During Cromwell's campaigns in Ireland one of his generals said of the Burren "There isn't tree to hang a man, water to drown a man nor soil to bury a man". And so the residents were spared from Cromwell's protestant crusade. It's a very apt description. Nothing of any size can grow in the limestone sheet that forms the surface of this entire area, only short grasses and wildflowers. Even so, some of the oldest historical monuments in Ireland can be found in this area, dating back an incomprehensible 5 millenia, to when the Great Pyramids were still under construction.
In modern times, few people live in the Burren. Those that do are mostly Irish speakers.
The Burren covers a large part of northern Clare, however by driving along the R480 you can get a good view as it bisects the Burren. Start off in Kilfenora and take then R476 towards Corofin. The R480 is half way and is to the left. You will also pass by the Poulnabrone Dolmen on the way.
Caherconnell Stone Fort
One of Ireland's best preserved stone ring forts, Caherconnell Stone Fort just 1 km south of Poulnabrone Dolmen, it is an ancient Celtic Ring Fort. This Fort and other sites like it would have been inhabitied from around 500 A.D. to 1,500 A.D. in Ireland At the fort they have a 4 part tour. The first part is a display area which gives you some back round information on the Burren and the various sites in the area.The second part is a very nice film which tells you a bit about the Burren and gives you information on the other forts and tombs in the area. The 3rd bit is a virtual tour. It's a kind of 3D cartoon which shows you what a day was like for the people who lived in the fort - it's only about 7 or 8 minutes long but you understand the whole thing so much better after seeing it.
The last bit is the tour of the fort itself - they give you a little map and you can actually walk around the site and see it as it is today. It's interesting to compare with the other forts and having seen the virtual tour it's easy to visualise where everything would have been. If you are in Clare or the Burren go see it - and try the coffee - it makes all the difference to get fresh ground coffee on a cold spring day!
Caher Valley Loop This loop starts and finishes in Fanore, a small village situated on the west coast of north County Clare.The Caher Valley runs down to Fanore between Slieve Elva and Gleninagh. It has one of the few rivers in the Burren, the Caher, which cuts its way down through the rock and glacial deposit to emerge on the strand at Fanore and enter the sea. This loop walk is part of the network of walks under the Shannon Region Trails Programme and is marked using the standard red Shannon Region Trails directional arrows.
Near the Cliffs of Moher, there are many signs warning visitors to stay back from the edge. While many people choose to ignore this wise advice, beware that the signs are there for a reason, as people have fallen off. The strong gusts of wind here may have played a role, and the death toll is rumoured to currently be around a dozen.