Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cliffs of Moher

I was told that a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher was a must. I left early from Dublin and got on the PaddyWagon tour to the cliffs. We headed off bright and early at 7:50am and made our way west. Our first stop was a small village called Kinvarra. It's right on the coast and during the summer, there's a castle that we can go explore. We got out to stretch our legs and look at the harbour. The tide was out, so there wasn't much water too look at. Just mountains of algae.
We got back on the bus and made our way to our next stop: Corcomroe Abbey, in the middle of The Burren. It was built in the very early 1200s and there's only one of the original 4 walls, as the other were re-built to protect the tomb of the King Connor o Brian. According to the legend, he hired five masons to built the abbey and at the end, he was so impressed with their work that he praised their efforts, then beheaded them all. He wanted his abbey to be unique and didn't want to risk these men making a similar one somewhere else in the world. He then stuffed their remains in the stone altar, which are still there today. I actually saw one of the skulls!

About a 30-minute drive later, we stopped to see the "Baby Cliffs," which are about 7 times smaller than the Cliffs of Moher. This was our lunch stop before finally heading to the famous Cliffs.

The Cliffs of Moher are amazing. Scary, but beautiful. There's about a dozen people who die on the cliffs every year because of the very strong winds and slippery slopes. You can practically sit on the edge of the world!
In the distance, we could see these very dark clouds rolling in fast... and within 10 minutes, the clouds were on us, it started hailing and pouring rain and the winds picked up. The winds really are strong enough to push you off the cliffs, so I decided to move away from the edge... just in case.

The rain stopped within 10 minutes, so I headed to the other side of the Cliffs where there was a little tower. The sun was now shining brighter than before.

(So much so than an Australian guy thought it was bikini weather....)

I gave myself about 30 minutes to go explore the visitor centre, which was really great, with a lot of interactive touch screens and games to explore the cliffs and their history.

The last stop before we got back to Dublin was the Bunratty Castle. We only stopped for a half hour to stretch our legs before the 2.5 hour drive back to the city.

Paddy Wagon Tours is a great tour company. I've done 2 tours with them and both times the guide/driver was excellent, hilarious and very knowledgeable. It wasn't very expensive, and I also got to see a lot of things I would have never even known about without the tour. Plus it's so much more enjoyable to have someone drive you around then try to find your way on the tiny tiny little backcountry roads of Ireland.

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