The Burren

The Burren is a region of environmental interest located in northwestern County Clare, dominated by glaciated karst landscape. It measures, depending on the definition, between 250 square kilometres and 560 square kilometres; the name is most applied to the area within the circle made by the villages of Tubber, Kilfenora and Ballyvaughan, Kinvara in extreme south-western Galway, including the adjacent coastline. A part of the Burren forms the Burren National Park, the smallest of the six National Parks in Ireland, while the full Burren and adjacent territory including the Cliffs of Moher are included in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark. While the name is applied to the limestone uplands of northwestern Clare, adjacent lowlands, excludes the area of Clare shales to the southwest, the exact extent of the area is not defined, geologically it does extend into County Galway to both the north and northeast; the southeastern pocket of Co. Galway around Kinvara is included, is the base for many Burren organisations.

The Burren is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and by Galway Bay, with the Aran Islands representing a geological extension of the limestone hills that make up most of The Burren. According to one definition, the Burren extends south to a line from the coastal resort of Lahinch to Corofin and is delimited in the east by a line from Kinvara to Kilmacduagh monastery, near Gort. Note that taken this would includes places like the town of Ennistymon and the Cliffs of Moher, which would more be considered as neighbouring the Burren. In another definition, the "Burren Programme" defines the region as extending well into the Gort plain, encompassing inter alia Coole Park and the turloughs around it, while to the south it would extend to Ruan and Crusheen, in the southwest to the edge of Doolin, as well as the routine Lisdoonvarna and Corofin, thus the stated size of the Burren varies between around 250 square kilometres, through 360 square kilometres and 560 square kilometers, depending on the approach taken.

60% of the uplands show exposed limestone pavement. The Burren has an unusually temperate climate for western Ireland. Average air temperatures range from 15 °C in July to 4–6 °C in January, while the soil temperature does not drop below 6 °C. Since grass will grow once the temperature rises above 6 °C, this means that The Burren has one of the longest growing seasons in Ireland or Britain, supports diverse and rich plant growth; the area has around 1,525 millimetres of annual rainfall, with an average level of over 160 millimetres monthly from October to JanuaryLate May is the sunniest time, a good time to view flowers, with the gentians and avens peaking. During counter-guerrilla operations in The Burren in 1651-52, Edmund Ludlow stated, " is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him...... and yet their cattle are fat. The area is formed from a thick succession of sedimentary rocks limestones but including sandstones and siltstones.

All of the solid rocks exposed at the surface are of Carboniferous age though they are underlain at depth by Old Red Sandstone of Devonian age which in turn overlies rocks of Lower Palaeozoic age. None of the pre-Carboniferous rocks is seen at the surface in the area; the limestones, which date from the Visean stage of the early Carboniferous, formed as sediments in a tropical sea 325 million years ago. The strata contain fossil corals, sea urchins and ammonites; this bed of limestone is up to 800 metres thick. In the north and west it lies on a shelf of Galway granite which supported the upper layers, preventing shifts like those that created the "twisted" hills Knockanes and Mullaghmore; the limestone extends below Galway Bay out to the Aran Islands and to the east into the Gort plain. In the Carboniferous, the limestone was covered by darker sand and mud that turned into shale and sandstone; these layers reached a thickness of up to 330 metres in north Clare. These top layers protected the underlying limestone from erosion for millions of years before being stripped away by glaciers, except in the south west, where they still extend from Doolin to Slieve Elva, Kilfenora and to the western shore of Lake Inchiquin.

One "island" of shale is the hill Poulacapple, southwest of Ballyvaughan, where an upland moor has formed on top of the impermeable shale layers. The local geological succession comprises the following formations some of which are subdivided into various members; the youngest rocks are at the start of the list, the oldest at the bottom. The first three listed are of Namurian age and are a mix of mudstones and siltstones, the remainder are Visean age limestones. Central Clare Group Gull Island Formation Clare Shale Formation Slievenaglasha Formation Lissylisheen Member Ballyelly Member Fahee North Member Balliny Member Burren Format


An aptychus is a type of marine fossil. It is a hard anatomical structure, a sort of curved shelly plate, now understood to be part of the body of an ammonite. Paired aptychi have, on rare occasions, been found within the aperture of ammonite shells; the aptychus was composed of calcite, whereas the ammonite shell was aragonite. Aptychi can be found well-preserved as fossils, but quite separate from ammonite shells; this circumstance led to them being classified as valves of bivalves, which they do somewhat resemble. Aptychi are found in rocks from the Devonian period through to those of the Cretaceous period. There are many forms of aptychus, varying in shape and in the sculpture of the inner and outer surfaces. However, because they are so found in position within the ammonite shell, it is unclear which kind of aptychus belonged to which species of ammonite; when only a single plate is present, as is sometimes the case, the term "anaptychus" is used. Aptychi seem to have most existed as bilaterally-symmetrical pairs, were first described as being the valves of bivalve mollusks.

