Ireland day 0229. Sunday 15 May 2022- Burren1

Ireland day 0229. Sunday 15 May 2022- Burren1
Today’s summary Had a relaxed breakfast then drove down to the Burren, on the west coast, mid morning.   An easy journey down the quiet motorway so arrived at the Lough Avalla Farm Loop walk just after lunch.   A fantastic walk in amazing limestone pavement countryside.   Overnight in AirBnB near Ballyvaughan
Today’s weather Mild, dry and sunny.   Light easterly breeze.   Up to 21C at times
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Lough Avalla Farm Loop
Commentary

I’m going to keep this update brief, as we’re on a short mini break at the moment and enjoying an evening G&T with a bag of chips isn’t really compatible with spending ages on the computer typing away.

Suffice it to say that we took advantage of a gap in our various schedules, to sneak in a night away in the Burren, over in western Ireland, just across the bay from Galway.   We are staying in a small AirBnB near the village of Ballyvaughan and it’s lovely.   Right now it’s 10:30 pm and it’s still light outside.   I love being in the west at this time of year!

For those of you who don’t know much about the Burren – it’s a remarkable area of countryside in County Clare, characterised by vast bleak-looking terraces of exposed limestone.   If you were paying close attention to last Friday’s blog, you might recall that it is “Karstic” – a key feature being that the limestone is split up into chunks known as “clints” with deep fissures inbetween known as “grikes”.   You might think that nothing could live here, and in reality, not a lot does.   But on the botanical front, the clints and grikes play host to some of the rarest and most spectacular plants in Europe.   It’s world renowned for its plantlife, and we’d heard that at this time of year, it was particularly spectacular.   So we didn’t hesitate in deciding that the Burren should be our destination for our opportunistic night away.

A friend in the walking club had recommended that we should check out the Lough Avally Loop Walk, right in the middle of the limestone country.   It didn’t disappoint.   It’s an 8km nature trail, built by a local farmer (actually an émigré from the Netherlands 51 years ago) and it’s a beautiful hand-crafted circular walk through some of the best limestone scenery the Burren has to offer.   The walk ends up at Harry’s farmhouse where goes out of his way to welcome you personally and make you a cup of tea and provide you with pie and cookies – pretty much no matter what you actually want nor when you pitch up.

So we enjoyed our refreshments then headed on down to the nearest habitation – the village of Ballyvaughan   Sadly we were too late for the local Spar shop but fortunately for us we hit the petrol station a minute before it closed so were able to pick up eggs, milk and tonic (for the G&Ts) before it shut.   Val managed to find a take away selling chips so we ended up a perfect day in our cozy little cabin, halfway between the sea and the limestone mountains, taking in the view, drinking gin, and eating chips.   What could possibly be more blissful?

 

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Beautiful spring gentian (Gentiana verna).   This is the only one we saw and I think we were actually pretty lucky to spot it.   There were a few dead flower-spikes nearby so I think we just caught it at the very end of the flowering season I’m pretty sure this is an Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) – the fields were literally covered in them.   Never seen anything like it and they were stunning
Interesting little fern nestled in one of the grikes of the karstic limestone pavement.   I couldn’t even hope to identify it Mountain avens (Dryas octopetala) – normally quite a rare plant in the British Isles, and often one of the first flowering plants to recolonise land following the retreat of the glaciers.   But here in the Burren, it is growing in huge drifts, literally right by the roadside
The vast limestone pavements – geologically similar to Malham Cove in the UK, but on a massive scale An incredibly welcome sign at the end of the loop walk.   Lovely refreshments, too!
Here we are at the teashop!   There’s no particular closing time – they serve as long as people keep coming.   And there’s no menu and no prices – you get a cup of tea, some chocolate brownies and a slice of apple with cream, no matter what.   Then you just leave as much money in an honesty jar at the end as you think it’s worth.   What a fantastic system!   I can’t see it working in Covent Garden though
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 8345 m
Max elevation: 149 m
Min elevation: 37 m
Total climbing: 220 m
Total descent: -220 m
Total time: 04:17:55
Download file: Lough Avalla Farm Loop corrected.gpx

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