Some see the Burren as just a barren, rocky wilderness. At first all you see is rock and maybe moss. But there is much more to the Burren.
But the Burren is home to rare and spectacular plants.
More than 600 different species mingle here. No matter what time of the year, there is nowhere else in the world with the same variety and abundance of different plants growing in such an extraordinary mixture.
The Burren is limestone, over 3,000 feet deep in places. It soaks up heat and acts as a passive radiator, staying warm all winter.
The summer temperature is moderated by being on the coast of the Atlantic.
This combination makes the perfect environment for plants from the seashore, mountains, meadows and woods.
It may look like nothing but rock, but there are cracks (called grikes) in the limestone pavements (called clints). These cracks can be up to six feet deep. The grikes fill with soil and make up isolated islands where plants are sheltered and grow.
So, with this unique combination, Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean plants all grow together in the Burren.
Blue Spring Gentian grows in alpine habitats. They only grow in well-drained rich soils. But they are prolific in the Burren.
Mountain Avens is found in the Arctic, and high in the mountains of Scandinavia, Iceland, the Alps, the Carpathian Mountains, Balkans and the Caucasus. Mountain Avens is also found in the Burren.
Maidenhair Fern is known for hanging on the rocks around waterfalls. And it can be found in the Burren.
Usually found in rich soil and moist subtropical areas, this subtropical plant can also be found in the sheltered soil-filled grikes of the Burren.
More than twenty types of orchids grow in the Burren. Some grown nowhere else in the world.
There is an abundance of flowers in the Burren. Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Bloody Cranesbill create bright patches. Wild thyme, wood sorrel , thrift and many more plants and flowers thrive in the unique habitat of the Burren.