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Clare County Library


Habitats Introduction

Marine & Coastal Habitats




Woodland, Trees and Hedgerows

Gardens and Parks

Buildings and Stone Walls

Limestone Habitats

Mullaghmore, Co. Clare
The limestone landscape of the Burren is internationally important and exclusive to Clare and parts of South Galway. In Clare this landscape is common primarily in the Burren. Limestone pavement usually contains pockets of other habitats. Limestone caves provide an important habitat for some bat species and some plant species. There are about 90km of of explorable caves in the Burren, 90% of which are around the Lisdoonvarna area.
Aillwee caves are the only display caves open to the public in Clare and the most well known. Poul na Gollum is the longest cave in Ireland. Poll an Ionian hosts the longest stalactite (6.7m) in the world.

Scrub is encroaching on limestone pavement in some parts of the Burren and poses a threat to the survival of some of the typical plant and animal species of the pavement. The reclamation of land for agriculture, development of land and land abandonment pose a threat to limestone pavement. Water pollution and the alteration of hydrology in limestone areas can affect limestone areas particularly cave systems.

Limestone Habitats in the Clare 101 List

- Limestone pavement
- Caves

Species found in Limestone Habitats from the Clare 101 list

- Brimstone
- Lesser horseshoe bat
- Bee orchid

- Hoary rockrose
- Spring gentian
- Rusty-back fern