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There is a world apart,
of elemental beauty carved by glacier,
where tiny wildflowers
pierce through limestone.
-a fragment of the poem The Breathing Burren by Maureen Grady.
Saturday woke up in the sun and winked at me like a summer’s day. I made the decision to go hike at the last minute. It’s been so long since I saw Elena and the Wave Makers. So, I ate a toasted bagel with jam and banana for breakfast with the necessary coffee while packing the blue rucksack. After 45 minutes I had my tracking boots on my feet and the call of adventure in my heart. Elena, Malena, and Michelle were waiting for me in graphite Volkswagen. Paul, Magda, and Artur joined us at the next stop. We started towards “Head of the Sea”, that is Kinvara, and then up the road that twisted like a ribbon through the Burren. Trudy, Bernie, Mary, and Paola were waiting for us in the parking lot in Fanore. The sea glowed blue and mixed with the warm sky. It was so bright that from a distance we noticed the seals welcoming us. They are very interesting to people.
We wandered along the main road for a while, and after 15 minutes finally reached the Black Head Loop trail. There were hares hopping on the grassland and were happy to see us. To my surprise, they did not run away. Because we all looked joyful and colorful like May flowers.
Just beyond the bridge overgrown with ivy, where the blue river Caher rustled, we went up to the rocky and a grassy path full of wildflowers that pierce through limestone. Paul, our friend, and also our guide knew all of their names. We passed deep pink Fragrant Orchid; and magenta Bloody Crane’s-bill. I was surprised that Primula Veris can grow in the mountains, usually, I saw it in my granny’s garden. There were Eight Petel Mountain Avens, charming Dog Violets, and the field of Ox-Eye Daisies. We can smell wild thyme mixed with wild garlic. I love the strong blue Spring Gentian the most. Each flower has five tiny petals and an inner between the petals surrounding a white center. You can see it in the photo below. There were many more flowers, but I didn’t remember all the names. The Burren is famous for wildflowers.
Rocky mountains rose to the right, and the sea gleamed to the left. We could see a draft of Galway somewhere in the distance. After a time the path turned into a narrow, fluffy valley. We rubbed almost against the backs of the mountains and flowering bushes. The light green ferns were almost waist-high. On the left, just beyond the low stone wall, the sea was still with us. For the first time, I was wandering such a path as from a fairy tale in the middle of the mountains. At the end of this magical trail, there was a gang-board, which we climbed holding on to the rope.
Then there was a quite sharp ascent that led us to a huge clearing meadow with stone walls and limestone slabs. We lounged on it a bit, munching on homemade energy balls, dried mangoes, and sandwiches. And when we slowly moved on, it turned out that Malena had lost her wallet. Gosh, now where to look for it in such a space. But after 15 minutes of searching between the grasses and rocks, Malena found it.
Further on, the scenery completely changed, the track became wide, and we wandered into the bright scenery of Burennu, only to descend into a valley surrounded by fields in a while. The cows grazing next to the road peeked out from behind the walls and watched us curiously, and we watched them. It was probably my longest hike in Ireland, we were walking almost 7 hours. At the very end, some friends have jumped into the sea. And the wildflowers of the Burren have blossomed in our hearts.
Cover photo by Elena Toniato.