I just love the Burren – maybe even my favourite place on earth. It is a limestone plateau in the north west of Clare comprising an amazing and varied landscape with a unique scientific and cultural stamp that sets it apart from anywhere else. As a geologist in my former life I can appreciate the insight into geological process involved with limestone deposition and karst weathering that are usually not seen due to climatic and geological impediments or the impact of man. I won’t go into the detail here but it is worth chasing up on google as the geological history is fascinating (well to me anyway)
The Burren is a remarkable terrain and it is amazing how farmers eke out a living in such a place. I love the hostile beauty of its rocky pavements and the jagged cracks and crevices (grikes and clints) and where tiny plants hang on to a precarious existence. I love the intricate patterns (fluting and rinnenkarren) caused by the slightly acid water etching the exposed rock or the ripple marks caused by the lapping waters of an ancient sea, 320 million years ago or the trace fossils left on the sea floor by some antediluvian worm. It is hard not to be in awe of the power of the massive glacier that ripped off the overlying cover rocks and created this majestic landscape 10,000 years ago, evidenced by giant erratics deposited from the melted ice. I love the human heritage going back to Megalithic times 5,000 years ago wth the area dotted with tombs, dolmen, ring forts and other archaeological sites to the stone walls of today marking the boundary of one seemingly useless barren field from his neighbours.
I have been there three times so far on this trip and seen its various moods and I have no doubt I will go there many more times but I thought I would post some images that hopefully capture something of the place.