The Burren, a great rocky expanse in County Clare, is one of the world's truly unique places in that it can supports Arctic, Mediterranean and Alpine plants side-by-side. Its ancient, awe inspiring stone structures hold secrets from the past that may never be unraveled. The limestone karst mountains are largely denuded of soil, so the landscape is composed of cracked, fissured, incredably weathered grey rock.
It's an amazing place. The karst limestone region of approximately 300 sq km starts at Doolin and extends to the north and east. It is composed of limestone pavements, which are eroded in a distinctive pattern known as karren.
The Burren contains dozens of megalithic tombs and Celtic crosses and a ruined Cistercian Abbey from the 12th century, Corcomroe. You can find villages abandoned since famine times and green roads on which you can walk for miles without ever seeing a car. And if you go in springtime you will find rare wildflowers such as gentian and orchids and bloody cranesbill.
An unpolluted and unspoiled area of over 100 square miles starting from the west at Doolin that really captivates visitors with it's jagged terrain of limestone pavements and fascinating countryside of contradiction and paradoxes the Burren is just made for browsing and discovery.
It is also a botanist's dream being home to flowers of Alp and Tundra and Mediterranean - Spring Gentian, Mountain Avens , Maidenhair Fern, Mediterranean Orchid. Towards the end of the Stone Age, man was drawn to the Burren by the dry and wooded uplands and immediately embarked on large-scale forest clearance. This and the constant action of wind on the cleared areas together with overgrazing resulted in exhaustion of the soil and, by mediaeval times, the stark landscape we see today.