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Cultural Landscapes in Ireland

The Burren – Boireann – A rocky place

The Burren, by its very nature, is a dynamic system. A shift in the land use system results inevitably in changes in the landscape. In this system farming has a pivotal role in maintaining the present character of the Burren with its patchwork of scrub, grassland – productive and highly managed on the one hand, and low productivity but high biodiversity on the other – and exposed karstic limestone which supports interesting vegetation and flora with varying degrees of cover. Farming has also a vital role in the maintenance of the built heritage from Neolithic/Bronze Age megaliths to medieval ecclesiastical sites and tower houses, and also the near ubiquitous stone wall boundaries of varying types and different ages. The challenge that now faces us is the maintenance of traditional farming in the face of the attractions afforded by urban dwelling and the high incomes pertaining in the other sectors of the economy.
Read more about the Burren. and the Burren life

The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are located in the Atlantic off the west coast of Ireland at the mouth of Galway Bay. They consist of three large islands, Inis Mór (big island), Inis Meáin (middle island) and Inis Oírr (east island) and a few smaller islands off Inis Mór.
The Islands are a unique European cultural landscape. They abound in archaeology and owe much of their exceptional character to a combination of natural and man-made features that include pre-historic megaliths and large forts, early and mid-Medieval church sites, and above all, a honey-comb pattern of high stone walls that gives the Islands an unique aspect when viewed from land and air. Read more about the Aran Islands.

stone walls in honey comb pattern at Inis Oirr
stone walls in honey comb pattern at Inis Oirr