Sunday, 18 December 2011

...not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him...

Thomas Keneally, author of amongst other  things Schinlders List, wrote a book in 1991 on his long lost Irish origins. This book, Now and in Time to Be, describes his journeying around Ireland - and introduced me to the other worldly landscape known as the Burren. 

The Burren is a karst landscape - and according to Wikipedia the region measures approximately 250 square kilometres and is enclosed roughly within the circle made by the villages Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna. It is bounded by the Atlantic and Galway Bay on the west and north, respectively. 

In Keneally's book there is a quotation from Edmund Ludlow (1617-1692), one of Oliver Cromwell's followers, that describes the distinctive landscape of the Burren. 


'After two days' march 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; which last is so scarce, that the inhabitants steal it from one another, and yet their cattle are very fat; for the grass growing in tufts of earth, of two or three foot square, that lie between the rocks, which are of limestone, is very sweet and nourishing'. 


Edmund Ludlow, 1651


The image of the burren, below is from Wikipedia;





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