The Burren, situated in north-west County Clare, covers over 300 square kilometres and is of extreme importance to geologists, botanists and archaeologists from Ireland and beyond. As the largest karstic limestone area in Western Europe, the Burren is an anomaly in the Irish landscape and continues to fascinate geologists who come to study its limestone patterns, underground rivers and grykes (cracks).
To the botanist, the Burren is home to rare alpine plants, delicate wonders that grow in the thin soil and crevices - gentians, mountain avens and maidenhair ferns amongst others. The survival of both alpine and Mediterranean plants in this unusual habitat continues to arouse debate and to delight the careful walker. Those interested in the ancient history of Ireland will find a wealth of material in the Burren - megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses, a ruined Cistercian Abbey and more than sixty wedge tombs. Detailed maps of the Burren, such as that by the famous Irish map-maker Tim Robinson, are dotted with sites of archaeological interest, as well as the potholes which attract more and more adventure-seekers each year. Walkers on the Burren Way enjoy a route along dry, hard limestone paths with spectacular views north towards the Aran Islands and Galway Bay.
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