Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Discovering Ireland: Part 2

I have to feed this to you in chunks because I have written so much!

The next day, we ventured off to find the Cliffs of Moher. The roads on the way were narrow and windy, up and down hills, through the Burren (which I hope to explore more of one day), and finally led out to the coast. Dungaire castle was a striking surprise early on in the drive to the Cliffs.

Me, in front of Dungaire Castle.
 A thatched roof house across from the castle.

A view of the Burren. 
Another view of the Burren. You cannot tell from these pictures how windy and hilly the roads are, and I was shocked at how many people were riding bicycles here. There was no shoulder and the speed limit was 100km, or really, whatever you feel safe doing, because if you were doing 100 km, you would surely die.
These pictures deserve the extra large size for maximum viewing pleasure.
 Please don't poke fun; no one told me I buttoned my jacket wrong, nor did I notice until I reviewed the pictures. Let's focus instead on the magnificent glory of the Cliffs! 

 Not my coffee cup... clearly, I didn't notice that either... it's an otherwise perfectly beautiful picture.

The path to the Cliffs splits, one going toward O’Brien’s Tower, and the other going up along the Cliffs. My pictures do not do the beauty of the Cliffs justice; they are absolutely breathtaking to see in person. This was my favorite moment of the trip.
 Flowers in focus...

Cliffs in focus... 
 I couldn't decide which was better, so you all get to see them both. It is hard to choose when given such exquisite beauty. You wouldn't believe how many snails there were in the grass and flowers!
View of path leading to O'Brien's Tower and a cliff shelf where people were not permitted to go, but I guess there are rebels everywhere.

Yes, I will gladly stay behind the safety of the wall. I am not a thrill-seeker.
The steps leading to the O'Brien's Tower side. I will later post about how, had I not sought alternative medicine for the pain in my knees prior to my trip, this would have been a tremendously painful experience. But, because I invested a chunk of change in my health, I experienced no pain. That's right, folks, no pain at all. Details to come.
The sign reads, "In Memory to Those Who Have Lost Their Lives at the Cliffs of Moher." There was not a protective wall on the other side where you can see people walking up the trail, therefore, I did not walk up the trail. I did not want this sign to also commemorate me.

 As I was happily walking down this hill, taking in the moment of being in the presence of such a rare, remarkable piece of land, a man was urinating at the fence. (No, he is not in this picture, so don't try to find him.) There's nothing like seeing an arcing stream of urine to suck the pleasant, feel-good vibe right out of you.

One of the guards had a terrier that he played fetch with while keeping the tourists within the boundaries. It was so fun to watch the dog wait for the throw, run down the stairs, fetch the toy, and happily return it to her master, surrounded by an audience of cooing tourists.

This just might be the happiest dog in the world.

After the Cliffs, we headed to Ennis for the night. The village was similar to Galway, but much less crowded. 
We stayed at the Rowan Tree Hostel (pictured above), which wasn’t too bad, though the bed was rock hard, so much so, that it felt as though rigor mortis had set in my leg overnight and I had to coax it gently back to a straightened position before I attempted to climb out of the top bunk. There was a restaurant/café in the hostel which was convenient, and it was definitely the most picturesque of the hostels we stayed at.

The museum in Ennis held many artifacts like swords and arrowheads from the Bronze Age. I learned a little bit of history about County Clare and Ennis while I was there. 

 I took these pictures for Mom and Vanessa - the town vet...

 ...and the competition down the road. Cute clinics!

It looked like there was a baptism or christening going on at this church when we walked by, so I didn't try to go inside. I really like the way this picture came out, though.

Dinner for me at the hostel café was an open faced tuna melt, served on ciabatta with a pesto sauce and a side salad of mesclun, chopped bell peppers, onion, and cucumbers with a ranch-style dressing. This was not one of the wimpier salads.

I made the most of the free breakfast the hostel offered by slapping together a jelly sandwich, and off we went, destination Killarney, first stop Bunratty Castle and Folk Village.

There will be more to come soon! This was about the halfway point of the trip in Ireland.


  1. I am SO loving your blog! Living vicariously through you! Your photos are fantastic! Can't wait for my trip in March!