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The Burren

The Burren lies south of Galway in County Clare, Ireland. The name Burren is from the Irish - bhoireann meaning a stony place. Its formation has lain unspoiled since the ice-age and is composed of karstic limestone, the largest area of such in western Europe.

The Burren is bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay and is tucked in the north-west corner of Clare.

Below: yet another desolate ruin along the road.

The Burren has a sparse and lonely, yet natural, beauty

It is an area of approximately 300 sq. kilometres. The area itself is very bleak in appearance with glacial soil loss at a maximum. However it does have sufficient soil to grow a wide variety of the most unusual and rarest of plants, many of them strange bedfellows.

In this area, it is almost impossible to find a fence which is not made of stone. They are superbly crafted, in various styles, and shows how natural resources can be utilised effectively, although I can imagine these fences taking a long, long time to build, although the stone is so freely available - just scrape the soil away and there is the rock, sheet upon sheet of it, waiting to be used.

This area has some of the finest archaeological megalithic tombs in Ireland, if not in Western Europe. There are relics of human habitation dating back almost 6000 years and the most famous is the vortal tomb, or portal dolman, at Poulnabrone. In this area alone there are more than 60 wedge tombs and the densest concentration in Ireland. There are also numerous examples of raths (earthen ring forts) and stone cashels. This area is also rich in historical ecclesiastical sites.

Below: Yet another ruin - they're everywhere!

But now I had to make tracks, as I was to meet up with a friend and his mates over on Achill Island, a few hours ride away.

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