The Burren lies south of Galway in County Clare, Ireland. The
name Burren is from the Irish - bhoireann meaning a stony place. Its formation
has lain unspoiled since the ice-age and is composed of karstic limestone, the
largest area of such in western Europe. It is a place of surprise and delight to
botanists, archaeologists and ecologists alike and occupies an area of over 100
It is an upside-down world of contradictions where rivers run underground
through a honeycomb of caves carved by nature through low-resistance limestone;
Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants grow side by side as strange flower-bed
fellows in secret stone pockets and rocky wrinkles. The area has some of the
finest archaeological megalithic tombs in Ireland. There are relics of human
habitation dating back almost 6,000 years.
After the disappointment of not being able to visit the Cliffs
of Moher, due to thick mist, we were pleased to see clear weather as we
approached Fanore, the start of our walk over the Burren to Black Head. However,
walking along 'The Khyber Pass' we could see that mist covered the area we were
heading for. As we left the clear track to walk over pathless limestone pavement
we had to rely on map (rather a sketchy one) and compass to make our way over
four miles of non-stop limestone. Navigating over two summits and down limestone
terraces we were pleased to eventually see the sea and our route back to the car
as we descended out of the mist.
Scroll down to see the photos we were able to take on this
Bunratty Castle - famous for its banquets . . .
with Durty Nelly's next door
The Burren is well-known . . .
for its variety of plant life . . .
growing in the thin soil
A windblown tree as we find our way through the mist . . .
onto the limestone pavement
The distinctive stone walls use local stone and economical
design and stand as linear monuments to local skill and hard won endeavour.
Not an easy task . . .
we were pleased to eventually reach our first summit,
Gleninagh Mountain . . .
and made the most . . .
of the perfect place to sit
One of the limestone terraces we had to navigate
An unusual cairn found on our way to . . .
the second summit, Dobhach Brainin Cairn . . .
with the compass still very much in use!
The limestone varied in its structure . . .
as we crossed huge sections . . .
sometimes interspersed with flowers
We knew we were nearing the end of the limestone section when
we reached Cathair Dhuin Irghuis stone fort . . .
and were pleased to find cairns leading us down more limestone
terraces . . .
and at the last cairn . . .
Sheila spots a welcome sight . . .
the sea has come into view . . .
and we can make our way down to the path back to the car
Driving on to Connemara we can see the extent of the cloud sitting just over The
Burren - quite a sight!
to Introductory Page