Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Evening Outing to The Burren, County Clare

The Dolmen at Poulnabrone by Jim

Jim suggested that we should take a trip to the Burren in the evening as it stays light so long now. This was on Saturday and it had been a scorching day. Luckily Buster returned from his wanderings about 5, so we were able to feed the animals and head off about 6pm. I know I have mentioned The Burren before but for anyone who doesn't know about this very special area, here is a link to the Burren centre:

Part of the Burren landscape. The ridges were formed as glaciers moved slowly across the land.

For me, the flora and fauna of The Burren is the main attraction. Flowers not normally put together by nature, live side by side in this unique environment. I have been quite a few times now and never tire of the area.

A few years ago we took Jim's sister to a Cairn at Poulawack on The Burren. There we saw the most amazing array of flowers. It was quite a difficult hike up to the Cairn - but ok if you were careful. We set off to find this again and the signpost which was originally by the track is now just a pole and the access was very difficult. The wall had clearly been built up and a further wall likewise. The cairn is on private land and I can only assume the landowner is trying to discourage visitors. It didn't work with us!

At first we thought there weren't many flowers out, but as we walked further along the track, we noticed many more. What ever time of year you go, the display is always different - and fascinating. I can't name them all, but here is a selection:

There were dozens of wild orchids.

Wild white saxifrage

The Burren is famous for the bloody cranesbill - and this is one.

This tiny white flower shelters down among the rocks.

This dog rose was just coming out. Again, they grow down the cracks in the rocks to take advantage of the shelter offered there.

This is Milkwort, which varies from pale pink to dark purple. I love the colour of this one.

There was lots of Lady's Mantle but it's very small.

The cairn at Poulawack. On our first visit we met some Americans who said 'it's just a heap of stones'! In typical Irish fashion there is no sign or explanation about the cairn. We engaged their 2 teenage children by explaining about the magical flora and fauna. They then spent ages taking photos and getting excited by all the variety of plants. Job done.

Ha ha, we played silly devils with our long shadows. A cuckoo accompanied us for most of this walk!

There are reputedly a lot of wild goats on The Burren, but we had only ever seen half a dozen. This time we passed a huge herd, but when we stopped, they all ran. I did manage to get a couple of reasonable shots:

Some of the males were enormous.

We always pay a visit to the Dolmen at Poulnabrone.

'One of the most iconic Irish images - and the single most photographed monument in the country - is Poulnabrone. This megalithic grave was also probably a site of deep spiritual significance to those who built it. The portal stone of this tomb is aligned towards the rising sun. This is an architectural characteristic of portal tombs.'

It is amazing when you stand near the tomb, to think it is some 5000 years old. The evening was drawing in and the sun setting, so we decided to stay by the monument and wait for the sun to go down. Jim took lots of photos of the dolmen, while I took lots of dandelion clocks. I also sat in some grass and to my horror picked up a load of tics! They were tiny and Jim had to pick them all off me at home.

Here I am waiting for the sun to set

One of Jim's photos of the Dolmen at Poulnabrone. The sun was shining on the underside of the main stone.

The Limestone pavement at sunset by Jim.

The Dolmen at Poulnabrone by me. It's a truly magical place.

A joiner of The Burren hills - please click on it to enlarge to a reasonable size.

One of my dandelion clock pictures.

A 'glory' of orchids.

One last one of a dandelion clock:

We drove back after that, stopping in Gort for burger and chips! What a delightful evening it had been.


Leatherdykeuk said...

What glorious picture. I love the header photograph and the stones are just fantastic.

Jason said...

Sounds a lovely evening, lovely pics, especially the pile of stones. ;-)


Lisa at Greenbow said...

You and Jim captured the magic of this place. All of those beautiful flowers are magical in themselves. Thanks for taking us with you.

BT said...

Glad you enjoyed them Rachel.

There were lots of stones! It was a lovely evening for sure.

Thank you Lisa. Lovely comment.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Helloooo...visiting you from Oregon in the states. I am so surprised to see you in shorts and a sheer shirt...we were where you were a little more than a week ago with heavy raincoats and wool hats! Your pictures (and your country) are beautiful!

BT said...

Hi Farmgirl, what a pity I didn't know you - you could have visited us. We've had lovely weather for a while now - too hot for me! We needed rain for a change and today we have had some. The garden is very grateful!

Telemarketing Philippines said...

What lovely photos you have brought us from your trip. The views are stunning especially the Dolmen and the Limestone pavement. It must have been a wonderful experience.

Yvonne said...

I love places like this. When I visited Ireland the last time we visited some places very similar, but I don't think we were here, so thanks for the great photos. I think Ireland is magical and it's nice to notice details and know the history of a place like this. Thanks for sharing!

Heather said...

Love your new header Gina. The Burren is indeed a truly magical place - I love wild orchids and all your pictures are superb.

BT said...

Thanks Yvonne and Heather. I've emailed you both. xx

kj said...

gina, i had to go back and look at your new header again. OMG! this is where you live too? OMG. the stone is breathtaking.

my favorite picture is your shadows. magical.

you and jim have such a good time together!