Cliffs of Moher

March 02, 2013-CliffsofMohr3-2168

March 02, 2013-CliffsofMohr3-2168The Cliffs of Moher rise up to 214 meters from the Atlantic Ocean.  The span 8 kilometers down the coast and have been ranked in the top ten natural wonders of the world many times.  This photo wasn’t easy to choose from the pile that I have.  I am sure another will make an appearance this week!

Click on the images below for a full screen image to enjoy!

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After all the fun, or craic (fun in Gaelic), of Friday’s “Unofficial,” Saturday was definitely my favorite day of the trip. We decided to take a tour across Ireland who’s main feature was the Cliffs of Mohr. The tour left bright and early at 7:40am. We all grabbed some breakfast from our hostel (which was really just toast and orange juice) and boarded the Green “Paddywagon” tour bus.

Our guide, Marc, was awesome. His overall excitement and enthusiasm of the country of Ireland and the places we stopped at made the tour all that much better. The trip would be taking us from the east coast (Dublin) across the country to the west coast (Galway) with a few stops along the way.

The first stop was at a small castle near Kinvara. The Dunguaire Castle, like many things in Ireland, has many bits of folklore associated with it, like if you walk one way around it, you will have seven years of bad luck.  Part of this tour was cut short due to a local road race.  Coming from Italy (where we literally have heads turn from us exercising outside, it was refreshing to see some type of running event).  The event was sponsored by Saucony, who I now know gets their shoe names from Irish towns.  They have a shoe called the Kinvara.

March 02, 2013-DunquaireCastle-2082Duguaire Castle

Next up was driving through the Burrens, huge hills that are primarily made of rock. In the pass of the Burns, we stopped at the Corcomroe Abbey. The Abbey itself was built in the 13th century and mainly contains a cemetery of the people of the area, along with plenty of superstition.  The isolation of the Abbey helped the Irish learn a little more about how the monks preferred to be isolated from society.

March 02, 2013-CorcomroeAbbey-2100 Corcomroe Abbey (Paddywagon and Burrens in the background)

We then stopped at the ‘Baby’ Cliffs where the drop to Galway Bay (the Atlantic Ocean) is only a mere 60 meters or so. They’re still pretty awesome and definitely set the tone for the actual cliffs we’d be seeing later in the day. I tested if I had any fear of heights by sitting on the edge with my feel dangling. You’re pretty much not sane if you don’t get at least a little bit nervous doing this…

March 02, 2013-CliffsFeet-2143Hanging over the edge, literally

March 02, 2013-BabyCliffsPerception-2144Andrew/other people on our tour for some perception of how tall the cliffs were

March 02, 2013-BabyCliffs-2134That guy (our driver) is sitting where we were..

We stopped at a restaurant in Doolin before the cliffs to grab some lunch. The place definitely lives off the busses of tourists that come through every day. It was evident when we were one of five busses parked next to the restaurant! I got some delicious, homemade seafood chowder and a big piece of their chocolate raspberry cake. It was too good looking to just walk by – Grant can attest to this.

March 02, 2013-CliffsSign-2151Cliffs of Moher Entrance

From here we went to the main attraction – the Cliffs of Mohr. As I explained above, the cliffs we considered in the top 10 of Earth’s natural wonders of the world, and they deserve it. I feel like a broken record when I say this in most of my posts, but it’s impossible to truly understand the enormity of these cliffs without being there in person. There’s only so much my pictures can show. We spent about an hour and a half soaking in the goodness and taking photos (I somehow managed to take nearly 100…).  It was back on the bus to stop at one other really small castle (Bunratty Castle) before returning to Dublin. Safe to say, the most satisfying 40 euro I have spent thus far.

We headed out to find some dinner and ended up at a place called O’Shea’s. I got a traditional Irish Breakfast (yes, for dinner) which included three different kinds of sausage, thick cut bacon, an over easy egg, toast, baked beans, and even a pot of coffee. Was pretty happy with this choice as well.

After hanging around chatting with other people from U of I, we went to a pretty well known bar called Flannery’s. It was very busy, but a great place to hang out and talk to the people we were with.

Back to my feelings about hostels. Andrew left Grant and I a bit earlier than we left, so when we returned to the hostel, he was sitting there waiting for us and quickly exclaimed how we were kicked out of our room. Knowing we hadn’t done anything wrong, I was a little confused. He continued with saying that it wasn’t management, but rather some other guests. We were forced to switch rooms earlier in the day because of how we booked our rooms, and I wasn’t happy about how we were going to have to move again. He said there was a group of girls that took over our room and were smoking cigarettes and doing who knows what else. The group was some sort of group of Welsh/Russian/Hungarian/European girls on some sort of bachelorette trip. I’m going to start off by staying, whoever is the man marrying one of those girls, good luck. It must have been some sort of women’s rugby team – that’s all I will say about that.

Either way, I spoke with management at the time, and they knew there was honestly nothing they could do to remove them. They were 100% on our side and helped us into another room. I guess the lesson of that night was to watch out for groups of burly looking girls in your hostel commandeering rooms. The washer back in Rome better not break so I can get out the cigarette smell from all of my belongings..

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