The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year. We did a different tour company for this tour and it was very different to have a guide who is not from the area. This was a long day (over 8 hours) but we saw a lot and were in awe of the cliffs. Before we started the tour I had learned my lesson from the day before (waiting until the afternoon for my coffee) so I got up early and walked to the local coffee shop – I was SHOCKED to find that it did not open until 9:00 AM…the coffee shop does not open until 9:00 AM!!! In disbelief I walked around and wondered what to do, it was a long shot but I walked into a gas station…I was ready to settle for regular coffee. The gas station had LATTES!!!! I was so happy…why are there not latte machines in every gas station in the states? I was also surprised and shocked to see it was Seattle’s Best Coffee!! YAY! As I was filling up the latte (it took about 5 minutes) a nice gentleman came up, filled his cup with tea, and walked away….as he did he said “tea is faster” I told him I was from Seattle and I had to. He laughed and made a joke about American’s and their coffee….which is so true. This was probably one of the most suprising things from this trip, people do not walk around with coffee, it is not a “must have” to get the day started. I left noting I should appreciate my latte every morning more but I also smiled as the extra strong “Seattle” coffee hit my veins. I was ready for the long day!
The tour started off with The Aillwee Cave – One of the oldest caves in Ireland Located in the heart of the Burren In County Clare. Forty minutes from both Galway and Shannon. Perched high on its Burren terraced mountain side with what has to be one of the most spectacular views of Galway Bay. It is a must for all who find themselves in the area. The Burren is a place full of wonder, beauty and discovery. Let the staff at AILLWEE CAVE welcome you to the dramatic underworld of this area. Expert guides will accompany and inform you during your leisurely tour. The tour consists of a 30 minute stroll through the beautiful caverns – over bridged chasms, under weird formations and alongside the thunderous waterfall which sometimes gently sprays the unsuspecting visitor! Unique Cave Features Marvel at the frozen waterfall and explore the now extinct brown bears bones (ursos arctos). The guides will bring you back to the outside world where you can browse and SHOP in distinctly different craft shops which are housed in the award winning complex that guards the entrance to the Burren underground.
I do not know if I was disappointed because I have been in a lot of cool caves (even was a cave tour guide as my first job when I was 14 years old) or if it was a bad tourist attraction….it was ok, but hence sight it would have been much cooler to stop at the cave we went by later in the day, it hosts one of the biggest stalagmites in the north hemisphere and was in Harry Potter. I am going to pretend we stopped and post some pictures from it…..for those of you just browsing the blog and not reading it will think we stopped there 🙂
Doolin Cave Here in the depths of the cave at Doolin, is a secret kept for thousands of years, the Great Stalactite of Doolin. It has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, from just a single droplet of water, persistently dripping until the stalactite has reached a length of more than 7.3 metres, 24 feet approximately. The stalactite was only discovered in 1952 by cavers exploring the maze of caves tunnelled by the rivers that run underneath the soft limestone of the Burren. Doolin cave offers a unique opportunity to see one of the largest free hanging stalactites anywhere in the world. Doolin Cave and coffee room is open year-round, and from 10am to 5pm in season.
We drove by the home of the Match Maker Festival ( http://www.matchmakerireland.com/ ) Lisdoonvarna (Irish: Lios Dúin Bhearna, meaning “fort of the gapped keep”) is a spa town (did not know there was something called a “Spa Town”) of 822 people (2002 census) in County Clare in Ireland. The town is famous for its music and festivals. The town takes its name from the Irish Lios Dúin Bhearna meaning the “lios dúin”, or enclosured fort, of the gap (“bearna”). It is believed that the fort referred to in this name is the green earthen fort of Lissateeaun (fort of the fairy hill), which lies 3 km to the northeast of the town, near the remains of a Norman-era castle.
In September each year one of Europe’s largest matchmaking events is held in the town attracting upwards of 40,000 romantic hopefuls, bachelor farmers and accompanying revellers. The month-long event is an important tourist attraction. The current matchmaker is Willie Daly, a fourth-generation matchmaker. A now-defunct music festival which took place near the town is celebrated in a song of the same name written by the Irish folk singer, Christy Moore. This festival took place until 1983, when the last event was marred by a riot and the accidental drowning of eight people.
