Day 8: Galway, Burren, Cliffs of Moher & Bunratty

Trip Start May 11, 2007
Trip End May 19, 2007

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Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Friday, May 18, 2007

Today we departed Westport for Galway where we were going to do a short tour of the city and some shopping in Eyre's Square. The bus tour was very basic and encompassed the major sites of the city.

We were left off in Eyre's square to take some time and look around. We decided to stroll through the streets and take a look in some of the shops. We also went into an art gallery and saw some wonderful local landscape paintings. We went into the local mall and took a look around. Malls aren't an overly common thing in Ireland. As a matter of fact I've only really came across what could be called a mall in Dublin and Galway. Everything else is individual shops.

We stopped into a local pub to get something to drink before boarding the bus for the trip to the Cliffs of Moher. Our guides took the scenic route to the Cliffs which is always a beautiful drive. Along the way we drove through the Burren, which is another odd landscape in Ireland. In this area the mountains are full of stone and little to no grass grows on them at all. Its a very strange phenomenon.

When we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher we were greeted by the strongest winds I have ever experienced in Ireland. One of the staff at the Cliffs told us they were under a wind warning and that we could go out to the Cliffs if we wanted to but that the gusts were incredibly strong. We were warned not to get to close and not to dare try to go over the barricades. We decided to brave the wind to take some pictures at the Cliffs. It was a beautiful sunny day and would have been perfect if not for the whipping wind. The ocean below was crashing pretty violently and the birds that are normally flying around couldn't be found anywhere. We stayed out for a bit. It was definitely my shortest trip viewing the Cliffs.

We needed to warm up so we went inside and got some great Irish stew at the cafe in the visitors center. Afterwards we walked around the visitors center and looked at the displays and shopped in their gift shop.

We then departed for the drive to Bunratty where we were going to be spending the night. We had been in Bunratty before and stayed in the same hotel. Its a nice place and with in walking distance to the castle, the shops and several local pubs including the famous Durty Nelly's. There is also a medieval Folk Park located around the castle that shows how life was lived in that time with actors in period costume doing various demonstrations. On a previous trip we planned on doing this and I ended up getting sick so we skipped it. I was hoping to be able to do it this time but the park was shut down by the time we arrived.

We checked into the hotel, unpacked, got showered and got ready to go to dinner. Tonight's dinner was a medieval banquet in the Bunratty Hotel with harp music, singers in period costume and traditional foods. I always enjoy these banquets as they remind me of the Renaissance Fair at home. They food was wonderful but you had to eat everything with only a knife because they didn't have forks and spoons in the olden days and everything was supposed to be authentic.

After dinner there was a show which consisted of actors and singers performing many old traditional Irish songs and dance. It was great entertainment. After the show we went to Durty Nelly's for a bit before it got too crowded. Once again there was someone inside playing the piano and plenty of people belting out Irish tunes. Durty Nelly's is very famous and gets insanely crowded. We didn't stay very long because we were leaving for home in the morning
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