Cliffs Of Moher Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher are regarded as one of Ireland’s best tourist destinations due to their magnificent beauty and without a doubt they are worth the visit any time of the year. While it can be hit and miss with the view especially in the winter time I got a good day for the view out towards the Atlantic Ocean. The Cliffs however where only one site to avail of on this tour.
As usual the tour began at the crack of dawn in Dublin City Centre and we headed out west. Our first stop was in Offaly at the Barack Obama Plaza for a rest stop. From Barack Obama Plaza it was onto Limerick for King John’s Castle and the Treaty Stone. The castle was constructed in the 13th century on the orders of King John and the Treaty Stone is where the Treaty of Limerick in 1691 was signed between the Franco Irish forces of Patrick Sarsfield and the Anglo Dutch forces of General de Ginkel. Both sides had been at war since 1688 when King James II was kicked off the throne of England and replaced with Prince William of Orange. The treaty allowed the Irish forces to leave Ireland and fight for France, but following their departure the British implemented penal laws on the Irish such as not being allowed to join the army, take up public office, go to school or attend mass.
From Limerick we made our way towards the highlight of the tour, the Cliffs of Moher. We drove through the rugged countryside of County Clare and on the way we passed the old entrance to the estate of Cornelius O’Brien. O’Brien was one of the few landlords who tried to help his tenants during the Great Famine, in some cases he even waved the rent from his tenants.
The Cliffs of Moher offers a fantastic visitor experience with its visitor centre providing an audio visual on the wildlife of the area and a birds eye view of the cliffs. While there was a fantastic view out to sea from the Cliffs of Moher the wind and rain still whirled around. Despite this we braved the elements to take full advantage of this fantastic piece of landscape.
From the Cliffs of Moher we took the coast road towards the village of Doolin. Out into the wild Atlantic we could spot the Aran Islands. Our driver guide, Shane, told us that on the Aran Islands the drinking laws are a bit more laid back, because there is no Garda on the islands! As a result pubs tend to open a little bit longer but the Garda will always ring ahead to tell the islanders when they’re coming, unless it is stormy they’ll go out in a boat and flash a light. Doolin was the stop off point in a cosy little pub for lunch and a chance to stretch our legs. After filling ourselves on seafood chowder, Guinness stew, fish and chips and ham & cabbage with parsley sauce (so quite a nice menu) it was back on the road towards the Burren again.
The Burren is a quite a unique landscape in Ireland with exposed layers of limestone creating beautiful and breathtaking scenery. It is here too that you will find unique flora and fauna such as alpine flowers as well as the usual brown cows scattered across the landscape. We stopped along the coastline with the Burren providing the scenery on one side and the vast Atlantic on the other side. Shane took some time out to give us a hurling demonstration and giving us all a try. As the only Irishman aside from Shane he asked me to look after the hurley and gave a hand in helping people knocking stones into the Atlantic. I even had a go and baring in mind I hadn’t played it since I was in primary school I did OK! The journey continued along the coast road towards our next port of call; Kinvara.
Kinvara is a quiet little fishing town on the west coast, although at this time all of it’s boats are in the harbour and not out at sea. This was just a comfort stop though as we headed north towards the outskirts of Galway before turning eastward again, towards Dublin and home. Overall a tour well worth taking, especially to see the beautiful scenery of the west coast.