The Burren, Boirinn, Stony Place,
is a unique area in the north west part of
County Clare. It is a huge area of limestone pavement. It covers 50 sq miles
(130km²) Surface streams and rivers disappear down pots
as they cross
from the shale to the limestone, because of this
underneath the pavement
the area is riddled with caves. The easiest cave to visit is
Ailwee Cave which is open to the public. It was only discovered
in 1940, and has been opened up with walkways and bridges so
that it can easily be seen. The architecture of the entrance building
has won awards.
The area has many stone forts and
dolmens. The whole area was well
settled before the Celts arrived in Ireland. There are 70
ancient tombs in the area the most famous being the Poulnabrone Dolman.
In the 1640's Cromwells surveyor described it as a savage land,
yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor a tree to
hang him, nor soil enough to bury. Few trees manage to
survive here but other plants thrive.In fact
the Burren is
a very exciting place to those interested in plants. From May
to August the warmth the limestone gives and the shelter plants
receive in the fissures in the rocks mean that Alpine plants
and plants from as far south as the mediterranean grow
side by side. There are many rare and protected plants growing
here.1100 out of the 1400 species of plants found in Ireland as a
whole are found here.
The Burren is one of the best places in ireland for butterflies
with 28 species found in the area. Many birds are found along
the coast, such as Rasorbills, gillemots and puffins.
Wildlife is harder to see but there are badgers, foxes, irish hares, stoats
and even wild goats!
Plants include "the bloody cranesbill" , "the hoary rock rose", "mountain
avens","maidenhair ferns" and even holly bushes.