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Natural Wonders of Ireland

Aug 17, 2007
Ireland's beautiful unspoilt landscape has been an inspiration to poets and artists throughout the centuries. The verdant countryside lives up its name of being the 'Emerald Isle'.

Ireland has a rich and varied landscape which is unsurpassed. Wild desolate bog land, imposing cliffs, gentle undulating hills, impressive mountains and golden beaches, are just some of the features found here under an ever changing sky.

The Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway is a bizarre structure made from hexagonal stone slabs which have been piled into columns. It is believed to have been formed around sixty million years ago by a process of volcanic eruptions and the cooling of molten lava.

The basalt columns range upwards to over six metres and extend out wards to the sea, providing one of the most spectacular sights Ireland has to offer. There is a legend telling of a giant Finn McCool who built the causeway in an attempt to see his love who lived on the Hebridean island of Staffa. The sight has been declared a world heritage sight and one of the great wonders of the world.

The Burren
In County Clare there is a limestone pavement that stretches for 116 square miles called 'The Burren'. Thousands of great limestone slabs have created a lunar looking landscape. The slabs are believed to have been formed from the skeletons of countless animals that inhabited the land over 300 million years ago.

This area is of particular interest to botanists who come here to study the plants which grow between the cracks in the pavement. The flora is similar to that found in the alpine regions. Life is sustained on these seemingly dry, barren slabs by a series of underground streams and rivers which rise to the surface during wet weather

The Cliffs of Moher
Also in Clare are the magnificent 'Cliffs of Moher'. They rise vertically from the sea to over 200mtres and stretch for eight miles along the western Atlantic coast.

The only sounds to be heard here are the Atlantic rollers crashing in and the howling wind from the Burren. In the springtime this is accompanied by the sound of many species of sea birds, including the puffin, nesting in the sheltered crevices. There are no fences to stop you approaching or falling off the edge - so beware!

The Marble Arch Caves
Underneath the heart of Fermanagh lies a hidden world of caves and waterways. The Marble Arch is the point at which the river runs out of the caves. It is possible to navigate along these underground streams which are the source of the River Shannon. Shinning a light reveals strange rock formations and impressive stalagmites. The mineral deposits in the rock twinkle in the light like jewels making this a most magical place.

Croagh Patrick
Croagh Patrick towers above Westport in County Mayo to around 765metres. This is a sacred mountain devoted to the patron saint of Ireland Patrick. He is said to have spent forty days and forty nights praying and fasting here - like Jesus in the desert.

The sight is believed to have had a religious significance as far back as 3000BC when it was the site for pagan worship of the Celtic god Lug. Christianity absorbed many pagan traditions and today pilgrims flock here and brave the mountain climb - sometimes in bare feet - to pay homage to the great saint.

A Wonderful Climate
The climate of Ireland is such that the skies are forever changing and high fluffy clouds can change in an instant to dark brooding thunderheads. These skies have a dramatic effect on the landscape much to the delight of many artists who come to capture the light. This land has a natural beauty that is unique.
About the Author
Ann Coveney is a freelance writer and part time school teacher. She can be hired to write articles on a wide range of topics. The web site she uses the most for low cost travel and hotel booking is http://www.AskVicki.co.uk
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