10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009
I found this region fascinating!!!!
The Burren is a vast limestone plateau in northwest County Clare covering 500 square miles!!!! In the 1640’s, Cromwell’s surveyor described it as ‘a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor a tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury” The large expanse of limestone – over 3 000 ft (900m) in places – acts as a ‘huge storage heater’, soaking up warmth in summer and slowly emitting it in winter – plus the local climate – makes it perfect for year-round grazing for cattle. Underground, the region is ‘honeycombed’ with caves.
It is a ‘unique botanical environment in which Mediterranean and alpine plants rare to Ireland grow side by side.’
We drove along the coast road for a bit before veering off inland towards Carron and the Burren’s perfumery
Most roads in this part of Ireland are lined with blackberry bushes (could be wrong about the variety of berry) and most cars are scratched along their left-hand sides!!
We followed road signs to see the Poulnabrone Dolmen (portal tomb dating back to between 4200 BC and 2900 BC) – one of which took us to Caherconnell Stone Fort’s car park. From there we followed paths within dry-stone walling to a visitors’ centre and entrance to the area where the Megalithic tombs lie. If remember correctly, there was still quite a walk from the entrance to the tombs and I still wanted to see the perfumery before making our way to Galway, so we decided not to pay the entrance fee and go in. It’s always very difficult to make decisions like that when I want to see and do everything but cannot :(
Driving to the Burren Perfumery and Floral Centre just outside Carron in the heart of the Burren, on single lane roads was precarious with blind corners and no place to go for an on-coming vehicle !!! We had planned to have a bite to eat there but the tea room was closed for the season :( such a pity, as I was looking forward to something yummy and a hot cup of tea. They serve a selection of freshly baked organic cakes, garden soups, tea, herbal teas and coffee
The Perfumery, which opened about 40 years ago, is the longest established perfume house in Ireland. It has ‘drawn inspiration from the flora and beauty of the Burren landscape to create it’s signature scents, which are hand blended and bottled on the premises. Today the Perfumery creates its artisan range, which includes handcrafted soaps, certified organic creams and candles, using the very best natural and organic ingredients sourced from all around the world.’
Even though everything smelt really, really lovely, I didn’t buy anything. Wished I had :(
70% of Ireland’s wild flowers can be found in the region. ‘From May to August, an astonishing array of flowers add splashes of colour to the austere landscape. These plants grow abundantly around the region’s shallow lakes (turloughs) and pastures, but they also root in the crevices of the limestone pavements.’
We watched a short 12 minute film on the unique local flora and landscape of the Burren before meandering through the organic show and herb garden
Onward we drove …
.. next two stop was Galway