Beginnings of the Burren

Personally I wouldn’t go far out of my way to see something more stark than where I already am, but you know, in the interest of familial peace I acquiesced. Besides, somehow the navigator was guiding us right past a small pull off of great historical import. I managed to drive right past but quickly got Escape Velocity turned around and we immediately saw a nicely walled in, uh, front yard for lack of any accurate knowledge.

Wandering around through the woods we found the lintelled stone and mortared gateway to Cahermore.

Apparently it started as a medieval fort sometime between 500 to 1170 AD and by 1308 it was a wealthy family’s homestead featuring three outer stone rings around a central group of buildings.

Off in the distance in most of these photos you can see the heart of the hills of the Burren, showing the effect of multiple ice ages that shaved clean the hills leaving naked rock. And that’s where we’re headed.

The Burren is a unique glaciokarst landscape designated a UNESCO Geopark. If you want to know about the geological and human history of the region you can read more here or here.

We’d been winding our way uphill but now the climb into the mountains started in earnest. Finally we broached the tree line and found a place to spend the night here on the side of the mountain. Just us and the rocks.

It’s a little nippy up here and without much to stop it, the wind is unrelenting.

After a cold and bumpy night we headed out with purpose. Our mission is a visit to Poulnabrone-The Portal Tomb, where it’s been known to get quite crowded so we thought a morning arrival would be best. We found lots of other rock fans but it’s a large site and it can absorb lots of funseekers.

Built on top of an oval shaped cairn of loose stone, the tomb was begun in the Neolithic period some time around 4200 BC. When it was first excavated in 1986 the remains of 33 people were found interred here.

We just heard two tour buses pull into the parking lot so that makes it about time to go.

Our parkup tonight will be a commercial affair that we’re not entirely sure we’re even allowed into, but what would it be if you didn’t try? You have to try.


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2 Responses to Beginnings of the Burren

  1. Elenora Sabin

    I am always amazed at how you find these places and how you have the stamina to explore sites that are difficult to reach. The photos and the stories behind them are fascinating.

  2. Diane Sanderbeck

    We loved The Burren and Poulnabrone when we visited Ireland years ago before it became such a popular place to see. It’s really quite spectacular due to its antiquity. But then, we kinda like rocks. Glad y’all have caught up on the blog. Love your stories and pictures.

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