The Burren

The original pavement garden

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Along Ireland's middle west coast where the famous Cliffs of Mohar meet the sea, stone that was once sea floor and scoured clean of all dryland species rose up after the last ice age. It gradually developed seams and weathered pockets. Seeds from Europe, North America and Greenland arrived on sea- and air currents. Now, in the cracks of the Burren pavement, a riot of plants grow. Take a few steps, look down. Step a bit further, look down. Continue all day rarely seeing the same plants twice.

Irlnd29MoharS.jpg  Irlnd28MoharPaveS.jpg

The Burren was not on our planned route but we travelers knew of it and knew we would be driving right through. As we approached it, we rioted and were released to climb and ramble. If we had the chance to return to just one place in Ireland, it would be the Burren.

Irlnd27MoharS.jpg  Irlnd26Burren2PlntsS.jpg

Unfortunately, Steven wasn't on this trip but good friend Debi Slentz helped Janet compose some meaningful photos. Here, she gives scale to a yew - the same species which gave us the hybrids and varieties we grow as clipped foundation plants.


Outside the Burren where the pavement is overlaid with soil, it's still pretty rocky terrain. Talk about hard scrabble farms. Lots of sheep. Too many? Many pastures were grazed to nothing but clumps of the yellow blooming, inedible pea-family shrub called  gorse. Those of you who have suffered through Janet's telling of the longest pun in the world may be interested to know she developed "You can lean a gorse to water but you can't make it pink" on this trip.

Irlnd33KerryRdS.jpg  Irlnd34KerryRdPeopS.jpg

We saw a lot of gray sky and the not-quite-droplets precipitation the locals called "misht". As in "That's not rain, it's just misht." When the sun did shine the intensity of color was fabulous.






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