Brendan Hennessy, Cormac O’Mathuna and Patsy McQuinn update us on the recent Burren fieldtrip (AE4012).
At the end of September we spent a few days in the Burren Co. Clare – a limestone landscape which is unique in that plants usually found continents apart grow side by side in this karstic region. Our purpose in the Burren was to construct a sustainable management plan for the National Park and surrounding S.A.C’s by doing baseline studies over 3 days.
When you first gaze upon the Burren you feel a sense of isolation in the sparse and cold landscape with a complex grey complexion. However, on this fieldtrip we have become closer to this landscape that our people have walked before us. The impact and importance of the Burren cannot be measured by any earthly scale.
When considering conservation there should be no distinction between science and philosophy as conservation is not a clear cut science. Professor Matthijs Schouten taught us the “middle road” when tackling these complicated conservation issues.
When not racking our brains with profound philosophical thoughts, we were battling each other for “Raspberry- Mint” ice-cream in Cassidy’s bar, in which a native Burren dweller served us whiskeys that we presumed were older than herself.
Spirits were kept high throughout the trip by the ideal weather conditions and the ever informative and enthusiastic staff from UCC which included the passionate Matthijs Schouten, the lovely Fidelma Butler, the Bullet Padraig Whelan, the frank Frank Morrissey and “Billy no friends” tick infested Ben. All would not have been possible without Victor, Captain of our wagon (a.k.a.the bus driver), who kindly reminded us of Cork’s hurling defeat first thing Sunday morning!
Our hope is that the rich cultural heritage can be preserved along with the ageless beauty of this land.