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We began our first full day in Galway with another giant Irish breakfast. Then we walked to the city center and hit up the visitor center for some information about taking a ferry to the Aran Islands. Then it was back to the car for a day trip to the famous Cliffs of Moher. But first, petrol! Our first fill-up in Ireland cost us about €42 (the equivalent of about $66US) and all we had was a Kia Rio. Egad!
From looking at our maps, we knew the drive to the cliffs would carry us past a number of other places of interest, so we had planned to stop. After overcoming an error on our map and missing a turn, we made it to Dunguaire Castle near Kinvara.
This 16th century castle overlooked a bay but didn't have much information about it. We snapped some photos and were on our way.
This is where the drive got a bit insane. We were on the roads Ireland classifies as "regional." This can be alright for driving or downright scary for a foreigner. The road narrowed to about 1.5 Kia Rios wide. Then the speed limit was 100 km/hr (~60 miles/hr). Since this was farming country, we occasionally came upon a slow-moving tractor. And then construction. Suddenly 1 of our 1.5 lanes for two-way traffic became .5 lanes. After only a few near-death scares we stopped on Corkscrew Hill for some photos. In one of them you can see the switchbacks up the hill. THOSE were switchbacks! Right there we decided to take a different route back.
From Corkscrew Hill onto the Cliffs of Moher, it was a pretty bumpy but fairly quick drive. Although we had no trouble finding parking in the lot, we couldn't imagine what it must be like in the summer. Best of luck to anyone with plans to visit anything in Ireland in the summer--leave early and good luck parking! We paid a small fee and walked up to the entrance. The Cliffs of Moher extend for about 5 miles along the coast and are 702 feet high. We walked along the edge (there was still a guard rail at this point...) toward the viewing tower, which although looked like an ancient castle, was actually built in the 19th century specifically to be a viewing center. We took a bazillion photos (maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much--as you will see when you view our photo gallery). As we walked, we took note of the many warning signs, which featured a cartoon like man falling over the edge of a cliff into the water below and kept a few feet between us and the edge.
As we continued to walk, we came to what looked like a dead-end, but noticed many people continuing to walk just beyond the wall. There was a sign there posted that read, "Private Property--no entrance beyond this point." Well, seeing as there were already near 50 people breaking this law, we joined in the fun and hopped through the break in the wall, committing our first (and only) international crime. As this was private property, guardrails were left up to your imagination. Lucas was not a big fan of this and chose to stay as far as possible from the edge. Kelly tried to get closer to the edge, but this made Lucas unable to watch out of fear that she would trip over a stick or pebble (it's been known to happen on occasion...) and become a real life version of the cartoon warning, so she kept her distance after snapping a few pictures.
Before leaving, we visited the in ground gift shops. A sign informed us that they were built into the ground to preserve the scenery and view of the Cliffs.
On the drive back to Galway, we made our way through the Burren. The Burren is an area in County Clare that is distinguished by its rocky landscape and rock wall fences (Boireann--the Irish name--means Great Rock). Our new route took us by the Poulnabrone Dolmen, which was an ancient portal tomb dating back to the Neolithic period (sometime between 4200 and 2900 BC) and one of the largest such tombs in the country. We had read that this particular site (just off the road) could get extremely busy during the summer (read, bus loads of people at a time), so we were please to find ourselves joined by only 2 other people. Here's to spring travels--despite the chilly weather, there are some perks!
As we left Poulnabrone, the light was fading, and we decided to head back rather than navigate the roads in the dark. We stopped in at Petra House to freshen up, than walked into Galway city center to find a place to eat. We walked around for about an hour, then settled on Skeffs, a restaurant below the Skeffington Arms Hotel, across from Eyre Square. We didn't know it at the time (because everyone we spoke to still referred to it as Eyre Square), but Eyre Square was renamed in 1965 as Kennedy Memorial Park, in honor of JFK, who visited Galway shortly before his assassination in 1963.
That pretty much wrapped up day 3. After dinner, we made it back to the B&B and got some sleep! (note: I have noticed that we post that we have gone to bed each night shortly after dinner...in order to make us seem less like sissies, we didn't actually get back until 10:30 or 11:00 most nights--they were late dinners.)
Click below for our Day 3 pictures.
Where is the picture taken? From the cliffs? Your writing is very good. I am enjoying traveling along with you.
The orphan calf is back. It seems the cow was not open to adoption of this calf, preferred to try to steal another calf. I guess it looked better. So I’m back to feeding it on the bottle. It is a big calf, I have to feed it through the fence or it would knock me down. I hope it learns to eat grass and feed soon. It needs an instructor, are you game?
This was taken just past the “No visitors beyond this point” sign. In the background, you can barely make out the viewing tower. We are standing near the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. I would gladly take the calf, but Lucas says Wembley is enough for us…