The Burren is a region of County Clare, Ireland, made up of a huge limestone sheet. The name "The Burren" is derived from an Irish term meaning "The Rocky Place."
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 the from Cromwell's protestant crusade. It's a very apt description. Nothing of any size can grow in the limestone sheet the forms the surface of this entire area, on 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 constructions.
You can get a detailled insight in Geology, Archaeology and Botany of the Burren at the Burren Display Cenre in Kilfenora.
In modern times, few people live in the Burren. Those that do are mostly Irish speakers.
- Corcomroe Abbey, near Bellharbour, was originally founded in the 12th century, and, despite centuries of neglect, is still largely intact today, excepting the roof. Despite it's age and exposure to the elements, many of the stone carvings are still intact.
- Poulnabrone Dolmen is a 5600 year old communal burial chamber. At that time, the prehistoric residents of the area left bodies out to have their soft tissue consumed by wild animals, and afterwards put whatever remained into a burial chamber. Little is known about the inhabitants of that time, but the age alone makes this monument fascinating.
- The Cliffs of Moher, standing over 200m tall, for a huge palisade facing onto Galway Bay. The Bus Eireann service from Galway to Doolin stops here for 30 minutes.
- Monk's Pub in Ballyvaughan has some very good seafood. Their chowder is fantastic to warm you up after a walk through the cold wind.
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 death toll is rumoured to currently be around a dozen.