Cavan Burren was a return visit for me but this time Niamh, our fearless leader, decided to take the group on two new paths through this prehistoric forest. The aerial map above shows just how vast and dense this landscape is compared to the agricultural landscapes that border the forest.
Something new I learned on this trip is the many tall canopy trees that appear in Ireland are not native trees but transplants from the Pacific Northwest in North America in the form of pine and fir, Douglas to be exact. The Irish government decided to bring in these trees to assist with lumber production and raw materials for housing and infrastructure.
The ecology and climate of the forest feel from a different time altogether. Upon hiking through this area onlookers canʻt help but think about how this landscape was used hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Photos do not properly depict the scale nor the layout of these structures properly.
Upon our return to Bundoran we visited the shore to learn more about the seaside ecology and wander around the fossilized remains of this landscape. This seashore trip provided a new area to explore at the edge of the rock outcropping near the diving area. Many in our group rock climbed to get a clear vantage point while others minded the shore to observe and wade in the clouds of billowing seaweed which provided needed shelter to several creatures including crabs and fish. The flora was also very similar to the plants, except for the trees, that we encountered in Cavan Burren.
I walk in this area early every morning so it was magical to see this same space at sunset. Since the vantage point provided a clear line of sight to the east it was spectacular and reminded me of the sky in Kekaha, Kauaʻi at sunset.
I'm taking this class again to increase my knowledge and connections to Ireland. As a teacher, I need to be a student from time to time in order to better understand the student experience. This allows me to understand my students and grow my teaching prowess.