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The Burren:

From the Irish 'Boíreann' meaning a rocky place, the Burren is composed of limestone pavements criss-crossed and gouged by fissures called grykes, leaving clints and slab-like flat areas. The limestone which was laid down in a shallow tropical sea in the Lower Carboniferous about 350 million years ago, has been shaped most recently during the last Ice Age.

Covering roughly 360 square kilometres, the Buren is in one of Irelands three Geoparks, and parts of this karst landscape lie in one of Ireland's six national parks. The Burren which boasts the most extensive area of limestone pavement in Europe, harbours a unique floral diversity with Arctic, Mediterranean and Alpine flowers blooming side by side, and is one of the finest examples of a glacio-karst landscape in the world.

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.

Places in the Burren to learn and experience the Burren.

Kilfenora Burren Centre:

This is a good place to learn about the Burren before exploring it. It is also worth visiting the High Crosses in the old church just off the square.

Burren Perfumery:

A little off the beaten track, the Burren Perfumery founded 35 years ago at the centre of a quiet valley in the heart of the Burren. Te tea rooms and gardens are a must visit.

The Burren Natural Heritage:

The Burren is 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.

The Burren National Park:

The Burren National Park is located in the south-eastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren; limestone pavement, calcareous grassland, hazel scrub, ash/hazel woodland, turloughs, lakes, petrifying springs, cliffs and fen.

Ailwee caves:

These caves form part of a cave system created by the action of melt waters from a prehistoric ice age on the limestone below the burren. There is also cheese making , a farm shop and a birds of prey centre.

Eagles Rock:

Slieve Carron Nature Reserve (or Eagle’s Rock as it is known to locals) is state-managed land located in the heart of the north Burren. It has a diversity of habitats including species-rich grassland, limestone pavements, heathland, mature hazel woodland and grazing pastures. This makes it an ideal spot to reflect on the diversity and abundancy of flora and fauna, and well as a great landscape to help us understand why the landscape management is necessary Aside from its ecological learning value, Slieve Carron NR is also the host to a fulacht fiadh, a holy well, the site of a hermitage cave and oratory.

Doolin Cave:

The stalactite at Doolin Cave was found in a 40m long chamber, one of the largest chambers in County Clare. Measuring 7.3 metres (23 feet) in length, it is recognised as being the longest stalactite in the Northern hemisphere. More on Doolin Cave

Built Heriage in the Burren:

County Clare is recognised nationally for its archaeological significance, with many large and well-recognised sites. Some areas of the Burren remain unchanged since the presence of the first farmer and are regarded as prehistoric landscapes fossilised in time i.e. Parknabinna. The vast number of archaeological sites alone in the Burren make it of international importance, with 300 recorded "Fulacht Fiadh - Ancient Cooking Place", 450 ring forts and the densest concentration known of wedge tombs in Ireland.

The rocky landscape that we see today is not just the result of glacial erosion and natural weathering, but also 6,000 years of agricultural activity. The Burren has been settled since the Mesolithic and is full of archaeological monuments from the stone walled field systems and megalithic structures of the Neolithic, to later Bronze Age settlements, Iron Age hill forts and Medieval churches.

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.

Lemenagh Castle:

This castle contains a 15th centaury residential tower and a 17th centaury fortified house.

Caherconnell Stone Fort:

This large and perfect fort 140-145 feet in external diameter dates back to 400 to 1200 ad.

Eagles Rock:

Slieve Carron Nature Reserve (or Eagle’s Rock as it is known to locals) is state-managed land located in the heart of the north Burren. It has a diversity of habitats including species-rich grassland, limestone pavements, heathland, mature hazel woodland and grazing pastures. This makes it an ideal spot to reflect on the diversity and abundancy of flora and fauna, and well as a great landscape to help us understand why the landscape management is necessary Aside from its ecological learning value, Slieve Carron NR is also the host to a fulacht fiadh, a holy well, the site of a hermitage cave and oratory.

Corcomroe Abbey:

corcomroe abbey

Corcomroe Abbey ruin sits in the center of a lush valley where a monastic community was able to thrive in the twelfth century. The abbey was most likely founded and financed by Donal Mór O'Brien, and it went strong for over 400 years - all the way up until the dissolution of the monasteries.

The Abbey sits just off one of the main roads that wind around the Burren. It's easy to explore and has a strong sense of solitude. It must have been a magnificent place, but all that is left are stone walls and remnants of art clinging to the ruins, the raised arm of a bishop, the bold face of a saint, the curls on the head a warrior, detailed carvings on a column.

The fishbone pattern on the ribs that support the vaulted roof over the sanctuary, the effigy of a Chieftain king, carved faces and flowers resembling bluebells atop the large columns are amazing. Corcomroe is a place to walk through slowly... to stop and notice the details.

 

 

 

Megalithic Heritage:

The Burren has one of the richest concentrations of ancient sites in Ireland. Hillforts, ring forts (or “raths” of which there nearly 500) , a few souterrains and standing stones, but mostly tombs – the few neolithic portal tombs (Poulnabrone) and court tombs (Teergonean), but upwards of 70 of the early Bronze Age wedge tombs (Cappaghkennedy, Poulaphuca, Gleninsheen). There are also scores of holy wells (St. Brigid’s neat the Cliffs of Moher) nearly all dedicated to the curing of one ailment or another.

Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen:

burren dolmon

This 6000 year old Dolmen is one of the most famous and most photographed Irish dolmens. Poulnabrone translates into Irish as 'The hole of the sorrow’s.

The dolmen was excavated in 1986, among the discoveries were the uncrematd remains of 16-22 adults and 6 children and one newborn baby. It appears the bodies had been burried elsewhere before being placed in the the Dolmon. The dolmon would then have been covered in stones.

It's just one of the many historic monuments dotted throughout this area.

Sea View House in Doolin is on the edge of the Burren and is an ideal base to explore this amazing landscape. Have a look at the Burren Explorer to discover more.

BurrenExplorer

 

The Burren Ecotourism Network:

The Burren Ecotourism Network

 

Sea View House is a member of the Burren Ecotourism Network, a network of tourism enterprises in the Burren, who demonstrate ecotourism ‘best practice’, positively discriminate in each other’s favour, provide ‘one voice’ representation on issues impacting the Burren (where appropriate), and inspire conservation activism.

Both organisations are committed to the promotion of responsible tourism that conserves the environment and improves the well being of local people. They work together to promote ‘The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark’ as a leading sustainable visitor destination, celebrated for high standards in visitor experience, conservation and learning.

 

The Burren Ecotourism Network produce the Burren Naturally Yours, a Free Burren Guide

 

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Sea View House Doolin, Fisherstreet, Doolin, Co Clare,   Ireland   Tel: 087 2679617    Tel US/Canada: 011 353 87 2679617 .
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