Moonscape: The Burren

Burren (c) Sheila R. Lamb

Moonscape, once a forest. 

The Burren, the Boireann, or great rock, is one of the most unique landscapes in Ireland, close to 155 square miles of Karst limestone. Located in western County Clare, this area edges up to the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay

It’s through pollen evidence lodged the soil between the rocks that pollen archaeologists (palynology) believe that in prehistoric times, this barren, rocky place had been wooded. 

Burren flora (c) Sheila R. Lamb

The vast area of limestone is a remnant to the last Ice Age that ended about 15,000 years ago. What is left, besides the rock, are high Alpine plants and flowers that grow in the grikes, fissures within the rock. 

Mediterranean and arctic flora are also found in the Burren, a rare co-existence of three flora species. Irish Fireside has posted beautiful photographs of Burren wildflowers.

Ringfort (c) Sheila R. Lamb

Evidence of human existence, from prehistoric time, is evidenced by dolmens, megalithic tombs, and ring forts. 

Millennia of human habitation led to the deforestation.

Burren limestone grikes (c) Sheila R. Lamb

Burren ponies (c) Sheila R. Lamb

For more geology, archaeology, and history of the Burren, check out these resources: 

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