Reflections and images from my travels

We both had a great sleep and awoke refreshed. We had a nice breakfast at our hotel and then simply walked across the street to our pick up point for our tour to the Cliffs of Moher.

My name today you ask? Why it’s James Lynch (he hung his own son from his manor window just to prove a point, hence, the word lynching).

The large tour bus was waiting. As we boarded Alan, our tour guide, informed us the ferries to the Aran Islands were cancelled due to high winds. Instead of going to the Islands we would be taken to a local cave for a tour.

Alan was very entertaining and informative as we travelled through lush, green countryside. He told us of the great famine the people had endured during the 1800’s and the effect it had on the country, people and the Irish language. He explained the reason behind the famine walls we saw along the way. There were examples of thatched roof cottages and even a famine cottage.

We were travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way on narrow roads that barely accommodated the large bus we were on.

We passed through the Burren and stopped to appreciate the limestone formations and additionally noted the very strong blowing winds.

Before we knew it we arrived at the Aillwee Cave. We were taken down in 2 groups for about a 45 minute round trip. The guide was excellent and very entertaining. Aillwee Cave is a cave system in the karst landscape of the Burren in County Clare, Ireland. The name Aillwee is derived from the Irish Aill Bhuí which means “yellow cliff“. Privately owned, it forms part of the Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey Centre attraction. The temperature is constant throughout the cave system at 10 C. The bones of a long dead bear adorns the entrance.

After our caving experience we were taken for lunch in Doolin. Doolin is known for it’s musical heritage and as the gateway to the Aran Islands. We had a fantastic lunch run by the “Soup Nazi”. Fish pie and seafood chowder was greedily consumed. Anna bought a nice Claddagh ring on sale which made her very happy.

We rode on to the Cliffs of Moher. This is the second most visited tourist site in Ireland after the Guinness Storehouse. When we exited the bus we were almost blown over (really) by gale force winds! The Cliffs are breathtaking and are sheer vertical faces that climb up to 230 m above sea level and extend for 8 km! Seabirds nest along the cliff walls including Guillemots and Puffins. There is a very long walkway (20 km) that travels along the cliffs and connects Doolin to Liscannor. Needless to say with the wind we were not going to do this walk. We did walk up to the high point for some photos. It was quite busy but apparently not as busy as it is in July when about 250 buses visit daily!

We spent some time in the cool visitors center which is built underground in the hillside to not detract from the surrounding landscape.

We got back on the bus and had a lovely drive back through quiet Countryside including an interesting descent of Corkscrew Road (it exactly lives up to its name).

We got back to Galway and tipped (much deserved) our driver/guide with money and a 80% cacao chocolate bar (a bit of a story) which brought a smile to his face.

It was off to the hotel to chill (it’s such a hard life) and then to walk around Galway and find a dinner spot. The latter proved to be quite difficult as it was so busy! Most restaurants were full. We did find a nice pub with very good seafood (Anna’s choice tonight).

We went back to our hotel bar for a nightcap which was very quiet. The bartender looked absolutely bored. Anna was impressed with him though. Two young lads (somewhat drunk) came in trying to get more liquor even though they clearly had enough in numerous other bars they had likely visited that same evening. He refused to serve them and they left without incident. Anna gave him a big tip which brought a smile to his otherwise steely demeanour!

Galway has been a great experience. We were to leave to Limerick tomorrow but not until early afternoon. We had some shopping to do for gifts.

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