Aptychi are now considered to be either: a two-valved closing hatch on the shells of extinct ammonites. Set near to or against the shell's terminal opening, the aptychi consisted of two identical but mirror image valves; some authors consider the aptychus to be a jaw apparatus, while others believe them to be paired opercula. If the latter is the case aptychi may have had a function similar to the head shield of modern nautiluses. Morphological Terminology: the Aptychus from "North American Late Devonian Cephalopod Aptychi". Kirtlandia 46:49-71. By Calvin J. Frye and Rodney M. Feldmann

Nuada Airgetlám

In Irish mythology, Nuada or Nuadu, known by the epithet Airgetlám, was the first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann. He is called Nechtan, Nuadu Necht and Elcmar, is the husband of Boann, he is known from the tale in which he loses his arm or hand in battle, thus his kingship, but regains it after being magically healed by Dian Cécht. Nuada is thought to have been a god and is related to the British and Gaulish god Nodens, associated with hunting and fishing, his Welsh equivalent is Lludd Llaw Eraint. The name Nuada derives from a Celtic stem *noudont- or *noudent-, which J. R. R. Tolkien suggested was related to a Germanic root meaning "acquire, have the use of", earlier "to catch, entrap". Making the connection with Nuada and Lludd's hand, he detected "an echo of the ancient fame of the magic hand of Nodens the Catcher". Julius Pokorny derives the name from a Proto-Indo-European root *neu-d- meaning "acquire, utilise, go fishing". Nuada was king of the Tuatha Dé Danann for seven years, they made contact with the Fir Bolg, the then-inhabitants of the island, Nuada sought from them half of the island for the Tuatha Dé, which their king rejected.

Both peoples made ready for war, in an act of chivalry allowed their numbers and arms to be inspected by the opposing side to allow for a fair battle. During this first great battle at Mag Tuired, Nuada lost an arm in combat with the Fir Bolg champion Sreng. Nuada's ally, Aengaba of Norway fought Sreng, sustaining a mortal wound, while the Dagda protected Nuada. Fifty of the Dagda's soldiers carried Nuada from the field; the Tuatha Dé gained the upper hand in the battle, but Sreng returned to challenge Nuada to single combat. Nuada accepted, on the condition. Sreng refused; the Tuatha Dé decided to offer Sreng one quarter of Ireland for his people instead of the one half offered before the battle, he chose Connacht. Having lost his arm, Nuada was no longer eligible for kingship due to the Tuatha Dé tradition that their king must be physically perfect, he was replaced as king by Bres, a half-Fomorian prince renowned for his beauty and intellect; the Fomorians were mythological enemies of the people of Ireland equated with the mythological "opposing force" such as the Greek Titans to the Olympians, during Bres's reign they imposed great tribute on the Tuatha Dé, who became disgruntled with their new king's oppressive rule and lack of hospitality.

By this time Nuada had his lost arm replaced by a working silver one by the physician Dian Cecht and the wright Creidhne. Bres was removed from the kingship, having ruled for seven years, Nuada was restored, he ruled for twenty more years. Bres, aided by the Fomorian Balor of the Evil Eye, attempted to retake the kingship by force, war and continued oppression followed; when the youthful and vigorous Lugh joined Nuada's court, the king realised the multi-talented youth could lead the Tuatha Dé against the Fomorians, stood down in his favour. The second Battle of Mag Tuired followed. Nuada was killed and beheaded in battle by Balor, but Lugh avenged him by killing Balor and led the Tuatha Dé to victory. Nuada's great sword was one of the Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann, brought from one of their four great cities. Nuada may be the same figure as Elcmar, who are described as the husbands of Boann, his father is named in the genealogies as Echtach son of Etarlam. In the medieval texts, Nuada is described as having Dian Cécht and Goibniu.

Ethadon is named as Gaible his grandson. Gaible stole a bundle of sticks from the Dagda's daughter, where he hurled them, a fair wood grew. In The Book of Invasions, Nuada is given a son named a grandson Uillend. Characters who share the name Nuada include the High Kings Nuadu Finn Fáil and Nuadu Necht, Nuada, the maternal grandfather of Fionn mac Cumhaill. A rival to Conn of the Hundred Battles was Mug Nuadat; the Delbhna, a people of early Ireland, had a branch called the Delbhna Nuadat who lived in County Roscommon. The present day town of Maynooth in County Kildare is named after Nuada; the Pre-Patrician section of the Annals of Inisfallen have an incomplete entry on Nuada. There, in an entry on the division of Ireland between the sons of Érimón it says, "Every family subsequently in Ireland is of the race of Nuada on account of his maintenance by his kinsmen and on account of his patience." Nuada's name is cognate with that of Nodens, a British deity associated with the sea and healing, equated with the Roman Mars, with Nudd, a Welsh mythological figure.

It is that another Welsh figure, Lludd Llaw Eraint, derives from Nudd Llaw Eraint by alliterative assimilation. The Norse god Týr is another deity equated with Mars. Sabazios is another Indo-European deity associated with a sacred hand. Lludd Llaw Eraint Nodens Týr Sabazios