The Burren County Clare Ireland
The Burren is about 500 sq.kms of lunar-like limestone landscape and surely one of the wonders of this world. Its apparent bareness nurtures an internationally famous flora. When Stone Age farmers settled in the Burren they found the area forested. By late medieval times the felling of timber and the grazing of cattle produced to-days skeletal landscape.
Man has left a mass of evidence of having lived on the Burren for thousands of years. Material remains abound, including megalithic tombs, stone and earth ring forts, round towers, medieval churches, monasteries and castles. Burials took place in Poulnabrone and other dolmens over a period of 600 years from 5200 to 5800 years ago.
Gaelic Chieftains like the O'Briens, the O'Connors and the O'Loughlins - who were the Princesses of the Burren - had their castles here. One at least, Gleninagh Castle was inhabited until the middle of the 19th century.
The Burren offer an abundant diversity of flowers and plants, never planted by man. Many of these are botanists delight. Among the most exotic and unexpected is the Mountain Aven, whose main habitat is northern Scandinavia and the Spring Gentian, whose natural home is in the slopes of the Alps. A near neighbour is the Maidenhair Fern, a stranger from the Mediterranean cosily nurtured in the sparse damp soil in the warm shelter of the Fissures.
The Burren coastline shows a dramatic and picturesque mixture of stone, beaches and a crystal clear blue Atlantic ocean. The Aran Islands are an extension of the Burren landscape.There are numerous caves, two of which, Ailwee & Doolin Caves are open to visitors. The Burren Craft Trail and Bar Food Circuit is a day's scenic journey presenting local craftspeople and local hospitality.