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The Burren, Ireland

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General info

The Burren is located in northwest County Clare, on Ireland’s western coastline, and is a superb example of a glaciokarst landscape. The region is underlain by limestone, a soluble rock, which has dissolved to form an array of unusual surface and underground landforms that have been modified by the effects of glaciation. The Burren covers an area of approximately 360 km2 and is bounded to the north by Galway Bay, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by a distinctive scarp in the landscape and to the south by the boundary with different rock types (shales, siltstones and sandstones).

Examples of glaciokarst landforms in the Burren include limestone pavements, dolines and uvalas (enclosed depressions), gorges, springs, swallowholes (where streams disappear underground), dry valleys (no longer occupied by rivers), caves, glacial striae, glacial erratics, turloughs (seasonal lakes) and karren (small-scale hollows and channels on the limestone surface). These natural features are superimposed by a multitude of archaeological monuments spanning thousands of years and sequester a rich flora. The whole effect is to generate a vast, varied, remarkably beautiful and wild landscape treasured by local inhabitants and visitors alike