Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cliffs of Moher!

We hit the ground running when we arrived in Ireland in order to soak up every second of our trip. Through our hostel we were able to book a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher for the next morning. It was an early wake up call but we all agreed that we didn't mind giving up sleep if it meant experiencing Ireland to the fullest.

The hostel we stayed in (The Times Hostel in Camden Place, highly recommend it) has a partnership with the Viking tour company so they can connect you with all of their events.  It proved extremely helpful for us, we signed up for the pub crawl, walking tour, and Cliffs of Moher trip.

While Michele and I were booking the trip at the front desk, they asked if we wanted a wake up call since we had to be at the meeting point by 6:30am.  We found this amusing so we agreed, wondering how they were going to wake the four of us up without waking the others in the room. After getting about five hours of sleep, we were woken up at about 5:30am by one of the hostel workers knocking and yelling for us to get up. Not what we expected but funny, maybe only due to our lack of sleep.

It was a three hour bus ride to Galway, during the majority of which we all passed out.  Of course the Irish countryside is beautiful, so I did manage to wake up a few times to catch a few glimpses of the sun rising over the green, rolling fields.

The sun rising in the changing sky.

Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day in Ireland! SHEEP!
We arrived in Galway at about 9am so we had an hour to kill before our next bus left for our day tour of the cliffs and the surrounding area. We decided to find a place to to eat breakfast. We happened upon a cute, rainforest themed cafe and stopped there for breakfast. I ordered porridge with honey and fruit and a coffee. I absolutely loved the mug that the coffee came in, how cute is it!?

My filling breakfast in Galway. I found it hard not to take the mug with me.
After breakfast, we headed back to the bus station and boarded our tour bus for the day. From here on out, we were traveling with MacCoole Tours, a family-run tour company that I highly recommend. Our first stop of the tour was their family farm. Located in The Burren, the Connolly family farm is over three-hundred years old and is still a working farm today. We went on a walking tour of the farm, walking up one of the hills, and learning all about the history of the area from our tour guide/member of the Connolly clan.

The Burren, located in County Clare.
At the top of the hill we climbed, there was this wild looking tree which, in old Celtic tradition, is considered a fairy tree. It is believed that the branches of the fairy tree reflect the pathways and tunnels of the fairy world below.  It's extremely bad luck to interfere with a fairy tree because it will disturb the fairy world. This legend is taken very seriously in Ireland so fairy trees are not messed with. Our tour guide told us a funny story about a main road being reconstructed in some Irish town. The plans were all set, however, things were halted when it was realized that a fairy tree sat directly in the path of the planned road. No construction worker dared to touch the tree, they even showed up to work for two weeks without doing anything until a new plan for the road to go around the tree was made! I got the message loud and clear and will never mess with a fairy tree!

People place knickknacks on the tree as a way to ask for help from the fairies and hope for them to bring them luck!

I could not get over the vibrant green fields!!

After our tour, we were able to buy some baked goods from their pastry shop. Shannon and I decided to share a slice of apple pie and a raspberry brownie, both topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. We went outside and enjoyed the Irish countryside while gobbling up our desserts, fighting over the last bite.

Our view as we ate our baked goods. I could get used to this.


Our visit to the Connolly family farm was followed by a scenic drive through the Irish countryside on our way to the Cliffs of Moher! We stopped a couple of times in order to take pictures and breath in the fresh air.

I could drive along the Irish coast forever.

Before we knew it, we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher! I am not exaggerating when I say that this was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We were there for almost two hours and it was barely enough time. When we walked up, we decided to walk to the right first, thinking we would have enough time to walk back and then to the left side. We took our time walking along the cliffs, stopping every few steps to take pictures. I'm glad we did so rather than rushing through it to see everything. I don't know how it is on the left but if you go to the right, after a time you reach the start of a family farm and, while it's no longer owned by the official Cliffs of Moher geopark (I guess), you are still able to continue on. The cool, albeit terrifying, part about this area is that there aren't any walls so you can get as close to the edge as possible!! I kept my distance from the edge but others in our group (SHANNON!) got nice and cozy with the edge, even dangling her feet over while I fell to the ground and yelled at her out of fear (not kidding). We were repeatedly told that we lucked out with a beautiful day for a Cliffs trip because it is usually windier, rainier, and foggier (typical Ireland). Some days it gets so windy that they have to close the Cliffs for fear of people being blown off the edge! While it was cloudy and windy they day we went (as can be seen in the pictures below), it really was the perfect day for visiting the cliffs!

We've arrived!!

There they are, in all their glory!!!

Spreading some UC Panhellenic love at the Cliffs of Moher!

Taking a selfie with the cliffs was just too tempting. I have more, although my face is covered by hair in most.

A gust of wind came up as this picture was being taken, caught me by surprise!

We were able to get quite closet to the edge near the end of the cliffs. This is as close as I dared.
It really was the most extraordinary experience to explore the Cliffs of Moher. Helps point out how much beauty there is in the world. I can't wait to return to them one day!

Until Next Time.

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