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Burren Spring Conference

‘Building a new Burren’
February, 4th –6th 2005

at Burren College of Art
Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare

The mission of the Burren Spring Conference is to provide a space where knowledge and ideas about the Burren may be shared, and practical actions undertaken to sustain this unique place, its communities and culture. Heralding the arrival of spring, the annual Burren Spring Conference invites all who love the Burren to a weekend of new knowledge, discussion, action and enjoyment. Building on the success of the Burren Archaeology Conference directed by George Cunningham since 1988, the new Spring Conference takes a more holistic approach to the Burren and aims to be an active and inclusive voice in shaping its future.
This year, the conference explores issues relating to the general theme of ‘Building a New Burren’. The conference will hear from a range of Burren specialists in the fields of archaeology, geology, ecology and land management, complemented by international experts.
These speakers will outline in practical terms some of the exciting new research projects and other developments currently taking place in the region, and suggest the significance of these for the future management of the Burren. Visual displays will be used to highlight other research work in the Burren, and the exciting work of some of the younger members of the Burren community will be presented. Audience participation will be strongly encouraged, through general debates, ‘graffiti boards’ and using an on-line forum hosted on This promises to be not only an entertaining weekend, but also one of great practical significance in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the Burren. For those people with an interest in and commitment to the Burren and its future, this is an event not to be missed.


Burren Spring Conference Committee:
Dr. Brendan Dunford, Gordon D’Arcy, Mary Hawkes-Greene, Paul Gosling, Prof. Timothy Emlyn Jones

Friday 4th February
Registration in Newtown House

Reception at Newtown Castle

Introduction to the conference – this years themes and objectives, poster presentations, graffiti boards, and exhibition of heritage education in schools.
Dr. Brendan Dunford, Burrenbeo (Conference Director)

Opening Address

Prof. David Bellamy: Botanist, writer & broadcaster. Author of over 40 books & 80 scientific papers, presenter of over 400 TV programmes on a wide range of environmental issues, founder director of The Conservation Foundation and director of David Bellamy Associates, both organisations concerned with environmental issues.

Saturday 5th February:

Social Organisation of the Burren in prehistory
Dr. Carleton Jones, Lecturer in Archaeology at NUI Galway
Author of ‘The Burren and the Aran Islands – Exploring the Archaeology’

Restoring medieval buildings – A Burren experience
Dr. Patrick Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland


The Burren from space and knees - creating a habitat map.
Dr. Sharon Parr, Burren-based research scientist.

The EU LIFE Nature Fund – Lessons for the Burren
Dr. Simon Webb, , Conservation Officer with English Nature and an authority on issues relating to the management of limestone habitats in the UK


The Burren caves as a heritage and a resource.
Dr. David Drew , Lecturer in Geography at Trinity College Dublin

Art and Vandalism - do-it-yourself dolmens and other stone structures in the Burren.
Prof. Timothy Emlyn Jones , Dean of the Burren College of Art


8.00pm – Dinner and Entertainment at Hylands Burren Hotel.

Sunday 6th February:

Poulnabrone - Managing an Icon
Dr. Ann Lynch, Office of Public Works, monuments branch

Managing special places for people and nature.
Dr. Liam Lysaght , Heritage Council Wildlife Officer


Management of habitats of high natural and cultural value.
Dr. Simon Webb

Concluding Debate

Back to Events Calendar 2005