Friday, November 28, 2008

2008 Ireland Trip - 9 Sep 08 - Part II

Our tour of the Burren included some other church ruins in addition to what we had seen at Kilfenora. First up was Carron Church, which you can read about by clicking on the next image.

It's really nice to have these information signs at the major sites.

I'm sure Michael was getting rather bored with touring church ruins, but there's something about these sites that speak to me. I really enjoy seeing the contrast of old and new grave sites and the competition of human dwelling with nature.

The old grave stones are covered in lichen, and most of the inscription has weathered away. Some details of the celtic weave design are still apparent, though.

Inside the chapel is the modern grave yard with grave sites well tended by survivors of the deceased.

I'm curious as to how permission, if any, is given to residents to add a grave inside an historic site.

Here's a detail of nature vs artifact.

A modern grave stone.

The other end of the grave yard within the chapel.

Looking beyond to the surrounding fields.

This looked like a small stone circle adjacent to the church. I'm sure I read something along those lines somewhere, but I can't find my resource.

Oh yeah - it's on the sign! Go and read all about it. . .

Another church ruins - poor Michael!

I think this one was built much earlier than Carron church, which dates to the medieval period.

The heavy cloud cover lends an element of drama.

One of the things I find interesting about Ireland is that ancient sites are relatiely undisturbed. In the states, old is out and places would be leveled to make room for progress.

Now, this is Poulawack Cairn, which dates to the Bronze age. This isn't a major tourist site and so Michael and I had the place to ourselves for the hour and change we were there.

Of course, we were soaked in the rain, but that made it all the more memorable.

As you approach the cairn, there's a small tomb built into the hill.

You kind of have to watch your step as you get closer to the cairn itself. There are a lot of these hidden holes to find.

A closer look at the tomb.

The cairn at the top of the hill. There are a couple of smaller structures to either side of the cairn.

The limestone pavement gives a stark contrast to the vegetation. The Burren is famous for the edaphic endemics that occur here. I wish I could come back in the spring to see the diversity of plant life in full bloom.

The Burren limestone

That small dot left of the cairn is Michael.

A couple of other landscape images of the cairn.

Typical limestone of the Burren

A close-up of one of the structures adjacent the cairn.

A view of the surrounding area.

Back down the trail to my rental car.

This site was pretty special and I'm glad we had it to ourselves to explore. All the other sites we visited were crowded with tourists coming off of buses. I have so many more pictures to process and post. I can't believe it's taking me so long to get through the posting, but I've been very, very busy since September. Stay tuned for more to come.

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