The Burren lies south of Galway in County Clare, Ireland. The name Burren is from the Irish - bhoireann meaning a stony place. Its formation has lain unspoiled since the ice-age and is composed of karstic limestone, the largest area of such in western Europe.
It is a place of surprise and delight to botanists, archaeologists and ecologists alike and occupies an area of approximately 300 sq. kilometres. The area itself is very bleak in appearance with glacial soil loss at a maximum. However is does have sufficient soil to grow a wide variety of the most unusual and rarest of plants, many of them strange bedfellows.
The Burren in its sparce and lonely beauty, with a close-up of the structure of the Burren
A fine collection of alpines and Mediterranean species grows together in this limestone area with, strangely, some of them being lime-hating plants. The Burren is bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay and is tucked in the north-west corner of Clare.
Some of the Alpine and Mediteranean Plants to be found in this sparce area of County Clare.
This area has some of the finest archaeological megalithic tombs in Ireland, if not in Western Europe. There are relics of human habitation dating back almost 6000 years and the most famous is the vortal tomb, or portal dolman, at Poulnabrone. In this area alone there are more than 60 wedge tombs and the densest concentration in Ireland. There are also numerous examples of raths (earthen ring forts) and stone cashels. This area is also rich in historical ecclesiastical sites.
Dolman at Poulnabrone
The Ailwee Caves
Nestling unobtrusively within the Burren, and just 4 miles from Ballyvaughan, are the Aillwee Caves. These were discovered in the 1940's by a local farmer while out flocking sheep. His dog had disappeared and was then found inside the cave entrance which must have been covered for millennia. Remains of brown bears and indentations of the bear pits were discovered not far from the entrance. Bears have been extinct in Ireland for thousands of years so this find caused some excitement.
The caves were eventually taken over by a business consortium and excavated extensively to allow safe passageway through them. They now extend into the mountain for over one third of a mile and the journey shows some magnificent stalagmite and stalagtite formations, one of which is an impression of 'the praying hands'. Waterfalls appear along the route and the temperature remains a constant 40F. all year round.
A visit to this place opens an Aladdin's cave of wonders and well worth including in any trip to County Clare. The whole project has been completed very tastefully and the entrance and carpark are only visible up close, leaving the distant vista of the mountain unspoiled. This is an area of County Clare which attracts huge numbers of visitors.
Making our way back into County Galway the first town we meet is that of Kinvarra. This sleepy looking little place is deceptive - it plays host to two of Galway's great festivals. In May is the cuckoo festival and in August is Crinnui na Mbad - the sailing festival. Here we see the ancient and famous sailing boats, the Galway Hookers, in all their glory as they race around the Bay area.
Kinvarra and Dunguaire Castle
On the outskirts of town stands Dunguaire Castle. It was built in the 16th. century but is said to be on the site of the 7th. century stronghold of Dunguaire, one of the Kings of Connaught. Today the castle gives an insight into the way life was lived in the 1500's in the form of banquets which are part of the tourist attractions of this area. The food is plentiful and of traditional Irish fare. Mead, the ancient nectar of the Kings, is the beverage of choice and the eating style is that of the 16th. century, so fingers only - no eating utensils!
The diners are entertained with old celtic music sung by choristers dressed in the mode of the day and with the accompaniment of the harp. At night the castle is lit on the outside and it presents a glorious picture sitting on the water's edge with the town and quayside in the background.
And so, this part of our journey concludes, links to the rest of the journey are just below our newsletter subscription.
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the Rest of the Journey
For those who have just joined me on this page why not go to the beginning of our travels and see some of the places in The Start of Our Journey through the West of Ireland.
My Place Amongst the Stones gives the history of my company name, Moytura - a celtic heritage going back thousands of years.
We journey to my own parish of Lackagh - a small village just 12 miles from Galway with a mighty big history. Learn all about the Battle of Knockdoe - one of Irelan'd bloodiest of conflicts in the 16th century.
We then move on to take a quick jaunt around Galway City; and to the heart of Connemara - with its wild and wonderful beauty.
Visit Ireland's finest early monastic heritage centre in Clonmacnoise; and to my favourite of all the early Christian Church locations - Clonfert, with its beautiful tiny 12th century Cathedral of Saint Brendan. Come with me around the grounds and see the Bishop's Palace and the 1000 year old Yew Walk.
While on the Clonfert pages, you can learn a potted history of Saint Brendan the Navigator, possibly the first European to set foot in North America in the 6th. century. And join me in the celebrations when this tiny cathedral was listed in the World Monuments Watch 2000 most endangered monuments.
