Wildflowers in the Burren Limestone Landscape

Wildflowers in the Burren Limestone

Wildflowers in the Burren Limestone.

These little blue flowers, called Harebells, grow out of the rugged Burren limestone landscape from late Summer through Autumn in Ireland’s smallest national park.

Burren National Park covers a 250 square kilometer area in counties Galway and Clare.

Despite the rough geology and lack of significant soil, the Burren plays host to more than 70 percent of Ireland’s native plant species. Arctic and alpine plants co-exist alongside Mediterranean species.

Ice, rain and the oceans joined forces millions of years ago to sculpt Ireland’s rugged limestone Burren landscape.

As recently as 15,000 years ago, this region was covered with ice, gently shaping the limestone terraces characteristic of the area.

The area also is believed to have been wooded with much more soil in prehistoric times, however, the human insistence on cutting trees and clearing woodlands had the detrimental effect of exacerbating erosion with the resulting loss of top soil.

Burren National Park now is a popular tourist destination with lots of hiking trails through fields of limestone pavement dotted with wildflowers and grass.

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