(Located on the West Coast of Ireland in County Clare)
The Irish word for Burren is Boireann and means “stony place” or “rocky land”. The Burrens are about 100 square miles of limestone surface that makes farming very difficult. Oliver Cromwell (who did some really awful things to the Irish, which basically resulted in genocide), had a surveyor who described this land as a “savage land” with “no water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil to bury him”.
This place is loaded with standing stones and various other megalithic structures including dolmens, cairns, wedge tombs, raths and ring forts. It would take you weeks, even months to explore all of them.
The Cliffs of Moher
(Located in the Burren Region on the R478)
The Cliffs are 5 to 6 miles long and the highest point is nearly 700 feet. This is one of Ireland’s most natural beauties with breathtaking views. The Irish government has built a new Visitor Center and car park. The fees to visit have gone up and you can now no longer lie down on the flat portion of rock and look down upon the water like you once could. The government has built a rock fence so that no one can get too close to the cliff’s edge.
This was built by Cornelius O’Brien and it’s said that he built it to impress his female visitors. It used to be a tea shop and now it’s a gift shop. Cornelius is a descendant of the O’Brien’s of Bunratty Castle. On a clear day you can see the Aran Islands from the top of the tower.
(Located in the Burren Region on the R480 not far from the Cliffs of Moher)
Poulnabrone in Irish means “hole of the sorrows” and Dolmen means “stone table”. This is an example of a Portal Tomb. It was built around 2500BC, although other sources say that it was erected as late as 3800BC. Inhumed remains were found in the chamber. The main body of bones that were found included: 1-newborn baby, 6-juveniles and 16-22 adults. Only one adult lived beyond 40 years, the majority were under 30. It was further proved that the bones were naturally de-fleshed elsewhere (by exposure, burial or picked at by animals, namely crows) and only then moved within the chamber at Poulnabrone. The Neolithic community would have been much larger than this and there are easier ways to bury the dead, so Poulnabrone is generally considered to contain the remains of special dead and to have been a center of ceremony and symbolism.
Unfortunately, you can no longer get up close to the dolmen. You also can no longer walk upon the rocky limestone surface, which made for a fun walk to Poulnabrone. The Irish government has built a path that you must follow and has put up a rope fence so that you cannot walk upon the rocks and a rope fence around the dolmen, preventing people from getting close to it.