Saturday, February 19, 2011


Turlough: a lake that appears when there is a lot of rain, and dries up when there's not (especially during the summer)
It happens a lot in the Burren, because of the fact that the main stone here is limestone. So the rivers and streams here are pretty much underground (due to limestone being porous). There are extensive cave systems as well. But when there's too much rain, it comes down from the hills and fills up the water table until it bubbles out of weak spots and fills the fields with water.
We have several of them in Ballyvaughan, that show up  when it's been raining a lot. There are ditches that lead from the turloughs to the sea, to help drain them and keep them from flooding the road. When there's been a lot of rain, the water rushes through them really intensely!!

Here are two of several turloughs that turn up around Ballyvaughan, seen from the top of our castle.

This is one of the largest turloughs in the area. We went and visited it in our Irish Studies class, and hiked around the far end.

The light here is so pretty, and everything is so green! It's still winter, I know, so I can't wait to see what spring looks like.

Here's an example of a wall in the Burren. It's not the most extreme example of a wall going up the side of the hill - some of them look like they're almost vertical!

In the foreground is a modern stone wall, and the next one back is the remains of a Medieval slab wall (!!!)

This one's a little hard to see, but the ridges crossing the field (some of them with stones sticking out the top) are the remains of other Medieval walls. This would have been part of a settlement, with small patchwork fields for crops, gardens, and livestock.

Again, hard to see - but the mound of earth here is horseshoe shaped. The open part of the horseshoe is facing away from the camera. It's a fulacht fia - a Bronze Age site near a spring of some sort. Stones were heated up by fire, and used to heat the water (either for cooking or for bathing, the evidence is not conclusive either way). The remains of burnt stones are found in the mounds.

We stopped in Kinvara for tea and scones (yum!) and I just thought these boats were lovely in the light.

Here's another turlough that we went to, with the remains of a tower on the opposite shore. I still can't get over how much history is here!

Me with the remains of my lovely tea!

We walked up a path towards a ring fort, and startled some sheep that were grazing in it!! Aren't they cute?

Here's a shot of the ring fort - you can sort of see how the walls go around, and there's been some collapsing/wearing down of the earth. I believe this one was made out of earth (rather than stone) so it's called a rath.

We couldn't go in, because it was someone's property, but it looked like there was some sort of shelter on the far side (not sure if it's recent or not).

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