Tourists blamed for Burren 'vandalism'

 

Tourists have been accused of causing irreversible damage to the Burren's fragile landscape.

Visitors were today said to have unwittingly engaged in 'environmental vandalism' through their habit of erecting miniature dolmens throughout the region.

A new pilot programme has been launched which is aimed at removing the recently produced stone structures and highlighting the damage they do to the local environment.

The Burren Connect Project, which has developed the new programme in conjunction with Clare County Council, said the erection of hundreds of mini-dolmens close to a viewing point at Ballyallaban, near Ballyvaughan, has caused serious damage to the surrounding limestone pavement.

The Burren is an area of limestone rock covering some 50 square miles in north County Clare. It is listed as a “Priority Habitat” in the European Habitats Directive (1992) and is protected by law.

“Unique and vulnerable habitats are being destroyed by visitors when they illegally remove protected limestone pavement to build miniature dolmens and other stone structures. However, we believe that most visitors do not want to deliberately damage the Burren pavements, as they do not realise the full environmental impacts of their actions,” said Carol Gleeson, project manager with The Burren Connect Project

The project is funded and supported by the Fáilte Ireland National Development Fund, Clare County Council, Shannon Development, National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Heritage Council and Burrenbeo Trust.