Although you more think of Ireland as the Emerald Isle, emerald meaning a lot of green grass, we discovered some of Ireland's most interesting geography to be a couple of areas of solid rock.
By day four in Ireland we had seen the cities and the lush countryside and small villages and even been inside a not-all-that-old castle. But today, our tour guide took us through the Burren area, on our way to the Cliffs of Moher. The Burren is almost self explanatory. It is an area of barren granite hills that stretch for miles and miles and miles in southwest Ireland. It is, and then again it isn't a natural formation. Obviously the granite is natural, but had it not been for the Vikings and poor husbandry practices in the 900s, we wouldn't be seeing it.
Once, these hillsides were covered with trees and topsoil. But the Vikings, in an attempt to till the ground, cut the trees and plowed up the grass. And so over the course of the next couple of centuries, all the top soil washed into the valleys. Which makes the valley floors of the Burren very fertile, and the rocky hills above them, well, very rocky.
Our lunch-time destination that day was another rock formation, totally natural, on the Atlantic coast, the Cliffs of Moher. These cliffs rise 700 feet straight up from the sea down below. A sunny day would have been better, no doubt. But it had been raining cats and dogs on our way just a little earlier. So, this little break we had from the downpours while we were there was a treat. It could have been worse. And about the time we left, it got worse.
But that's the way the weather is in Ireland, at least while we were there. It rained every day at least some. But usually just in spurts. Heavy downpours that usually lasted no more than a half hour then the sun peeked out again, at least for a while before the next downpour.
I don't know for sure why, but I seem to have shot a whole lot of still pictures that day, as opposed to video, either from my pocked camera that I used mostly to get rolling shots from the bus, like these pictures of another tour that met us on "corkscrew hill" which is a description of the twisty, windy, road and not any liquid refreshments at the other end of the drive, or my big camera on which I hoped to get my better shots.
Again that afternoon the scenery changed again entirely, from nature to a recreation of a Dickens era village, located behind a 12th century castle, where we're feast that evening. But we'll get to that next time.
Monday, September 15 2014 5:39 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:39:25 GMT
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