Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ireland Road Trip: Cliffs of Moher & the Burren

Actual date of this event: 7 June

Our original plan for Ireland was to see the Cliffs of Moher, and drive the Burren on our arrival day to Ireland. Due to high winds and potential clouds with rain for that day, and a forecast of BEAUTIFUL for the next day, we decided to switch things up. I cannot even begin to explain how lucky we got visiting the Cliffs of Moher!
Starting from Galway City, we left around 9:30am and drove the most coastal route possible toward the Cliffs. Along the way, we stopped to sneak a peek at Dunguaire Castle.
We made several other pull overs along the way when we spotted something unique looking. Cows, castle ruins, abbey ruins, views, beautifully laid stone walls, and a cemetery. I immediately noticed how nice the roads were with an actual dividing line for the traffic both ways! This didn't ring true the entire week, but it did for the most part.

The signage was great the whole week as well. I did A LOT of preparing prior, making notes of directions as I expect our phone service to disappear, but we really didn't have much of an issue. We followed all signs toward the Cliffs of Moher, which took us through a small coastal area of the Burren.

We will see more of that later on in the day, though, so we continued on toward the Cliffs. Time management was important here as we didn't want to linger too long with one thing forcing us to race home later on. All in all, we did pretty well!

We arrived to the Cliffs around 12pm, paid to park (there is no other option here unless you want to park miles away and hike to/from the cliffs), then we walked right up. We ventured south along the coast first.

The ground was squishy - almost like foam - which made me fear a landslide at any moment. There were signs saying to stay on the footpath, which in the photo below was to the left of the wall, as any high wind could send you flying over the edge. We, along with the majority of everyone else, did not follow the rules and walked to the right of the wall. We were still far enough away from the edge, but there were many people hanging over, and I couldn't manage to look at them! So scary!!

I didnt find it to be too crowded, but the pathway to explore is very long! We also visited in the early summer which is not quite peak time yet. It was perfect the way it was! The sun and the temperature in about the mid-60's was heavenly! We could not have asked for a better day.
We made our way back north long the cliff, stopped to eat our lunch, laid in the grass, and Luke caught the bald burn!

These next few pictures make me gasp. Those people were just WAY TOO CLOSE for comfort. I'm sure they felt fine while sitting there, but from far away, you could see where the cliff dropped. Not cool. Not cool.

The two girls below asked me to take their picture, and I told them they were making me very nervous being so close! They just giggled while I dont think I took a breath the entire photo shoot. Notice me avoiding taking a step any closer to the edge...

Did I mention how lucky we got? There are so many people that have visited the Cliffs of Moher when the weather was foggy or freezing or windy or rainy or all of the above. And it's difficult to plan because coastal weather is very unpredictable, but somehow we were blessed with one of the most beautiful days there ever was!
On the way back to Galway, we decided to drive the inland route toward Corkscrew hill to see the Burren.

The Burren is completely opposite of what you expect of Ireland. The 96 square mile area is covered in limestone with plants/grass growing in between long cracks running throughout.

The area has many historical sites that date way back. We stopped to see one of the most famous, Poulnabrone Dolmen, a portal tomb from the Neolithic period between 4200BC and 2900BC.

We continued on driving, seeing more stuff along the way. We eventually drove by a super cute little pub that was calling our name! There were chairs out back with a nice view of the countryside, so Luke grabbed himself a pint and me a diet coke, and we enjoyed sitting in the sun for a while.

As Luke did all of the driving prior, I allowed him a couple pints, while I drove us back to Galway where we finally got home around 6:30pm. It was a beautiful first day with a good dose of Irish sun! I'm not sure the day could have gone any better!

More from our Ireland Road trip: IntroductionGalway CityCliffs of Moher & the BurrenConnemaraLimerickKilkennyCashel & Cahir, Connor Pass & Dingle TownRing of Kerry, Slea Head Drive all to come...

The Cliffs of Moher have been featured in several films including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Princess Bride.

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