The Burren

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The Burren is one of the largest limestone areas in Europe and spreads over 250 squared kilometers. Part of it has been selected as Burren National Park. Do you know where the Burren is? It is in the northwest of Co. Clare.

The Irish word for Burren is boireann, which means ‘rocky area’. It’s a very good name! The Burren’s moon-like landscape is very famous for the variety and unusual mixture of wildflowers.

The Burren at sunset
Copyright Mike Brown

There are Alpine-Arctic plants flourishing beside Mediterranean plants. Plants that love limestone soils (calcicole) and acidic soils (calcifuge) are growing in the Burren, as well as those that usually prefer a shady woodland habitat. They are all thriving in their own unique eco-system on the rocky, exposed Burren landscape.

What makes the Burren very special is that all of these plants are growing in the same region. Of all the plant species found in Ireland, about 75% are found in the Burren. Even though it might just look like a miles and miles of bare rock, there are lots of habitats in the Burren e.g. limestone pavements, grassland, woodland, hazel scrub, turloughs, fens, cliffs and gravel areas. It is a fascinating place to visit!