Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 5, 2010

Is Turasóir mé

Sadly, time is running short and my adventures will come to an end soon (at least this particular set).  Time really does fly when you’re having fun.  So I thought I’d play tourist the last few weekends I’m here. 

There are lots of nice day trips available from Galway, so I decided to take one that included The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, among other sites.  It had been at least 8 years since I visited these attractions and decided it was time for re-acquainting.  The coach trips are also considerably less expensive than renting a car. 

Desmond, the driver and guide (Galway Tour Company if anyone is interested), was quite the character – chock full of jokes as well as interesting facts.  He claims that he kissed the Blarney Stone and anyone who kisses him receives the same benefit – of course he made the kindly offer to all the ladies on the bus.  To my knowledge, however, no one took him up on it. 

Many of the stops I had visited before but a few I hadn’t including the 5,800 year old Poulnabrone Dolmen.  The site is owned by the OPW (Office of Public Works) now and is roped off so you can’t actually go and touch it – too many annoying people doing stupid things like carving their names and such results in these precautions.  You can get very close, however, and it is one of the larger dolmens that I’ve seen.  

The dolmen is inside The Burren, which is an amazing area of limestone left from the ice age.  The guide referred to the area as resembling a “lunar landscape”.  This are contains arctic, Mediterranean, and alpine flora and fauna interspersed between the fords in the rocks.  The saddest part of this extraordinary landscape are the “Famine Walls”, stone walls to nowhere built by the Irish during the famine years as the Britts weren’t about to give out charity to people who were starving – no they had to work for the pittances they received.  On the way back near Black Head we stopped and walked along the rocky shore.  It is a sight to rival the Cliffs of Moher. 

We also went to a ring fort or Fairy Fort near Ballyalban.  The earthen forts were used as protection against the elements in the difficult terrain.  People make fun of the fact that it’s called a Fairy Fort and claim they see the wee folk, including the coach driver.  Regardless of its original purpose, the place had a sense of mystery and magic and I felt calm, safe, and at peace while walking over and inside the earthen walls.  It would be a great place to just sit and meditate for a while – something you would have to do on your own as bus trips don’t stop for very long. 

Supposedly there had been many complaints about the food (price, quality, and service) at the Cliffs of Moher so the tour company now takes patrons into Doolin for lunch.  We ate at O’Connors which is right along the inlet to Galway Bay.  The Guinness Beef stew was excellent and the portions generous.  I’ve also eaten at Fitzpatrick’s Bar the last time I was in Ireland and enjoyed their food as well. 

The Cliffs of Moher are still and incredible sight to see.  They have upgraded the paths and visitor’s center in recent years and it’s quite easy to get around, though they put up stone barriers to keep you from getting to the edges – at least in the places owned by the consortium running the attraction.  You can walk further on along the cliffs and get close to the edge and each year a number of folks get too close, as it were – candidates for Darwin awards.

It was a fun day and we lucked out on the weather as it only rained a little and that was while we were on the coach.  Photos on my website.

More turasóir activities to come.

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Responses

  1. Nic pics Dawn! A beautiful place. Make sure you get a least one picture of yourself while there! It would be nice to see you in some of these photos 🙂
    ~ Carin


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