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Despite the relatively poor and rocky soil, hardy cattle are not a rare sight in the Burren, one of the most curious places in Ireland. The strange, almost "moonscape-like" terrain of the Burren has many curious features. In some places the stones actually ring when you tap on them. It's been a special place since the first human inhabitants arrived many thousands of years ago. I've never been to a place where the soil is so thin; there's almost none at all because the rock is right under the surface of the gorund, where there is any at all. The bedrock is known as karst limestone, which forms a unique pattern known as "karren," which also shows a very unique "wear" pattern. The pavement is cut by grykes (cracks). In some places there are large caverns. The region contains more than 90 megalithic tombs, including portal tombs (dolmens), ring forts and celtic crosses. It's in the northwest corner of County Clare. Despite the rocky terrain, plants and trees manage to grow. In fact, in springtime, rare wildflowers found nowhere else on earth (some 400 species of them!), including the gentian, orchids and bloody cranesbill. Some of them are little-known, even how often they bloom remains a mystery; it's been speculated that one species only blooms once every few decades! Grass grows up through the grass, enough so that it's still used as grazing land!

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1265] (2180)
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