Day 6: Galway and the Cliffs of Moher

Trip Start Aug 28, 2005
Trip End Sep 05, 2005

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What I did
O' Riordan's Pub

Flag of Ireland  , County Clare,
Friday, September 2, 2005

Day 6 started with a good hangover! We woke up sometime after 10:30 a.m. It’s not easy to sleep in a hostel with everyone going in and out. Michelle and Lauren weren’t feeling too well and went back to sleep. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I worked on my journal while Katie showered.

The guys from Australia are checking out today. They informed us that after last night we would forever known as the “Giggly Americans”. We must have been pretty loud coming in last night! A new guy named Steve was put into our room today. He is from Dublin and in town for a wedding of a friend. He was nice and told us about some things to do when we get to Dublin.

After I showered Katie and I went downstairs to get on the internet, Michelle and Lauren weren’t awake yet so we checked our email and looked at both the Aran Islands or Cliffs of Moher. We decided to go to the Cliffs since the price or the ferry to the Aran Islands was more than we wanted to pay. We mapped out how to get from Galway to the Cliffs and it was going to take about 2 hours.

We woke Michelle and Lauren up so they could shower while we went to the market to get everyone lunch. The drive to the Cliffs was called the scenic route and it was just beautiful. Everywhere we went you could see the coastline and little thatched cottages were everywhere. Everyone is right when they say that the West coast of Ireland is the most beautiful.

I could tell we weren’t far from the Gaeltacht, I was seeing more and more Gaeilge-only signs. I could tell my Irish was improving because I could figure out a few signs with no English translations. We came across a sign near Killaloe in Co. Clare that said “Crinniú na mBád” which I knew meant “boat meeting or race” and sure enough as we got to Killaloe there was some type of boat race going on in the lake.

County Clare and Galway have some unbeatable scenery and I just kept taking pictures. There were quite a few attractions to see on the way to the Cliffs of Moher. One was Dungáire Castle in Co. Galway, another was the Alliwee Caves in Co. Galway near Ballyvaughn. And of course the Burren in Co. Clare. The drive was beautiful and well worth the two hour trip in itself. The Irish landscape was so gorgeous, I got some inspiration for some new paintings.

Another pretty area was Lisdoonvarna which holds the Irish matchmaking festival. As we got closer to the Cliffs we could see even more of the shoreline. There is no admission price to see the Cliffs but there is a 2 Euro fee for parking. Before going to the Cliffs we took a look in the gift shop. To get to the Cliffs you have to climb a large hill.

When we got to the top the view took our breathe away. 700 feet of rock and green grass rising out of the Atlantic Ocean. It was amazing! If you looked out all you could see for miles was ocean. It was a beautiful sunny day and just a little bit breezy. You’re not allowed onto the side with the Cliffs. Instead there is a set of stairs with a barricade of liscannor stone that leads up to O’Brien’s Tower where you can get a great view of the Cliffs.

You can go over the barricade to get better pictures or to sit on the ledge at your own risk and that’s exactly what we did. Katie sat out on the very ledge and I got some good pictures of her. I took a few pictures over the edge of the Cliffs. It was a little freaky looking down there. But the beaches were beautiful and the water was so clear.

Of-course we had to take pictures of ourselves standing in front of the Cliffs. There was a guy selling traditional Irish music cds and he had a cd player playing the music to get people interested. It was kinda nice to hear the music and look out at the Cliffs. Well I’m not sure if it was lack of sleep, hunger, a partial hang over or what but Lauren got up and started doing this crazy Irish jig. It was so spontaneous and hilarious. Thank God I had the camera set to video!

We took a few more pictures and that capped about two hours of sight-seeing at the Cliffs of Moher. Everyone was getting hungry so we decided it was time to go back to Galway to get some dinner.

The road to the Cliffs are very windy and narrow and the sun was starting to set so we took our time driving. As we were driving along traffic came to a halt. We were hoping it wasn’t an accident. It turned out to be a herd of cows crossing the road. Which was really ironic because on the way out to the Cliffs Lauren had asked what would happen if the animals just wondered into the road. Now we knew! It was funny because I had seen the exact same thing in an Irish travel video but never expected it to happen to us.

We stopped in Ballyvaughn and I took some pictures of the high crosses in their cemetery. As we drove we saw more beautiful coast line and had to stop for a few pictures. I think these are the first Irish landscapes I am going to paint. There is something about those old rock walls that I just love!

We arrived back in Galway a little over two hours later and started hunting for a good place to eat. We walked all over Eyre’s Square looking at the restaurants, the type of food they offered and their prices. We finally came across Riordan’s, they had a great deal on Irish food. So that’s where we went. I got tea, Irish stew, potato wedges, vegetables and Irish Cream cheesecake for dessert. The food was fantastic. We all liked our meals and were happy with the amount of food and the price.

It was about 10:30 p.m. when we finished our dinner and hit the town. Galway was really hopping. There were people everywhere wondering from pub to pub. There were street artists and vendors, & street musicians all performing. It was a very festive atmosphere. We walked around, listened to the music and browsed in a few stores. We saw alot of locals who were drunk outside of one pub and they were all singing U2 songs! We walked around a bit more then went back to our hostel to get showered.

We also got on the internet and booked our next hostel in Dublin. We are going to be staying at the Brewery Hostel which is right down the street from Guinness and very close to the Temple Bar. It should provide close access to alot of alcohol and good times :)
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