Ten Highlights of the Tour
Included with this teacher card module pack is an orientation of the Burren Centre itself based on 10 stops to allow teachers prepare questions with the class pre-tour. This can form part of an integrated SESE project and also teach the pupil to work as an historian.
- Upon entering the reception foyer, stop at the showcase which displays the original camera of Thomas J. Westropp, the father of Irish archaeology. Why is it important that we record our heritage? Why do you think Westropp found great inspiration in the Burren for his work?
- In the middle of the reception foyer, there is a displayed image of Michael Cusack, founder of the GAA. Both the former President of Ireland of Ireland, Douglas Hyde and Arthur Griffith considered Cusack to also be the true inspiration for the Gaelic revival of the late nineteenth century. Like Westropp, Cusack identified the Burren as the source of his inspiration in setting up the GAA. In doing so he not alone preserved the Gaelic games he played as a child in his native Burren but also established what is today one of the world’s largest sporting and cultural amateur organisations. Why are Gaelic games important to our national identity? Who are the sporting heroes in your locality?
- Enjoy the twelve minute film which traces the history and unique environment of the Burren. Name an aspect of what you think makes the Burren unique. Identify a special feature of the Burren from your experience of the film and what you would like to learn more about.
- Enter into the main display hall of the Burren Centre through the Burren floral gallery. Such is the rich diversity of flora here in the Burren that it has inspired the formation of the Burren Perfumery which sources local scents and markets throughout the world. What are the reasons for such a rich diversity of flora here in the Burren? What flower features as the symbol of the Burren Centre?
- Upon entering the main display hall, you can begin a journey through time and the formation of the Burren. Observe the illustrated map of the carboniferous sea which once covered the Burren, as well as the exposure and submergence of the landscape. How many marine species can you identify which are now extinct? How do we know that the Burren was once submerged under water?
- Walking along by the ice age timeline panel on your right, imagine how climate change would influence your locality. What makes an ice age advance and an ice age retreat? What differences can we make as individuals to protect our environment today? Name three countries that have large areas covered in ice today?
- The landscape of the Burren has been greatly shaped by the effects of water. The underground cave system of the Burren is one of the largest in Europe, and spectacular features form here that amaze visitors. Rain water mixed with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere forms a carbonic acid which flows over impermeable shale rock and hallows out swallow holes, poljes and closed depressions. Another distinct feature of the terrain here are the turloughs or dry lakes. Observing the images in the underground cave system display, can you name the largest stalactite in Europe? How is a turlough formed?
- In smaller groups, explore the large interactive centrepiece which explores the prehistoric, early, medieval and modern history of the Burren. In the prehistoric section, navigate your way through to the karst landscape of the Burren. What does karst landscape mean? Go the Extinct Burren and list three extinct animals that once lived here. In the Early Man section, name what beautiful, world famous artefact was found at Gleninsheen. Navigating your way through to the Medieval timeline, can you find out how Kilfenora became known as the ‘City of the Crosses’? What makes farming in the Burren and its famous winterages unique in all of Ireland?
- See the 3D model of Ireland’s largest inland fort, Cahercommaun. What do you think people did for a livelihood here over 1300 years ago? Go to the display on the Lore of the Land. Whose death did the Hag of Lough Rask prophesise?
- The Doorty Cross is one of the iconic Irish images. Standing by the replica, learn about the ancient symbols on the Cross. Perhaps, after enjoying the craft shop and tea rooms you would like to later walk i gcoiscéim na naofa and experience the beautifully restored Lady’s Chapel of St Fachtnan’s Cathedral and the original Doorty Cross adjacent to the Burren Centre.