The Burren has become well known over the last few years as the desolate Island home of Father Ted. In reality craggy Island is very much land based and in the heart of County Clare. The Burren is surrounded by several villages and small towns that are great bases for exploring from Kinvara in Galway,all the way to Doolin, Co. Clare.
The latter also making an ideal base to see the Cliffs of Moher, and the Aran Islands as well. What people may not realize is that the Burren is very much home to Ireland’s eco-tourism industry. In the past 5 years 18 local businesses have been rigorously trained on how to act and work in an ecologically sound way and how to promote and sell the rich natural heritage of the region without damaging it.
For those of you who have not heard of The Burren, it is a Karst Limestone region of 250 sq kilometers that is very rich in natural and archaeological history. Indeed The Burren has the most historical sites per sk km of any place in Europe.
Basically it is a lime plateau that has over thousands of years been denuded of any cover through erosion, it is primarily all bare and cracked rock.
The Burren has a very diverse range of plants, with rare Arctic plants that live alkaline soil, growing beside acid loving mediterranean ones. 75% of all the plants that grow in Ireland can be found in the burren, with 23 of our 27 orchids residing there.
The blue flower of the Spring Gentian, an alpine plant, is used as a symbol for the area by the tourist board. The Butter flys and the moths in the Burren are quiet spectacular to view as well. The Burren Green Moth, with its delicate lime fruit coloured wings being especially so. I should mention as well that the Burren Water beatle, while not as appealing is only found in 5 places in the world. one lake in Sweden and 4 lakes in the Burren.
Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poll na mBrón in Irish meaning “hole of sorrows” “) is a portal tomb in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland, dating back to the Neolithic period, probably between 4200 BC to 2900 BC. It is situated 8km (5 miles) south of Ballyvaughan in the
parish of Carran, 9.6km (6 miles) north-west of Kilnaboy. (grid ref: 123 200) is well worth seeing for those interested in history. There are 60 such dolmens in the burren alone.
In 1651 a Cromwellian English Army Officer named Ludlow remarked, “of this barony it is said that it is a country where there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury them.”. Given that the population of Ireland during Cromwellian invasion was reducedby a third, it is probably lucky that there wasn’t.
The butterflies of the Burren are also noted for their beauty. Here are two of rarer ones that inhabit it.
The Transparent Burnet