Burren National Park

Burren National Park


Location: Burren, Clare Co Map

Area: 15 km²


Description of Burren National Park

Burren National Park takes its name from an Irish word "Boireann" that means "great rock". Burren National Park covers merely 15 km² of much large region that makes one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe. The locals call numerous cracks "grykes" and "clints" is referred to rock island that they form. This seemingly scarce land supports several species of endemic species of the region. Burren National Park contains several trails, however due to ease you can walk pretty much anywhere as long as you don't get lost. Being stuck during foggy period in this landscape might result in hours of pointless wandering for hours. For those who want to get underneath this moon landscape you can use Pollnagollum cave system.

Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poll na mBrón  or "hole of sorrows")

Poulnabrone is situated 8 km (5 miles) South of Ballyvaughan within boundaries of Burren National Park. It was constructed between 4200 BC to 2900 BC. It served for religious rituals as well as a marker for a cemetery. During excavations on the site bodies of 22 adults and 6 children were discovered around the dolmen.


When exactly the first settlers appeared in Burren-it is not known for sure. They were attracted by the amazing feature of these places-pastures, where cattle can graze all year round. Large limestone slabs-sometimes more than 900 meters thick have the amazing property of a natural accumulator - they absorb the heat emanating from the sun and slowly give it away during the winter. This feature, combined with the moderate temperature of the sea water, created excellent conditions for the first settlers engaged in agriculture.
The first farmers left traces of their culture in the area. Dozens of megalithic graves can be seen in the Burren. One of the most famous of these structures is dolmen Poulnabrone was created in pre-Christian times. The remains of the original grave in the form of a huge limestone slab, which the ancient builders used to create a monument to their ancestors, have survived to our time. According to experts, when this grave was built, a huge mound of stones and earth towered over it.
Long before the Celts settled Ireland, the peoples who lived in the Burren left traces of their culture in the form of graves, which, because of their characteristic shape, were called wedge-shaped graves. In 1934, in the town of Gleninshin was discovered skillfully made gold hryvnia-neck jewelry, considered today one of the most exquisite Irish jewelry of the late bronze age. The life of these ancient peoples is shrouded in great mystery. So far, nothing specific has been clarified about this culture. Later in this area were built countless stone and earth ring FORTS-ancient fortified settlements. Then there were built numerous churches, monasteries and castles.

Underground cave
Water seeping through porous limestone slabs formed underground caves — one of Ireland's most famous landmarks. In calcareous rocks abundance of caves, many of which still have rivers, streams and waterfalls. In a cave called Pol-an-aynon there is a free-hanging stalactite more than 9 meters long.

The Burren contains 75 % of the wild flowers of Ireland. It was noted that the combination of plants in this area is simply " amazing and in its diversity has no analogues in Europe." Here you can find plants characteristic of the coastal strip and mountain areas, meadows and forests. In the Burren you can find hundreds of valleys, located in reliable stone shelters, formed thousands of years ago as a result of the destruction of several interconnected caves. In summer, when the water table falls winter lakes turn into meadows.
According to botanist Kilian Rowden, rare beauty plants are found here in abundance. Although more than 600 species of plants grow in the Burren, it is not the diversity of plants and their abundance that make It unique. The most surprising thing is the unusual combination of species found here. For hundreds of years, botanists have been struck by the fact that " here — in this small corner of Ireland-Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plant species grow intermingled, not all of which love limestone soil." Beautiful blue spring gentian, which is considered an Alpine species, growing in the Burren even at sea level. Here, along with the Arctic plants, such as Dryad vosmilepestnaya, can be found and subtropical-for example, adiantum venereal hair. More than 20 species of orchids grow throughout this area. There is an abundance of early thyme, common sour, blood-red geranium, horned lyadvenets and many other plants.