And, breathe. Blessed with insanely good weather, our city-weary souls began recharging to the soft sound of the Atlantic ocean lapping, rhythmic cries of the birds carrying on the breeze and the hubbub of fellow cliff-venturers a soothing soundtrack to the sun soaked vista open before us.
Our morning started in Cork (our base for the next few days) a little groggy, both from lack of caffeine and sunshine, but we were promised sunshine from lunchtime. After a wee coffee pit stop in Limerick and brief admiration of their local castle…
…well, you could say things improved by the time we got to the west coast.
First conquering the affectionately known ‘baby cliffs’ of the Burren in County Clare (a protected area of outstanding natural beauty) we tumbled out to soak up the sunshine, and gasp at the ridiculously clear waters.
Ahoy, Craggy Island from Father Ted, ahead! Sadly we missed out on the annual TedFest, mostly because we weren’t aware of it – the loss of Sheep Tea, multiple Father Jack’s chorusing ‘Feck Off’ and renditions of My Lovely Horse had quite a sobering effect on the holiday. We will be back, perhaps using Cork as a base again.
Twelve Bens, O’Briens Tower and a Harry Potter reference all crowd in when talking about the Cliffs of Moher, but I think they need no real introduction.
The cliffs are simply astonishing. We spent the longest time simply awestruck by the view both to the left and right of the main entry to the visitor centre.
In the ancient Gaelic language, the word Mothar means “ruined fort” and a 1st century BC fort stood where Moher tower now stands. Therefore the Cliffs of Moher means the cliffs of the ruined fort and although there is no trace remaining of this two thousand year old fort it has given name to the cliffs which are visited annually by almost one million visitors.
Beach feet selfies, eat your heart out.
The path shimmies along the cliff top. You have two choices though, the crazy close route (I wandered along it about halfway before coming to a slice far too close for comfort) or behind a stonewall that hugs the pathway, a much more sensible option. It is after all a 214m sheer drop.
They’re really not joking.
Quite simply breathtaking, isn’t it?
* Enlarge me!*
And best of all? Throughout the day our steed awaited, ready to whisk us to the next fascinating destination. Every single person who has been to Ireland recommended we hop in a car, and explore the southern half of the island, nipping from wee village to wee village enjoying the lush green countryside as we went. Now, call me a chicken, but as the driving would be up to me, I didn’t want the stress of navigating, parking, hill starts, motorways, wrong turns, road rage or remembering to not lose the keys (something I almost managed to do in Disney last year).
Sadly, as Ireland doesn’t quite have a London level of public transport we had two options: stick around the cities and miss out on the glorious countryside, or jump on one of the many guided tours. They can be rather hit & miss at times, but our PaddyWagon tour guides were pretty blimmin awesome. Funny, knowledgeable and so very friendly. Upon striking up a conversation with their social media team, we were lucky enough to be invited on board as guests – but we can’t recommend them highly enough. They run days trips from all over Ireland, and stop off in some of the cutest little spots. More to come on these soon!
*Warning: cliff top exploring may cause drowsiness and the driver to giggle at all of the snoring…
What a day!
Got a sunburn today. In Ireland.
— Emma (@LondonKiwiEmma) June 23, 2014