Ireland invokes a vision of rolling green fields and rich farming land, yet its landscape yields unexpected surprises like the rocky expanse of The Burren. It reminded me of Australia, a seemingly desolate and savage landscape that hides a richly diverse and productive ecosystem. Created out of the geological chaos of the Ice Age, and the acidic mixture of limestone and rain that drilled holes into the surface to harbour the meagre Burren soils to support the greatest diversity of plants in Ireland. Arctic and Mediterranean wild flowers bloom together in The Burren, and drench the grey landscape in colour throughout June and July.
Poulnabrone Dolmen is an ancient portal tomb originally mistaken for a Druid’s altar because the cairn of tones that once surrounded it have been carried away to build cottages and fences. Like similar tombs, the tomb is orientated to the Sun’s annual cycle of life. The effort expended by people to build this edifice to their gods and ancestors drew me into the sacredness of the landscape. Successive generations have worked with the Burren’s natural gifts to create an abundant environment within which they survived and thrived into the modern era.