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The ancient Polnabrone dolmen in the Burren, County Clare. Photo by: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Burren, County Clare - 300 million years in the making

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The ancient Polnabrone dolmen in the Burren, County Clare. Photo by: Getty Images/iStockphoto

An introductory course examining how plate tectonics, volcanic activity and earthquakes have shaped the landscape of the Burren Region will take place during March and April at the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Burren Outdoor Education Centre.

Run by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Burren Outdoor Education Centre, “Stone, Water and Ice: Understanding the Burren Landscape” will feature lectures and outdoor excursions focusing on how the world-famous karst landscape and underground features of the Burren were formed.

The five-week introductory course will commence on March 7th and will continue each Thursday evening during March from 7.30 to 9.30pm, culminating with a guest lecture on April 4th.

Key topics will include the Geology of Ireland; Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes and Volcanic History of the Burren; Evidence of Folding, Burial and Uplift, Rock Types of the Burren; Underground Features; and an outdoor excursion to some of the best known Burren landmarks, including Murroughtoohy, Slieve Elva, Caher Valley, Pollnagollum and Fanore Beach.

“The aim of the upcoming series of informal yet informative events is to examine and promote the ancient geological history of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, and its evolution through time until the most recent ice sheets retreated some 12,000 years ago,” explained Dr. Eamon Doyle, Geologist, The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark.

He continued: “The underlying geology of the Burren holds many fascinating clues to conditions on Earth more than 300 million years ago. The oldest rocks visible on the Burren’s surface were formed during the Carboniferous period, approximately 299-359 million years ago. These limestone rocks formed in shallow, warm, tropical seas 10 degrees south of the equator. More recently, the last ice Age has sculpted those rocks and largely given the Burren its current shape. Research is active and scientists and students come from all over the world to see what we have here.”

“The evening course is designed for an audience with no prior knowledge of earth history or the Burren, as well as appealing to those who are always eager to understand more about the Burren landscape,” concluded Mr. Doyle.

The Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark organisation is based in Ennistymon and is funded by Clare County Council, Shannon Development and the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI). The Burren and Cliffs of Moher were incorporated into UNESCO Geopark Programme in 2011.

“Stone, Water and Ice: Understanding the Burren Landscape” will be held at the Burren Outdoor Education Centre, Bell Harbour, Co. Clare. For further information visit www.burren.ie, or contact Dr. Eamon Doyle or Colin Bunce at 065-687078066.

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