Come with me on my 'Famine Journey' which starts in Westport, and moves to Sligo, my Dad's County and the departure port for many of the 'Coffin Ships'. This part of my journey ends in Grosse-Île on a tiny island east of
On this page you will learn some of the history of our Famine Refugees and find the final resting place of over 6,000 of my country folk who died within sight of their first freedom in over 300 years. This is where many of the Irish roots in North America started.
Our Journey moves on to other places on that visit to Canada where we see Quebec City and some of Ontario's lovely places and then to two of Canada's famous Catholic Shrines - Saint Anne de Beaupré and to Cap-de-la-Madeleine.
Finally, join me on my pilgrimage to a peaceful haven in a war-torn country in Medugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovinia. The other areas of my Web site can be found in the drop-down box below.
If you are interested in Irish history or anything to do with Ireland why not visit our new additions where you will find a large selection of genuine Irish goods as well as Irish reading, music & viewing material!:
Moytura's Irish Store, Moytura's Irish Bookshop, Moytura's Irish Music Store, and Moytura's Irish Video Store
I have added links pages of other places related to the places we visit, links to leisure activities in Ireland i.e. golf, fishing, horse riding, sailing in Ireland, festivals, entertainment etc. and some of my friends' home pages.
Go raith míle maith agat - thanks a million
Beannacht Dé Ort - bain taitneamh as do thuras.
God Bless and Enjoy Your 'Journey'
Oh, I nearly forgot......come and meet me and mine HERE
See some of the awards received for this site HERE.
For those of you who are interested in tracing you family ancestry these pages might help, just hit the banners to go directly to each site or check out our Trace Your Ancestry pages first where you can see some of the vast numbers of data base lists and try out an on-line search for yourself.
Every now and then people send me stories, poems, or URLs to other Home Pages that I find very touching or uplifting, they can be found at the links below. Some will make you smile, maybe even laugh, some may make you cry or a little sad - but all will leave a little bit of a mark, if only for the few minutes you spend reading or listening to them. Enjoy - I call this section:
"PRAYERFUL THOUGHTS & THOUGHTFUL PRAYERS"
CIRCLE OF PRAYER
Become a Prayer Warrior and join people from all over the world praying for and with each other and for a world in crisis. Just commit yourself to 10-30 minutes a day prayer time, the graces will abound and your life WILL change!
Moytura's web site currently has 12 definite and individual sections which can be found below:.Choose a Location
WEB DESIGN & HOSTING
Moytura Graphic Design offers the complete Internet solution for your company or business. We design, host and market your site, regardless of how small or large it needs to be.
You can learn more about our service by following the link to:
IT'S JUST THE IRISH IN YOU!
If you are Irish or have an affinity with Ireland, Moytura also has an Irish Book Shop, Irish Video Store and Irish Music Store, stocked with all things Irish or Irish-related. Just hit the buttons below:
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Get a Free Family Coat of ArmsAncestry.com has the greatest databases in the world for those in North America who are trying to trace their ancestry. Hit the banner to the right to see the some of the extensive lists available and while there why not do a search from their own database search engine?
Just hit the banner to the left.
Are You Drawing Up Your Family Tree?
Moytura now has a brand new Irish shopping site online, so why not go and have a mooch by hitting the logo!
Here you will find a vast selection of Irish products in the following categories: Ancestry, Art, Books, Collectors items, Crafts, Crystal, Dancing, Fashion, Foodhall, Fragrances, Gifts, Heraldry, Houseware, Jewellery, Maps, Music, Names, Sportswear, Travel and Videos. All our goods are from genuine Irish suppliers.
Moytura Graphic Design has expanded enormously since it's humble beginnings just a few years ago and has taken a new business venture which can be operated from home on a full or part-time basis. You can learn about this work-from-home opportunity here.
The telecommunications industry goes from strength to strength world wide, especially with de-regulation opening up most countries to healthy and cost-cutting competition. The company, for which we are Independent Consultants, has been so successful since its European start-up in 1998 that it has now expanded from the UK to Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the USA, with Germany and France due in the near future. It plans to expand even further to:
If you, or anyone you know, living in any of these countries would like to start a home-based business, the opportunities are enormous as this company is only just beginning and, as Independent Consultants, everyone will be in at the very ground level. E-MAIL for details or check out the WEBPAGE.
Contact Mary Mullins, Moytura Graphic Design, Cregmore, Claregalway, Co. Galway, Ireland. Ph: +353 91 798407
© 2000 Moytura Graphic Design