Sorry, Wrong Hoodie; ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS
Byline: Compiled by Charles Legge
QUESTION Following the case of the Jedi Warrior 'hoodie', what other observances does this religion require of its adherents? WHEN Chris Jarvis, a benefits claimant from Southend, England was asked to put down his hood in a job centre, he said he was entitled to wear it because of his Jedi faith. When he refused, he was escorted from the premises by security guards.
He later received a grovelling apology, stating: 'We are committed to provide a customer service which embraces diversity and respects customers' religion.' However, the main tenet of the movement is: 'The Jedi Church has no official doctrine or scripture. The Jedi Church recognises that all living things share a living force and that all people have an innate knowledge of what is right and wrong, and the Jedi Church celebrates this like no other religion.' Consequently, he had no 'right' to wear the hoodie.
Here's a handy suggestion for any jobseeking Jedi wishing to avoid aggro: the next time you're confronted by irate security guards, just dismiss them with a wave of the hand and state: 'This is not the hoodie you're looking for' and go about your job-hunting in peace. May the Force be with you.
James Pickering, Liverpool.
QUESTION The Burren in Co. Clare is famed for its unusually stark landscape.
How did this ecological wonder come about? THE Burren's harsh moon-like landscape is considered to be the largest stretch of limestone pavement in the world. In geological terms, The Burren has Karst topography.
It all goes back to when what is now Ireland basked in the tropics, rather a long time ago, 320million years ago to be precise.
The whole area was then covered in a tropical sea and the seabed sediments, including fossilised coral, laid down at the end of the Lower Carboniferous period were eventually turned into limestone. The present features of The Burren were formed at the end of the Ice Age, 10,000 years ago. It is peppered with megalithic tombs, built not long after that.
The distinctive features of the area were formed then, including the deep cracks - called grykes - between the blocks of limestone, referred to as clints. The large, bare expanses of limestone pavement were layered, given them a stepped appearance. Beneath the limestone surface, many cave formations were created. The best-known cave in The Burren is the Ailwee cave.
This was discovered in 1940 by a local farmer, Jacko McGann, who was looking for his dog. McGann kept quiet about his discovery for years, so exploration of the 1.5kmlong cave didn't begin until 1973.
These days, visitors can see this underground system, which includes an underground river, a waterfall and stalagmites and stalactites.
Another geological feature of The Burren is the closed depressions, caused when the surface above underground caves and rivers collapses. The Carran depression is the largest of its kind in Europe.
The Burren covers about 250sq km, with a national park covering some 1,500 hectares. The Burren is bounded by a number of towns, including Ballyvaughan and Lisdoonvarna, as well as Galway Bay, to the north and the Atlantic, to the west. Here, the Cliffs of Moher are another unique piece of the landscape.
Visitors are also drawn by another natural feature: the growth, side by side, of calcicole (lime loving) and calcifage (acid loving) plants. The area also has Alpine and Mediterranean plants growing together and spring gentian, a blue Alpine plant, is used as a tourist marketing symbol for The Burren. The grass that grows between the grykes are very sweet and nourishing, great for the farmers of the region and their cattle.
The geological formation of The Burren is well explained in the 3D displays in the heritage centre at Kilfenora. The area gets its name from the Irish word bhoireann, a stony place.
It's only in recent decades that it has become known as The Burren, rather than plain 'Burren'. …