Thursday, August 08, 2013

July 25: Cliffs of Moher and Killarney

After breakfast we checked out of The Swallows and headed to the Cliffs of Moher, about  2 hours from Galway.  Again the drive through the burren was spectacular, and we stopped to take photos and admire the countryside.   Along the way we came to Dunguaire Castle, which is probably the most famous land mark that is associated with Kinvara. The castle was built in 1520 by the O'Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay. This restored 16th century tower house sits on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Galway Bay, 300 yards outside the village of Kinvara.
Dunguaire Castle

A village on the way

The Cliffs of Moher stretch for about 8 km and are Ireland's most visited natural attraction. We parked the car and were pleased to note that the tour buses and crowds had not arrived yet.  We grabbed our  cameras, water bottles and rain coats (just in case) and walked to the Information Centre across the road.  This area is well developed for tourists with some paved pathways.    After checking out the tourist centre we headed up the path to view the Cliffs of Moher.  There are no words to describe the view! We were fortunate that it was a clear, sunny day.  Many arrive to find the area fogged in and not able to see anything.  We walked to O'Brien's Tower.  The tower was built in 1835 by Cornelius O'Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru.  The tower was built as an observation tower for tourists visiting the Cliffs of Moher. We followed a pathway along a stone wall and a neighbouring field of cows.  Oh, and just in case you are ever doing that walk....yes, the fence is electric and turned on!!!!  We didn't get as far as the cairn that marks the highest point at the Cliffs, but enjoyed the view from the wall instead.  We walked back to the tourist centre and checked out the educational displays and then visited with one of the employees before heading back to the car park.
Cliffs of Moher

O'Brien's Tower

Along the rock wall

We left the Cliffs of Moher and headed to Killarney, our next overnight stop. We were traveling along more windy roads and had to  stop to let a  farmer move his cows across the road.  It was also exciting and nerve racking to watch tour buses meet on the road ahead of us....there was almost no clearance between them and one bus would pull to the side to let the other bus by.

The burren
Narrow tree lined roads

Waiting for the cows
When we arrived at the Ardree House, our B&B for the next 2 nights, we asked about a printer and the receptionist assisted us in printing out the boarding passes we had left at home.  The accommodations were excellent, our favorite while in Ireland.  We had a large room, nicely decorated with a large bathroom and a view of the city.  The place was furnished with antiques and they had a lovely breakfast room.  I did a bit of laundry while Doug read, checked emails (on excellent WiFi service) and rested and then we went for a walk to the city centre, which was just a 5 minute walk away.  Our first stop was to confirm our bus tour for the next day and then we strolled along the main street checking out gift shops, had an ice cream and looked for a place for dinner.  There were carriage rides available and a bit of an amusement area set up near the main square.
The entrance to the Ardree B&B

We finally settled on a place for dinner at the Salvador and I had a curry dish and Doug had pork chops.  We listened to some of the street musicians and then found a pub that advertised Irish music.  The Danny Mann was a great place to spend the evening.  We found a couple stools at the bar and ordered a drink.  We met a couple from Belfast who were sitting beside us and we enjoyed visiting with them  as we listened to the music of a duo called Natural Gas.  The Irish term for this is craic, we had a good laugh after they explained this to us. When they first mentioned that they like to come to the pubs for some "crack", we were not sure what they meant!!!  The owner's daughter also entertained us with some dancing.  It was a very enjoyable evening!!
Music to sing along with

A young Irish dancer

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