Ireland’s spectacular karst landscape
If you dream of traveling to Ireland, you will have landscapes like the Burren in mind. In County Clare in western Ireland, around 250 square kilometers, there is a green karst landscape that has formed the Burren National Park since 1991. The area is approximately an hour’s drive from Galway. The typical Irish green meadows and hills can be discovered here between striking limestones and stone carts or scraps. The famous author JRR Tolkien is said to have been inspired by these landscapes for his work Lord of the Rings: there is a cave called Pol na Gollum (Gollum’s Hole), which is said to have served as a template for the creature Gollum.
Burren – home to rare flora and historic ring forts
The landscape only appears sparse at first glance. Far from the inspiring forces of the Irish countryside in County Clare, Burren is also home to rare minerals and flora. 1000 plant species and many animal species such as badgers, rabbits, wild goats and foxes live in the national park as well as birds and butterflies. Around 70 percent of the plants native to Ireland can be found in the landscapes of Burren, including rare genera such as the spring gentian, the blood-red cranesbill, the gray sun rose and rare species of orchids. In the midst of this nature rest historical ruins and buildings: the famous ring forts, Celtic crosses and historical sacred buildings that are reminiscent of past centuries. In the Burren, in addition to the Pol na Gollum cave, there is also the stalactite cave Ailwee Cave,
Activities: hiking in Burren
The Burren also includes the Dromore Wood Nature Reserve, where about 400 hectares of Irish forest, river and lake landscapes await. It is also home to the historic 16th century Dromore Castle. Those who like to hike on their travels should not miss the guided walks and walking trails through Burren. Guided hikes with different focuses are offered. There are hiking trails for almost every requirement: from 30-minute tours to trails for three-hour hikes. With its history and the idyllic Irish landscapes, Burren is an ideal destination for study trips.
A little south of Dublin, in the beautiful walking area of the Wicklow Mountains, extends the valley of Glendalough, which is also called the “valley of the two lakes” and is very scenic. Probably the most interesting place in the valley of Glendalough is undoubtedly the monastery ruin of the same name, which is one of the most popular and well-known sights in Ireland and impresses with its spaciousness.
A place where history seems to be alive
Of the Glendalough monastery, founded in the 6th century by Saint Kevin, only a few ruins remain today, but they are well worth seeing and give a good impression of the former size and grandeur of the complex. Probably the most distinctive building of the monastery of Glendalough is the impressive and well-preserved round tower of the complex, which was once used as a hiding place for valuable relics to protect them from attacking Vikings.
Due to its height of 30 meters, the round tower of Glendalough is very imposing and can be seen from afar. There is also a small chapel on the monastery grounds, which is called St. Kevin’s Kitchen due to its unconventional design, which is due to an oversized fireplace. But the remains of a cathedral and a priest’s house also bear witness to the glorious past of Glendalough, in the vicinity of which up to 3,000 people are said to have once lived.
Pure nature in a historical setting
The monastery complex of Glendalough is embedded in a beautiful landscape that invites you to walk and cycle. Numerous hiking trails make it possible to explore this beautiful area extensively and to fully enjoy the delightful mixture of beautiful nature and historically interesting sites.
In order to see the vast area of Glendalough in its entirety, a visit to the lovingly designed visitor center is recommended, where you can get a lot of valuable information about Glendalough and book interesting tours.
Jazz Festival in Cork
Cork City – Once European Capital of Culture
Cork City, the second largest city in Ireland after Dublin and named European Capital of Culture in 2005, is always worth a visit. Embedded in a romantic landscape, framed by green hills and located directly on the River Lee, the dreamy city is an Eldorado for nature lovers. Almost
120,000 people live in Cork City, the Venice of Ireland.
Cork City – A mecca for jazz lovers
But culture enthusiasts will also get their money’s worth here. The Cork Jazz Festival has been held in Cork City every year since 1978 at the end of October. It is the largest jazz event in Ireland. A must for all music fans. More than 1000 musicians from over 30 countries compete in clubs, pubs and other venues. Renowned artists offer a really great program. Here you can experience superlative jazz. The festival is all about soul, bebop, indie, free jazz and avant-garde jazz. But electro funk and hip hop are also very important here. Famous stars like Oscar Peterson, Cleo Laine, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Gerry Mulligan and Lionel Hampton have already thrilled the fans.