We were able to get a later start today since our drive to the coast was not far. Although it was still a little chilly out, the sun was shining and actually probably the best weather for both our morning and afternoon events.
Cliffs of Moher
Rather than try to be poetic and write something dramatic about the cliffs, I took this directly off the Cliff’s website: “Visually spectacular, the Cliffs of Moher sit astride the striking landscape of the Burren on one side and the Wild Atlantic Ocean on the other. Rising out of the Atlantic waters to a height of over 700ft at O’Brien’s Tower and running along the coast of Clare for almost 14 kilometres, or 8 miles, the Cliffs of Moher were formed over 320 million years ago, and today form part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.” I did take the photos myself, so at least I have that for which I can claim credit!
After checking out the Visitors Center and Museum, we headed to Lisdoonvarna, where we had grilled cheese, ham and onion sandwiches at the Rathbaun Hotel & Bar (a good twist on our US grilled ham and cheese, by the way).
After lunch, we headed back to the coast to meet our guide for the afternoon walk on The Burren, a 15-mile field of ancient limestone. In Gaelic, the Burren means “a rocky place,” which is obviously appropriate as these photos will show.
As reported in Ireland.com “The Burren was formed millions of years ago beneath long-forgotten tropical seas, The limestone landscape of the Burrenhas led to a form of farming that is hardy, with a history that dates back over 6,000 years. The ancient tradition of ‘Winterage’ – allowing cattle to graze the hills in winter – continues to this day, clearing the ground of tough grasses and making way for plant life to flourish come springtime.
Although the property is privately owned, the public has access to it, even including campers who sometimes pitch a tent or light a fire to watch the sun set over the North Atlantic. There is a conservation easement in place that limits its use, but as explained above, cattle grazing can occur. Those really must be hardy Irish cattle!
We had another two to three hours of driving to get to Galway, where we will be staying at the Hardiman Hotel for two nights. Along the way several small towns were focused on Galway Bay, offering a variety of “holiday homes.”