Dingle to the Burren – 19th July 2012

A good dinner last night in a small restaurant that specialised in matching beers to courses, and a good nights sleep in a central and very comfortable B&B.  This morning we had time for an explore of Dingle or a bit further.  I chose to walk out of town alongside the bay or harbour – its a really enclosed bay, with just a small gap out into the sea.

Beautiful morning with just the voices of the canoeists breaking the stillness. Their voices only seemed to confirm the quiet, a heron working the foreshore took no notice at all.

We took a ferry across the Shannon to leave Kerry and enter Clare.  Only 20 minutes, but a real excitement.  And I saw two big power stations.  The one in Kerry seemed to be mothballed – an oilburner, maybe too expensive today.  The one on the Clare side is the biggest in Ireland, said Paul, and a coal burner.  The ship unloading is likely to be from Poland.

The Shannon and Ireland’s biggest power station. Took this pic between glasses of beer. The sun’s shining, we are on a boat, it must be time for a beer.

On to the Burren – a highlight of the trip for me.  I’ve always loved limestone pavement, and to see a whole landscape of it was great.  We had an hour to explore.  Four of the group headed for a hilltop.  I wandered off alone.  The silence was amazing.  The only vehicle I heard was a Burren National Park minibus.  Barely a bird singing, its a dry and harsh landscape, but the detail is rich.

Parallel rows of joints in the limestone have been widened by the action of slightly acidic rainwater.

Limestone is not very porous, its only the joints that allow water to pass through freely, so some odd features can develop.

A miniature pond, complete with a thriving rush, right here on a dry terrain.

The Ice Sheet which scraped away all the soil from this landscape was responsible for depositing this boulder.  This one is Carboniferous limestone like the rest of the Burren, but some Erratics are of a very different rock to the locality.

Over a metre on its longest axis, a fine Erratic boulder sits on the limestone pavement.

A range of plants manage to survive, thrive even, in the deep solution hollows called grikes.  A little soil hangs on in them, and the shade helps conserve moisture.  But that is no explanation for this huge, brittle . . . what?  Perhaps a big lichen?

Its a plant of some form, but what?

The team make it to the top, and when they get down we can head for the Burren brewery in Lisdoonvarna.  When they get down.

Three are just visible beside the cairn. Coming down took time because they were almost scrambling up some ridges of limestone, and scrambling down is just not quick.

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