Posted by: mdmusingsie | August 12, 2012

Turasóir arís, cuid a cúig

There are so many things to see and do in Ireland and the Cliffs of Moher should be high on any visitor’s list.  These majestic cliffs tower 700 ft over the Atlantic Ocean at the western edge of County Clare.

The weather in Ireland is generally unpredictable, and today was going to be hit or miss.  Fortunately for us, the band of rain hit as the Lally Tours bus was on the road, passed as we reached the cliffs.  The driver related a story of one woman who had come to Ireland three times to see the cliffs and each time they had been obscured by fog.  It reminded me of my attempts to find Parkes Castle near Sligo.  Some things are just not meant to be.  However, for us, we were rewarded with beautiful viewing weather.  A stray shower gave us a sprinkle, but not enough to dampen our quest.

Although I have been there a number of times, the cliffs never cease to impress.  Someday I’ll compare my photos from 10 years ago to now and see what might have changed as the powerful surf pounds against stubborn rock.

The entry walkway takes you to the center and both left and right branches provide various views.  For a few extra Euro you can climb the stairs of O’Brien’s tower to get a circular view of the cliffs and surrounding area.  We didn’t have time to stand in the queue, so we did our gazing from along the walkways.  It was even clear enough to see the Aran Islands.

Also part of this day trip from Galway was a stop at the Aillwee Caves, which I had yet to visit.  Located in the Burren, the caves were discovered in the 1940’s but kept a secret by the farmer until the 1970’s.  Cave entry fees are not included in the price of the tour, but we did receive a substantial discount for being part of a group.  Although I think they could do more with the tour, it was very interesting and picturesque, despite the dim interior.  The straw-looking stalactites are hollow like a drinking straw, and there are several internal waterfalls which vary in intensity depending on recent rains.

It’s rare that I meet a castle I don’t like and added a new one to my repertoire as we drove past Leamanagh Castle located in the Burren.  It was only a slow drive by, so I wasn’t able to explore the interior.  However, you can see the original 15th century Norman tower on the left, expanded to a manor house in the 17th century.

So much to see in so little time.

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