Whether you’re a backpacker, a history, geography or geology geek, a family with kids or even someone who’s up for some real adventure you’re going to fall in love with this breathlessly beautiful part of Ireland.
After we visited Cliffs of Moher, we headed to one of the six National Parks of Ireland, The Burren (Irish: Boireann, meaning “great rock”). About 3700 acres in County Clare, The Burren is home to a rare and precious landform called karst, is part of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and recognised by UNESCO.
The Burren is one of the finest examples of a Glacio-Karst landscape in the world. Most of the Burren is today designated as a Special Area of Conservation, including almost all upland, and much of the lowland and northern shore area. There are also designated Areas of Scientific Interest and Natural Heritage Areas.
The rocks that make up the Burren were all formed during the Carboniferous period between 359 and 299 million years ago.
I’m not a geology geek but I find it interesting when I visited this place. It reminds me of my secondary years textbooks! It may sounds boring but when you realize that geology or geography comes to life – it is really amazing!
Karst landscapes are formed over time due to the chemical weathering and attrition of underlying limestone content. The chief culprit is acid rain, which produces carbonic acid, which dissolves the limestone content in the bedrock underlying the soil. Karst landscapes are typified by an absence of vegetative growth, and almost barren appearance, and an absolute lack of ponds, streams, or other freshwater activity. The presence of sinkholes, while not always present, is another feature identifying karst landforms. The limestone constituent of the soil is dissoved, leaving the remaining soil particles to be washed away, which leaves a void in the ground. When the water level falls, the support mechanism for the soil on top is nonexistent, and the roof usually falls in, forming the sinkhole. The karst landscape can be a product of inefficient human management, but usually is the product of a natural weathering force on Earths surface.
The Burren National Park is open all year round and is free to access. The Burren National Park Information Point in Corofin is open seasonally from April to September. May is the peak season.
The Burren is also popular with walkers and trails include the Burren Way, often taken over a five day period, and the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk of 18 kilometres.