I thought this was really cute until I saw you can buy tickets to the Matchmaker Festical on Ticketmaster….it took away some of the “cuteness”
Cannot believe the beautiful sunny day we got! It was actually warm – no scarf needed. Here were some sights along the way to the cliffs….
Poulnabrone dolmen (Poll na mBrón in Irish, meaning “hole of the quern stones” (bró in Irish)) is a portal tomb – one of approximately 174 in Ireland – based in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland, dating back to the Neolithic period, probably between 4200 BC and 2900 BC. It is situated 8 km (5 miles) south of Ballyvaughan, 9.6 km (6 miles) north-west of Kilnaboy
Can you believe these roads? Talk about stressful driving!!!
Thinking of you Derek ❤ (and family!) This was the first Sullivan I could find….so far they have been O’Sullivan
Rachel means Ewe (but I like this definition better) Innocent Lamb 🙂
love how “Ireland” this picture is….I think this is one of my favorite pictures of the trip
The Burren Named from the ancient Gaelic word Boireann, or barren place of stone, the Burren covers an area of 270 square kilometers on the north coast of Co. Clare. On seeing the Burren for the first time, you will be struck by the surreal, “lunar” terrain of this karst limestone area, which is in startling contrast to the soft green contours usually associated with the west of Ireland, and is unique to this part of Europe. It looks as if it were the first land God Made; in fact while man has been settled here for at least six thousand years, it is probably the youngest landscape in Europe. Although it can resemble a limestone desert, it nurtures the most varied flora in Europe and is of huge interest and significance to geologists, botanists and archaeologists alike. Pot holers and speleologists recognize an underground Burren, where rivers vanish down swallow holes, valleys are without streams and lakes disappear in the dry weather, all forming a vast maze of subterranean passages in the rock floor. The Burren is so much more than the sum of its parts, some visitors tour it in an afternoon, others explore it over a lifetime and still declare they haven’t yet come to the end of it.
A Galway Hooker at low tied (The Galway hooker (Irish: húicéir) is a traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. The hooker was developed for the strong seas there. It is identified by its sharp, clean entry, bluff bow, marked tumblehome and raked transom. Its sail plan consists of a single mast with a main sail and two foresails. Traditionally, the boat is black (being coated in pitch) and the sails are a dark red-brown. Recently there has been a major revival, and renewed interest in the Galway hooker, and the boats are still being painstakingly constructed. The festival of Cruinniú na mBád is held each year, when boats race across Galway Bay from Connemara to Kinvara on the Galway/Clare county boundary.)
Dunguaire Castle (Irish: Dún Guaire) is a 16th-century tower house on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay in County Galway, Ireland, near Kinvarra (also spelled Kinvara). The name derives from the Dun of King Guaire, the legendary king of Connacht. The castle’s 75-foot (23 m) tower and its defensive wall have been restored, and the grounds are open to tourists during the summer
The 19th century Gaelic scholar John O’Donovan states in his Ordnance Survey letters for County Galway and his book The Genealogies, Tribes and Customs of the Hy-Fiachrach that Dunguaire was built by the Ó hEidhin clan, chiefs of Coill Ua bhFiachrach, the district around Kinvara, and also of Uí Fiachrach Aidhne an area coextensive with the diocese of Kilmacduagh covering the part of county County Galway between The Burren and Galway Bay to the west and Slieve Aughty to the east. Dunguaire Castle was used in the 1969 Walt Disney movie Guns in the Heather, featuring Kurt Russell, in which the castle was featured as Boyne Castle. It was also the Scottish castle home of the main character in the 1979 film North Sea Hijack.
More beauty….One the way to and at the “mini” cliffs of Moher
and FINALLY …… THE CLIFFS OF MOHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Cliffs of Moher have inspired music, literature and legend since time immemorial, and have been the location for movies including Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Princess Bride, Into the West and Ryan’s Daughter; TV shows like Father Ted, and for music videos by bands like Westlife
Let me go out on the ledge of this cliff and take a selfie…..(below here is a 700 foot drop!!)
Nope, gotta fix my hair…..
Ok, how did that one turn out?
Something else to point out is the profile of this cliff…look at all the different faces you can see in the side of the cliff….. (also another shot to show just how close she is the the ledge and the massive drop off below)
Back to the beauty without danger….
Pardon the selfies, I just could not get enough, it was so beautiful and I wanted the “perfect picture” At least I was not risking my life to get it …