Once again I’m starting a blog post with the words “it’s been a long time since my last post and………”
When I came onto this blank page I planned to say that I was not going to be creating day by day posts of my road trips anymore because it was very time consuming to edit the photos and write the details of my daily drives. This is even more relevant now as I went on a 3 week Euro trip in September and took over 1500 photos so the idea of finishing the Ireland blog from last April and then starting on the Euro blog was daunting.
So I’d decided that as I still wanted to blog, I’d just write about…..stuff……and throw in the occasional photo to break up the text.
Then I went back to the last post I published and looking at it, I kinda got the bug to continue what I’d started for a change. So with much less editing and fewer details about road numbers and whether I turned left or right at junctions, here I go again with Day 12 and my first visit to The Cliffs of Moher.
Still in Co. Clare, I left the slightly bizarre Barkers Spanish Point b&b at 10am, headed north and was at the car park by 10:25. The cliffs are the No.1 tourist destination in Ireland garnering over a million visitors a year and so I was expecting to have to pay a fair bit for both parking and walking along the cliff top. Not so. Entry to both the huge car park, the visitor centre and the walks along the cliff was a very reasonable €6 for adults and when I saw it was only €4 for seniors, that was for me !
It was only later that I discovered that at the Cliffs of Moher, a senior was 65 or older. Oops.
Anyhoo, I was in and after parking I made my way across the road to the entrance.
Just beyond the entrance were souvenir shops but like the visitor centre, these had been built into the hillsides, Hobbit like, to minimise their footprint. This is a still from the video I took of the area……..
The shops are on the right and on the left is the visitor centre which you go through to begin the walks along the cliff edge.
As I didn’t need to make use of the facilities or buy even more souvenirs, I went straight out to the path leading up to O’Brien’s Tower and the start of the cliff edge paths. The tower was built in 1835 by the forward thinking landowner who saw the potential for tourism and built the tower to provide great panoramic views.
As I’ve said many times in the past, when confronted with a junction, I always take the left option if it’s a 50/50 choice. I’m left handed so it always seems the natural choice.
Except here. The views to the right seemed better so I guess as it wasn’t exactly 50/50, my record remains safe !
As it was 11am and the cliffs are on the west coast, they were mostly in shadow.
Top Tip : best time to visit the cliffs would be just before sunset but the downside would be being blinded by the sun ! A boat trip would be the best choice.
At this point the path was 214 metres above the Atlantic and for the next few hours it was a case of walking a few metres, stopping to admire the views, taking a few photos, walking a bit further, stopping to……well you get the idea.
The path really hugged the edge and in many places, as you can see on the left of the photo above, you can stand right on the edge – if you have no fear of heights and you know that the outcrop is well supported. There were several outcrops that looked inviting to walk out along but as you approached them from the path, you could see they had no real support (apart from being a metre thick) and then there was a 200m drop to the sea.
It would have been like walking the plank and often a cracked plank at that !
There was one section with signage warning people not to go to the edge and looking at the narrow stone platform and all the huge cracks on it, I wasn’t surprised.
The people on the cliff top path give scale in this next photo.
In this one, I’m not sure if she’s holding on to him or about to push him over !
Rest easy…..it was the former.
I probably only walked about 3 miles on the round trip but I still spent 4 hours there as the place was so special. Although I’d only taken my phone (camera) with me on this trip, I was pleased with the results despite not having much of a zoom. I did have my binoculars though and as the cliffs are home to about 30,000 birds, there was plenty to see.
The cliffs have also featured in movies like The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. They were also the last resting place for most of Dusty Springfield’s ashes – she apparently loved the area and made the request before her death on the 2nd March 1999.
So by mid afternoon I was back outside the visitor centre and spent a while eating my sandwich and watching tourists disembarking from numerous coaches to take in the views. Sadly many of them never made it beyond the steps up to the tower either due to physical limitations, time constraints or just out and out indifference.
I overheard “see one cliff you’ve seen them all” a few times from, I have to say, senior American tourists who just looked for a few minutes and then headed back to their coaches – ticking another box on their bucket lists no doubt.
After all that exercise and fresh air, I wanted an early night so decided to look for a b&b once I’d driven through Galway, 50 miles away.
Not long after leaving the city, I entered the Connemara region of Co. Galway and the scenery was spectacular with the N59 passing by numerous lakes and loughs with mountain ranges providing perfect backdrops.
By now it was 18:30 and I didn’t want to go beyond Clifden as that was the start of the Sky Road loop which I’d been looking forward to exploring at leisure and wanted to do that the following day. So when I saw a lovely looking b&b just 2 miles from the town, I stopped and got a room for €40.
What a gem it was. A beautiful house, a stunning location and a view from my bed that made that €40 a steal.
Inside was pretty good as well and that view…..
I drove into town for supper but I’ve no record of where I went. I just know it was somewhere on Market Street and I enjoyed the dessert.
Back at the b&b I watched a few TV shows on the laptop and read a bit about the route I was to take the next day……and it looked wonderful.
Hopefully I’ll get round to blogging about it soon !