At the mention of the Burren, generally the first thing that springs to mind is the moonfaced lunar landscape of the Fertile Rock.
To me, sometimes thinking back to carefree summer days spent roaming and exploring the limestone rocks and the freedom that it gives is what defines the term fertile rock for me. Looking down into holes in the rocks (grikes) for maidenhair fern, finding cowslips, primrose, or the first spring gentian of the season were all very exciting moments. The lovely purple heather was a bit of a nuisance really making it difficult for young legs to get around.
Picking and eating wild strawberries, stringing some on to dried grass to enjoy later with fresh cream skimmed of raw cow’s milk. Finding wild mushrooms took hours unless the weather conditions were very favourable for their growth, taking them home guaranteed a delicious supper. No shortage of wild hazelnuts but their arrival meant school holidays were coming to an end.
I am lucky and privileged to have reared my own family in this area, watch them explore the Burren in their way. However, they missed out eating lambs tails in the spring or having kid goat for lunch on St. Patrick’s Day or at the latest Easter.
Both my daughter and I are still exploring the Fertile Rock while guiding the Rathbourney valley walk.