Saturday, September 25, 2010

Snapshot: The Burren

The Burren is situated south of Galway in County Clare. The name derives from "bhoireann" Irish for "stony place." This karst limestone region, composed of limestone pavements, is eroded in a distinctive pattern known as karren and crisscrossed by cracks known as grykes. Underneath it all you find caves and rivers. At first glance it appears a barren land, but upon closer inspection teeming life becomes apparent including rare wildflowers such as gentian, orchids and bloody cranesbill. It has also known death rife as it is with megalithic tombs and villages abandoned during An Gorta Mor (The Great Famine). Home to people for thousands of years this is a place of celtic crosses and a ruined Cistercian Abbey as well as where local farmers graze their animals come winter. Best of all it's bordered by the Atlantic ocean - a perfect combination of rock and water - making it one of my favorite places on earth.


And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

- Seamus Heaney

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