Wim van Velzen photography - landscape

Co. Clare: the Burren

Caherconnell 1 Caherconnell 2 large Caherconnell 3

Caherconnell 4 Caherconnell 5 Fanore 1 Fanore 2

Caherconnell 6 Caherconnell 7 Caherconnell 8

Caherconnell 9 Caherconnell 10

Corcomroe Abbey 1 Corcomroe Abbey 2 Corcomroe Abbey 3

Toomaghera Kilfenora 1 Kilfenora 2 Kilfenora 3

Ireland is known as the green island, but the Burren (derived from the Gaelic Boirrean: rocky land) seems from a distance to be mainly grey. That is because of the lime stone, which under certain circumstances turns purple in the evening.

Cromwell's surveyor Ludlow complained: 'savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor a tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury'. Not my first concern when I visit a country, but it shows what the Burren looks like.
But it is not just dreary. As soon as you come closer its vitality becomes apparent. Everywhere between the lime rocks the most wonderful flowers blossom, the orchids being the most special ones. It can seem as if the plants cover the rocks entirely and at other places they hardly can give a bit of green to the stones.

As can be concluded from the amount of megalithic graves and ring forts the Burren was popular as a place of living at quite an early date. Remarkable as well are the old churches and abbeys, run up from the grey-purple stones of the area. The walls seem to be chipped out of the environment.
Houses are still rather concealed in the landscape. And as the stone walls testify, farmers try to find a living between the stones.