The heart of the Burren and the coast of Galway Bay.
1986, 7pp, 33 b&w illustrations.
The heart of the area on this map is the village of Ballyvaughan on the South
coast of Galway Bay. It has a hotel, guest-house and many B & Bs and is
the ideal starting point for exploring the Burren. It is the start of the
Burren Way, a waymarked walk on footpaths and small roads, leading over the
uplands from Ballyvaughan to the Western edge of the Burren, with spectacular
views over the Atlantic, leading to Doolin village and on to the
well known Cliffs of Moher.
There are many old disused roads in this area, called green roads. One of
the most rewarding walks on such a road leads around Black Head, the most
Northern headland of the Burren. Here the visitor can climb to one of the
most impressive structures of Ireland's Celtic past, the stone ring fort of
Cathair Dhuin Irghuis, the stronghold of Fergus, a contemporary of Queen
Meabh of Connacht. Made out of large blocks of limestone, standing on a high
and bare plateau overlooking the open sea and visible from the Aran Islands,
it may well have been used for signalling long distances by beacon fires,
as well as the seat of a Celtic king.
The area covered by this map contains hundreds of ringforts and enclosures
which were the homesteads of farmers who lived in them from about 2,000
years ago up to mediaeval times. On the higher ground can be found the stone
graves of Ireland's Neolithic people. The portal dolmen at Poulnabrone is
a fine example.
Another highlight is to visit some of the early medieval churches, of which
there are many. A walk in the valley of Oughtmama near Bellharbour leads to
three small churches within the remains of a monastic enclosure wall. The
terraced gardens and earthen embankments constructed to carry water from a
well to a now vanished mill can still be seen. Finally, there is Sancta Maria
de Petra Fertilis (Saint Mary of the Fertile Rock) or, as it is more commonly
known, Corcomroe Abbey. Built by Cistercian monks in the 12th
century it is one of the most impressive sites in the Burren.
These are just a few of the destinations awaiting the enthusiastic walker.
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