This last week I was lucky enough to go on a work trip to The Burren in County Clare, Ireland. It was a wonderful trip full of beauty and learning. I’m not going into any details about my work, but do want to share some of the wonderful photos of the landscape I was able to explore. I also want to share a bit of the history of the place and recommend it as a place to visit.
The Burren means ‘great rock’ or ‘rocky place’ in Irish and it definitely suited the name. It is a beautiful historic landscape much changed by human habitation, especially through farming. It is a cultural landscape full of archaeological features, some of which are still used today.
The area is around 250 km squared and is enclosed within the circle made by the villages of Ballyvaughan (visited), Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin (visited), Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna. There many fantastic finds within the villages such as the The Perfumery and The Larder Deli.
It is an area of Ireland I was unaware of until it became a subject of fascination at work. Once we arrived we stayed in Ennis and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of tourists, especially from America. It was a honeypot of activity in the evenings with every bar full and musical entertainment a plenty. We foudn Knox’s and The Old Ground Hotel.
I was lucky to spend two full days talking and exploring with local people who look after their land with great care and understanding. This hasn’t always been the case, but in the last 15 years there has been a drive to rediscover how the land is kept in it’s best condition and going back to farming practices that support that and make sense economically for the local farms.
There is a lovely sense of place here and this is supported by the pride of the people I was able to meet. They have an identity here and love the land and the history in the places they live. There is a desire to keep this sense of identity for the future and in recent times many gates have been upgraded to the The Burren Gate, which is made locally.
I was able to take some time to practice my photography skills and focus on landscapes and flowers. I’m really happy with how lots of them came out even though I had to take quite a few reference shots for work purposes.
I learnt a lot from my work colleagues on this trip. It was mainly about habitats and flora and fauna found in The Burren compared to home. However my memory is rubbish and so the only ones I can remember are the Irish Orchids. Please shout if you know any of the other flowers I found!
Many flowers I took because I found them colourful and stood out against the green and stone backdrops.
If I hadn’t known differently I would have thought many of the fields I was walking through were not farmed in any way, but I would have been wrong. All the fields we went through were used for pasture and some were hay meadows. The quality of the fields are gold star. There was so much variety and colour everywhere we looked it was astounding.
It was also a peaceful landscape. There are many roads through the landscape and even less tracks across the farms. Many things are kept very traditional with limited use of machinery across all aspects of the farms. This leaves these beautiful meadows to flourish and benefit from the winterage type farming practices found in the area.
The limestone pavement The Burren is located on is a specific landscape. being located on the edge of the Atlantic creates a very specific area and climate that supports it. It’s very mild all year, which means is also very wet all year. It is a mountain climate, without any mountains. We had pretty much all seasons in the two days we were there.
I definitely want to go back and explore further than I was able to this time. There is a beautiful coastal road we only got to glimpse as we headed back to the airport. I did not realise how much there was to explore until we arrived. Also the people were so friendly I would like to spend more time sat talking and listening to their stories and music. I totally underestimated this trip and would like to rectify that by visiting again in the future.