Due west of the Cliffs of Moher, at a distance of about 12 miles, you'll find yourself in
The Burren, a desolate and almost entirely uninhabited expanse of exposed rock and short
grasses. In some places, The Burren looks more like another planet than a terrestrial wil-
derness - and this is especially true in winter, when the windswept rock formations are al-
most devoid of visible plant life. In late spring and early summer, however, the whole area
explodes with thousands of wildflowers and, for a few glorious weeks, seems like an im-
pressionist painting come to life.
The Burren is also the location of the Poulnabrone Dolmen , an ancient tomb that probably
housed the remains of some prehistoric royal family in around the 5 th millennium BC .
Archaeologists have found the remains of at least 16 adults and 6 children in the burial
grounds, including a newborn baby who must have been of extreme social importance. In
addition to housing the remains of prehistoric chiefs and their children, it was probably
used in Druidic rituals long after its function as a tomb ended.
From around 1480 to 1705, the castle was occupied by the O'Brien family (yes, the same
ones who built O'Brien's Tower), who are believed to be descendants of Brian Boru, the
medieval High King of Ireland. The castle is a dramatic ruin, combining several centuries
of architectural styles and representing both the luxurious lifestyle of Irish aristocrats and
their deep-seated paranoia.