I’ve always considered myself a West Coast girl. Spending the majority of ones childhood in a San Francisco suburb will so that. And the same holds true here in Ireland. I loved the west coast.
Matt took a Friday off work and I rented a car. Rather than take the hour long €8 bus journey up to the airport to rent a car I rented from the Sixt location in Dun Laoghaire (pronounced done leary…obviously). It would be way more convenient if the location was close to the centre (<–my phone automatically did that) of town and the train station. But as it is it’s about a 3 kilometre (<–and that too) walk from out flat. (I did that. I could have typed apartment).
The weather was calling for rain on Saturday (it didn’t really. I don’t know why we look at weather forecasts) so we decided to swap our initial plans and do Cliffs of Moher on Friday and Galway on Saturday. We took a southerly route into the cliffs after stopping for lunch in Limerick (Delish Cafe. Super yum). On the way we found out Matt’s PhD work was published in a major way (shameless plug) and at one point I had to remind him to look out the windows as we drove through the ups and downs on which the Irish had lovingly built a golf course.
Cliffs of Moher
This is one of those “have to go” places in Ireland. We thought: “sure. Let’s check it off the list!” For those that follow me on instagram, I already posted that they really exceeded our expectations.
The weather was not sunny. But it was clear. Which was fine by us. We arrived around 2pm. I do recommend driving yourself there if you can so you have more time to walk farther away from the crowds. We walked to the left (south?) upon arrival towards Hags Head while most people on tour bus drops will walk to the right towards O’Brien Tower. After the first 15 minute walk…we could hardly find a person to take a photo of the two of us. So we have lots of these:
From the cliffs we were about an hour from our AirBnB in Kinvarra.
The roads are narrow and winding. The speed limit is an absurd 100 kph. Just. Um. Do your best. We ate dinner in Kinvarra, checked out the local, and went to sleep.
On Saturday we ventured into Galway. We grabbed coffee, wandered the busy BUSY streets, shopped the open air market, ate at Griffin’s Bakery and drank at one of the many pubs. We also visited Galway Cathedral. Which is practically brand new (as cathedrals and places of worship in Ireland go). We mentally planned a second trip to Galway by train to stay right in the city and enjoy…. more pubs.
On the way back to Kinvarra we stopped at Moran’s Oyster Cottage for oysters, sunset and to discover a giant eel who swims up and down the river.
On Sunday, we had a nice lie in before hitting the road. We stopped in Gort for coffee and a man (in what looked to be last nights attire) stopped to talk to us…. in Gaelic. That went well. 😕
We drove to the burren which is an area of bedrock and limestone. It looks like another planet. It is hard to believe this shares the (tiny) island with where we live in South Dublin. It feels so far away from everything.
Oh yea. On the way we stumbled upon some monastic ruins. Ya know. As ya do. This was Kilmacduogh.
We took the long way back to Dublin. Weaving and winding through small Irish towns in the midst of Gaelic football and hurling and camogie finals. Lots of signs supporting “the boys” and colored flags on every house. We’d drive about 25 minutes of all yellow and green flags. And then. Boom. All of a sudden. Everyone was red and blue. We saw a single house divided. It doesn’t seem to happen very often.
We stopped in Athlone at Sean’s Bar which claims to be Irelands oldest pub.
Dating back to 900 AD. They have a great beer garden outside and uneven sawdust covered floors and a solid fire inside. A great place to spend some time.