Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Burren

The Burren on the West coast of Ireland is a unique limestone landscape. The thin soil was probably already lost in prehistoric or early historic times and left the lime stone pavement with its cracks exposed

However, it has a rich and varied flora, and since it is early summer it is flowering everywhere; here you can see a wild orchid:

Due to the constant wind the trees are adopting strange forms like this one:

But of course we didn't go into the Burren to admire nature, instead we went to see Killinaboy Church with its famous Sheela na gig, a grotesque symbol of fertility that are mostly found on romanesque churches. Killinaboy was constructed in the 16th or 17th century, however, it was built on the remains of a 12th century church.


We then went on to Kilfenora, where the principle church of the diocese of Kilfenora was established (in the 12th century). It is famous for its high crosses from this time period:

Corconreo abbey is a Cestercian abbey founded in the late 12th century. It has beautiful architecture, although it sometimes appeared that the masons or architects just wanted to try everything, carved, incised, floral designs, humans, animals, everything is present, including different kind of arches and corbelled structures, some suddenly stopped midway.

We had lunch at the wonderful and recently opened 'An Fulacht Fia' which is the name of a prehistoric cooking place. If you ever happen to be in this area don't miss the oppotunity to have lunch or dinner at this stylish restaurant...their homebaked bread is heavenly and the view (the Atlantic) is fantastic, too.
After lunch we went to a spectacular stone-built 8th century cashel or hillfort, the site of Cahercommaun. This is what it looked like

and that is what is left of its splendid stone-wall enclosures.

And the best for last, a Portal Dolmen with 20 burials from 3800 to 3200 BC, called Poulnabrone.


  1. some very nice pictures this day. an I especially like the tree :)

    just one question:
    why can a see the sign of the enclosure from the back in the last picture????

  2. Yeah thank you, thought too much archaeology might be a litle bit frightening for non-archaeologist hehe.
    The last pic is the portal tomb. What is it you see in the distance? It is not even close to the hill fort????

  3. Oh now I see what you mean. In the background you can actually see so-called field walls, which are built from the same material as the walls of the hillfort. And yes, around the hillfort are a number of field walls which were use to keep the cattle at night etc. But these are different ones and more modern. Although there looks never really changed from the Iron Age till today.

  4. i am sorry maybe i didn't express myself clearly. on the other hand, spelling mistakes don't help to understand what mean ;)
    I meant of course "why can I see..."

    now... about the sign:
    i took a look at the last picture
    where you can actually barly see the cattle walls. but what i can see is an exlusion zone, in which the tomb itself is (an should be) and also you achraeologist folks (who obviously SHOUDLN'T BE).
    get my point? :))

  5. To be honest I can't see any people inside the fenced off area where the tomb is and I don't remember people actually going in this area. We were all good archaeologist this time. :))