It is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him…
This morning Tom McCoy took us along the Western coast of County Clare. We stopped outside of Kinvarra for a Kodak moment with a pastoral scene on one side of the road and the karst crags of the Burren on the other. According to Wikipedia the area was divided between the O’Loughlen clan in the east and the O’Connors in the west in Corcomroe. The people of Corcomroe were among the first to settle the Aran islands.
Just thought you’d want to know that. You might also be interested to know that limestone is so pervasive in the heart of the Burren that it is called pavement. Grass can grow only in the cracks between pavements, that is to say in the grikes. Now and then there are expanses of soil, in which case a lone rock in a sea of earth is called a clint. (Scrabble players take note of these terms.)
As inhospitable as the Burren is, it is home to some of the worlds most exotic orchids. Go figure.
We piled back on the bus and headed for the Cliffs of Moher. On the way I noticed a subtle shift in the Irish psyche. In County Galway you can paint your house any color you like as long as it is white or butter yellow. The houses there are mind-numbingly similar–a box with a peaked roof, bookended by chimneys. Variations included gables or no gables and brickwork or stone facing.
South of Kinvarra a new color comes to the pallette–pale torquois. Here and there you’ll see a salmon house, a black house, pumpkin house. You might think you were in Santa Fe if there was a cactus anywhere on the horizon.
It was drizzling and windy and socked with fog when we reached the Cliffs of Moher. But visibility was good enough that we could see the breathtaking drop from the top of the cliffs.
“Inconceivable,” Norah said.
After that we called this stop the Cliffs of Insanity.