Sunday, July 16, 2017
The second most popular sight in Ireland, next to the Guinness Brewery tour in Dublin, are the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast.
We booked another trip on Paddywagon to take us on the 2-hour drive from Cork. It also included some other stops of note.
For a 5-mile stretch, the Cliffs soar as high as 650 feet above the Atlantic. We were blessed with an amazingly clear day (it was foggy the day before) and had spectacular views from two vantage points. The Cliffs are treacherous and there are limestone slabs that protect you on the walkway from doing something stupid. However, it is possible to continue a route beyond these protective structures, and we saw people getting precariously close to the edge for what???...a photo that will never truly show the immensity of the Cliffs but does reveal their stupidity.
On one side we saw O'Brien's Tower, built in 1835 to mark the highest point of the Cliffs. From here through the mist we could see the Aran Islands.
The visitor center is built into a mound in the ground so it doesn't interfere with the view or the ambiance.
Afterwards we drove to Doolin where we had fish and chips at Fitzgerald Bar in the Doolin Hotel. We asked a young woman from Argentina who was traveling alone to join us. We have encountered lots of young people of different nationalities working in Ireland -- and locals whose children are working abroad. This young woman was working for a Czech company doing linguistics for major companies like Apple. Truly a global society.
Then we visited the Burrens, an expanse of rough, potholed limestone along the coast that was dug up and left bare by the last ice age. The area also has "mini Cliffs" with no protection, and again, people were being stupid.
On our route, we passed by an abandoned farm house made of stone without mortar, possibly several hundred years old. Also a farm house with a thatched roof. Learned that thatched roofs are made with river reeds (rushes), not grass, and must be replaced every 25-30 years.
Then on our way home we stopped briefly for a photo of Bunratty Castle, another "tower" castle which seem to be common in Ireland.
We got back about 6, rested, and headed out for the evening. Went to Gallagher's tonight where we listened to a great trio. The lead singer was only 19 years old and sounded like Stevie Nicks. I had the meat pie with puff pastry topping. Delicious.