The Burren is a geological phenomenon of remarkable beauty. It comprises several hundreds of square miles of bare rock known as 'karst' limestone, a sedimentary rock that has split geometrically and then eroded into 'clints' and 'grykes'with many extensive cave systems. This is a spectacular landscape that stands outside the conventions of pictorial landscape. It seems full of its huge emptiness and it extends to include the Aran Islands a few miles from the shore. This place has given inspiration to many artists and writers.
The unique beauty of the place is not only on the macro scale. The rock creates a unique ecology whereby sub-tropical plants can thrive within the split rock alongside alpine species growing on its exterior surfaces. Flora abounds so that the Burren is a most colourful place in the spring and early summer, with many types of orchids proliferating. It is for this reason that the Burren has been known for centuries as 'The Fertile Rock'. The ecology of the Burren is also condusive to a huge variety of fauna. Some students take the strangeness of this natural beauty as subject matter for their work while others value it as a context for focused and undisrupted artistic enquiry.