Sunday, June 13, 2004

Missing the Dolmen

Leaving Ballyvaughan we headed back into the area of Co. Clare known as the Burren. The picture above is one from a post card.  I was unable to get Joe to pull over once he had a bead on Galway and the knowledge that once he got there he would not be driving again for at least 24 hours.  There was no stopping him.

We began the journey with a trip to Corkscrew Hill on the Kinvara road. Once we were on the mountain, there was no turning back!  If anyone has been into the mountains of Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky and not on an interstate, you will understand what it was like climbing up the side of the mountain and down the other side.  A lot of S curves, trees hugging the road, and stone fences holding up the hillside so it would not plunge onto the roadway.  At one curve (I swear this) there is a driveway and a car inching their way out onto the N-67 from the left! "Look Out!" I alerted Joe.  "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," he muttered in his new found Irish accent. 

Nothing could shake him very much after the mountain drive (and the cows), but stopping the vehicle was out of the question so I had to do with mentally making notes of the country side as it side past.  

The Burren....the hated Cromwell condemned this "inhospitable" landscape as having "not enough wood to hang a man, not enough water to drown him, not enough clay to cover his corpse."  

The name Burren means great rock.  And there is pleanty of it.  As far as eye can see.  The rock and stone fences of Kentucky pale and look like childs play compared to the magnificent structures that line the roadway and the fields between Ballyvaughan and Kinvara.  Enormous structures that are beautiful and astounding.

As we drove through, the travel guide was in the suitcase.  I had no idea what I was seeing.  It was just .......unbelievable.  Moon like, lunar like white rock spread out as far as the eye could see.  Following the road, the Atlantic ocean at times would appear in the picture as the back drop for this perplexing landscape.

What we missed, because we did not know to look for it, was the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen.  A structure that dates to 2500 BC.  It is an ancient monument that is common in this area of Ireland.  I assume because of the availability of the limestone slabs.  It has been referred to as a launching pad for a stone age missile. It actually is a grave that the Neolithic people built as a tribute to their dead.  The only thing similar that I can compare it to is Stonehenge in England.  

I wish I could have seen it.  It would have been well worth the effort to force Joe over.  I doubt there would have been a pub about for a pint though.  


mlraminiak said...

That poor man!  Too bad you weren't rich enough to hire a driver or something.  I know I would have gone NUTS trying to "mirror-image" drive!  Lisa  :-]

krobbie67 said...

I've been on back roads in West Virginia. Heck the street I take to work every day is very much the same. It's something that you have to get used to. My poor Mom about had a heartattack when I drove her. Poor Joe. I hope the pubs were enough enjoyment for him. :-) ---Robbie

deabvt said...

"Jesus, Mary & Joseph ", the Irish Mantra, spoken in a brogue!

slowmotionlife said...

The Burren....the hated Cromwell condemned this "inhospitable" landscape as having "not enough wood to hang a man, not enough water to drown him, not enough clay to cover his corpse."

LOL... Kinda harsh!  :P
Beautiful photos.  I'm so enjoying your Ireland entries!!  :)

somenuttychic said...


mrccgoody said...

Wow! I am loving these stories...We did some of those mountain excursions this weekend, with me saying, oh look down at this sheer drop, and himself pretty grumpy with me for insisting on the trip! LOL
Keep these stories coming, I'm living vicariously!

haikulike said...

I think that is what strikes me so readily, all over Europe--
the ancient, the time-honored, the appreciation for what was, roots.

love the description: perplexing landscape.  It does look lunar!

quroboros said...

And we wonder how they ended up having all those quaint-looking stone walls all over Britain!  Your pictures and descriptions of Ireland are just fabulous.  ¤Holly