From Cliffs to Karst Topography, in Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher were impressive, but I’d have to go with The Burren as the most fascinating place we visited today.
Cromwell’s surveyors described The Burren as “yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him in, nor soil enough to bury.”
It truly is an odd, unique landscape, and does seem to hold some sort of mystical power locked within.
Flat, smooth limestone rocks are pitted with holes. The holes are filled with water and the barren landscape is home to dozens of types of small, beautiful flowers and shrubs, many rare and unusual for this part of the world. So what at first glance is grey, barren rock, soon reveals itself with a multitude of yellows, purples, whites, and pinks.
In the midst of all this is Ireland’s best preserved Neolithic portal tomb (of more than 90), Poulnabrone, dating from about 4,000 years ago. A bit farther down the road is the best example of a ring fort, Caherconnell.
The Cliffs of Moher are dramatic, and are a very popular tourist destination. Those with more time may wish to hike the trail along the cliffs to escape the masses. There is a nice movie in the Visitor’s Centre showing all perspectives of the cliffs with great aerial and underwater photography. You can take a boat tour to see the cliffs from the water and in retrospect, I think that would’ve been a worthwhile idea.
We also spent time exploring the grounds of Dromoland, which is really a manor home as opposed to a castle. You feel very much like you are living in a Downton Abbey world. I half expected to see Mr. Barrow come around the corner, except this staff is much nicer. Servers in tailcoats at dinner, high tea, formally attired staff coming into the drawing-room to light a late afternoon fire, a chatty carriage-driver sporting a bowler and a vintage horse-drawn buggy, impressive gardens and, of course, impeccable service.
I have never been a beer drinker, but do like dark beer. In college, I was told that was very low-class . . . . but it’s working for me now, because I like Guinness.