Three sheets of karst limestone defiantly protrude from the North Atlantic, just an hour’s boat ride off the west coast of Ireland. The sea is calm today as we approach Inishmore, the most-visited of these island outposts, collectively known as the Aran Islands.
Today, tourists well outnumber the local population that traditionally relies on farming and fishing. Fishing, we are told by a local guide, has suffered under European Union restrictions. And it is clear to see why farming might be limited. That it exists at all is made possible by a soil concoction of sand and seaweed laid on the limestone base. (more…)