's too rocky to bury him."
But besides all this, The Burren also is archeologically interesting. Some caves are discovered here as well as some very old so called Dolmens: old graves that were made here many centuries ago.
Burren is an environmental wonderland composed mainly of limestone. It stretches over 260 square km, reaching from the sea-level to the height of 300 m. The limestone hides a network of caves and on the surface has been smoothed to form kind of pavements separated by deep, narrow vertical cracks.
Ludlow, one of Cromwell's men, described Burren in this way: "not enough wood to hang a man, not enough water to drown him, and not enough earth to bury him". Although his words reflect the nature of Burren very well, it is not as barren as it might seem. In fact, over 70% of Ireland's native flora can be found in Burren, including 24 of 28 native orchid species. Altogether about 600 plant species can be spotted here and Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants grow here side by side. The colourful flowers against grey rock must look especially beautiful in spring but visiting Burren in August was also a real treat for us.
This was my absolutely favourite landscape - very barren and bleak, just stones, thistles, almost no other vegetation - and nobody really knows how come! I would have loved to stay there a little while longer and wander about some more - so this is another good reason to come back!
There are dolmens (megalithic tombs) all over Ireland, but Poulnabrone is one of the best known and most visited. Bodies of more than 20 people were discovered in the tomb, along with tools, jewelry, and fragments of pottery.
There is no admission fee or visitor center, just a panel displaying some interpretive information. A rope barrier surrounds the dolmen, preventing visitors from touching or entering it.
Busloads of tourists often stop at this site; if you happen to arrive when a bus is present, wait a few minutes because the tourist groups are usually just making a brief stop there and won't stay long.
The area known as The Burren is an area where there once were glaciers. The name comes from "boireann" which means "rockyland" in Gaelic. It's a unique area where both Mediterranean and Alpine plants grow which is very strange. It has limestone where some of it was once under water, and also black shale and sandstone that forms the cliffs. The scenery here is magnificent. Our bus climbed up a steep incline on narrow twisting roads, some making a 360 curve, to the top where we got out and could see all around the entire area. Galway Bay was way in the distance looking one way. There are small alpine forests of Firs and I was surprised to see Fuchsia's here in full bloom. There are lush green pastures with flocks of Magpies, Barn Swallows and Carrion Crows flying about. Rock walls divide the pastures. I think we gave some of the drivers of little cars heart failure seeing our big bus coming up these narrow twisting roads. New cottages are popping up here as this is becoming a popular vacation area.
‘The Burren’ is an anglicisation of the Gaelic term ‘An Bhoireann’ which means “a stony place”.
It is a vast expanse of limestone that has an almost lunar look. It’s dotted with dolmens (ancient rock tombs), ring forts, cairns and early Christian ruins. The soil, which collects in the long cracks in the limestone, supports plants from an incredible diversity of regions -Mediterranean to Arctic.
Among the sights in the Burren is Poulnabrone, a dolmen built in 2500 BC. This dramatic site, on the karstic limestone pavement of the Burren, is one of the most famous Irish dolmens. The name Poulnabrone literally means 'The hole of the sorrows'. Uncremated remains were found in the chamber, its portico, and in the grykes (crevices in the limestone floor). In particular, there were the main body bones of one newborn baby, six juveniles, and 16-22 adults. Only one of the adults lived beyond 40 years, and the majority were under 30 when they died. An analysis of all the fragments of disarticulated bones revealed a hard physical life and a coarse diet; it was further proved that the bones were naturally defleshed elsewhere (by exposure or burial) and only then moved within the chamber at Poulnabrone.