the Burren is a ecological enigma. because there’s little in the way of tall shrubbery, it seems barren, but in fact it’s far from it. it’s a limestone plateau of ten square miles that one Cromwellian surveyor (Edmund Ludlow) described the sight in 1650 as “a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor a tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury him.” in fact, however, the Burren is resplendant in flora that’s been adapting in unique ways for the last 10,000 (since the last Ice Age). it supports the greatest diversity of plants in Ireland, and those from both Mediterranean and Arctic regions thrive.
the first human inhabitants moseyed onto the Burren about 6,000 years a go (six thousand!) and there are stone forts and historic sites scattered all over. there are some 500 Iron Age stone forts (one of them seen in the second picture, which isn’t terribly clear) and more than 2,000 sites in all. part of the area has been designated a National Park (one of six), but it wasn’t the area where I visited.