The Burren

From Academic Kids

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A road winds down "Corkscrew Hill" towards Ballyvaughan.
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Cows graze on the limestrone-strewn Burren hills.
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Grikes and clints run along the limestone pavement.

Burren (from Gaedhilge / Irish: Boireann, meaning - stony district or great rock) is a unique karst landscape in northwest County Clare, Ireland. The use of the definitive article i.e. The Burren / An Bhoireann is incorrect in both English and Irish. The limestone area measures 300 square kilometres and is roughly enclosed within the circle comprised by the villages Ballyvaughan, Kinvarra, Gort, Corrofin, Kilfenora, Lisdoonvarna and the Black Head Lighthouse.

The rolling hills of Burren are composed of limestone pavements with crisscrossing cracks known as grikes, leaving isolated rocks called clints. The region supports both Mediterranean and Alpine plants side-by-side, due to the unusual environment. The blue flower of the Spring Gentian, an Alpine plant, is used as a symbol for the area by the tourist board.

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A portal dolmen surrounded by bare limestone rock in the Burren

Burren is rich with archeological sites. There are many megalithic tombs in the area, portal dolmens, a celtic high cross in the village of Kilfenora and a few ring forts, among them the triple ring fort Cahercommaun on the edge of an inland cliff and the exceptionally well preserved fort at Caherconnell.

Burren's many limestone cliffs, particularly the sea-cliffs at Ailladie, near Fanore, are popular with rock-climbers.


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