I left the Doolin area and headed up into the Burren. I found a castle, abandoned houses, an old school and an old tomb or something.

Abandoned house in the Burren, Ireland

Abandoned house in the Burren, Ireland

Abandoned house in the Burren, Ireland

Abandoned house in the Burren, Ireland

I found another abandoned house.  You can see how carefully shaped these stones are. At one point this was a very good house. There are a lot of empty houses.

Between 1841 and 1871, over a third of the population of Ireland was lost to famine or emigration.

Ballynalackan National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Ballynalackan National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Ballynalackan National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Ballynalackan National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Ballynalackan National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Ballynalackan National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

I was driving on the Unnamed Road behind Ballinalacken Castle and found Ballynalackan National School House. On the Ireland National Education Report of 1841 it lists 6 female students at Ballynalacken National School in County of Clare.

A book has been written about the The Deserted School Houses of Ireland.


This road was very narrow. A large van came at me in the wrong lane. This time I just blew the horn and stopped the car. We were traveling slowly, so there was plenty of time to stop. He was from Cashiers, about an hour from my home in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Two small cars might have passed, but definitely not the big van. I backed the car to where it was wide enough for us to pass.

House for Sale, Burren, Ireland

House for Sale, Burren, Ireland

In 30 years this could be yours!

Mound? Tomb? Souterrain? Underground Chamber? Near Ardrahan, County Galway

Mound? Tomb? Souterrain? Underground Chamber? Near Ardrahan, County Galway

Mound? Tomb? Souterrain? Underground Chamber? Near Ardrahan, County Galway

Mound? Tomb? Souterrain? Underground Chamber? Near Ardrahan, County Galway

Mound? Tomb? Souterrain? Underground Chamber? Near Ardrahan, County Galway

Mound? Tomb? Souterrain? Underground Chamber? Near Ardrahan, County Galway

I passed some sort of underground something. It could be some sort of tomb. There are around 70 megalithic tombs in the Burren area, but this doesn’t look that old. I think it is a souterrain. They were built in the early medieval period, from around 500AD. They are described as “constructed of drystone-walling with a lintelled roof over the passages and a corbelled roof over the chambers.”  Historic Environment Viewer Map

Rock walls on the Burren, Ireland

Rock walls on the Burren, Ireland

Rock walls on the Burren, Ireland

There are old walls everywhere. They are just leaned and stacked. Some of them look like castle walls.

“The Burren is probably the most extraordinary landscape in the whole of Ireland. Situated in north Clare, it covers a vast, bare, hilly area devoid of trees and obvious surface water, a barren stretch of mysterious beauty littered with stones and dissected by indeterminate lines of dry stone walls. Beneath its limestone surface is a labyrinth of caves, streams and underground lakes. Punctuating the skyline at intervals are strange and beautiful monolithic and megalithic tombs, vast flat stones arranged as monuments to an earlier mystic time. Otherwise the plateau seems uncannily empty and silent, as if no contemporary mortal dares set foot amidst the dolmens and forts of its ancient past.”

Private Ireland: Irish Living & Irish Style Today Hardcover  by Simon McBride, Karen Howes with an introduction by Marianne Faithfull

Glacial Erratic, a huge boulder deposited by ancient ice sheets on the Burren, Ireland

Glacial Erratic, a huge boulder deposited by ancient ice sheets on the Burren, Ireland

There are some huge rocks, just sitting. One of my books says these are glacial erratics. There is a lot of evidence that at one time huge glaciers covered the surface of the Burren. The ice sheets ground scratches in the rock. You can see the scratches; all angled the same direction, WNW-ESE. As a glacier slowly moves, it picks up sand, gravel and even huge boulders. When the ice melts, the rocks are left.

Thick moss over the limestone, The Burren, Ireland

Thick moss over the limestone, The Burren, Ireland

Thick moss over the limestone, The Burren, Ireland

Thick moss over the limestone, The Burren, Ireland

Ireland’s Burren is known for unique plants. There are varieties that grow on this limestone that can be found nowhere else in the world. There are really unique mosses and liverworts.  “Over 70% of Ireland’s 900 native species occur in The Burren which is less than 0.5% of the area of Ireland.”  Wikipedia

Newtown Castle at The Burren College of Art , Burren, Townland of Newton, Parish of Drumcreehy, near Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland

Newtown Castle at The Burren College of Art , Burren, Townland of Newton, Parish of Drumcreehy, near Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland

Newtown Castle at The Burren College of Art , Burren, Townland of Newton, Parish of Drumcreehy, near Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland

Newtown Castle at The Burren College of Art , Burren, Townland of Newton, Parish of Drumcreehy, near Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland

Newtown Castle at The Burren College of Art , Burren, Townland of Newton, Parish of Drumcreehy, near Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland

Newtown Castle at The Burren College of Art , Burren, Townland of Newton, Parish of Drumcreehy, near Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland

The Burren College of Art is in the Burren, in the townland of Newton, parish of Drumcreehy, near Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland. It is built around Newtown Castle, a cylinder tower house.

Newtown Castle was built around 1550, probably by the O’Brien clan. Later it was in possession of the O’Lochlainns. There are only around 30 cylinder towers in Ireland. Three are in the Burren. Newtown Castle is the only one that has a pyramid base. The Burren College of Art repaired and restored the tower in 1993 – 1994.

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