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The Burren

The Burren is a limestone or karst area of County Clare, Republic of Ireland. It has little surface water as the water which falls disappears quickly into the grykes (the vertical cracks) which run between the clints (the flat pavement blocks). The limestone, being quite pure dissolves almost entirely on weathering so there is little remaining to form the basis of a soil. This has resulted in few trees, apart from those planted to shelter farmhouses as in the right background of this photograph. This prompted a famous outburst by one of Cromwell's generals in 1651, Edmund Ludlow. "After two days march, without anything remarkable but bad quarters, we entered into the barony of Burren, of which it is said, that it is a country where there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him".