Sunday July 13th ~ Dublin cross-country tour, Ireland
One of the most visited tourist attractions in the entire country, the Cliffs of Moher had to be on our “must see” list. With over 1 million visitors a year, it tops the list of scenic natural destinations in Ireland. In fact I think the only place that more tourists go to is the Guinness Brewery.
After a bit of research, we chose to use a local tour company and booked two different day trips out of Dublin. One for today, and then the next one for Tuesday. There are several others we are interested in, but we thought taking one or two first to see how good (or bad) they are before booking five tours sounded smart.
The tour company we selected has really good reviews on Trip Advisor, so after booking online, we were ready for another full day adventure. It required a very early wake up as well as a short taxi ride to the meet-up point in front of the Old Stone Church on Suffolk Street. Our tour was scheduled to depart at 6:50 and we were asked to arrive 10-15 minutes early. Tim and I got there at 6:25 and at 6:30 were on our bus. Being one of the first onboard we got a front row seat with an excellent view.
When our bus was full, we departed, actually 10 minutes early. There was a second bus for the same itinerary to catch the remaining passengers.
It will take us about three hours to travel by bus across the country from East to West. The bus is new, clean and holds 55 passengers. The seats are a little narrow, and leg room for someone Tim’s size is a challenge, but we are excited to be on our way.
Barry is both our driver and our tour guide. I’m not sure that I like having our guide also drive the bus, as it seems somewhat safer to have a driver dedicated to just that – DRIVING. Tim and I put our seat belts on…
A couple of hours in we make a toilet stop and stretch our legs. I guess our president stopped here not too long ago for a visit to this area and they named a petrol station after him. WHAT???
The morning weather was dismal, overcast, gray and then raining. By the time we arrived in Limerick, visibility was fair at best. We were holding our breath, hoping that things would improve by the time we got to the coast. A short photo stop was next.
The treaty of Limerick was signed in 1691, supposedly on the stone mounted on a pedestal along the Shannon river, opposite King John’s Castle.
Considered one of Ireland’s Seven Wonders, The Cliffs of Moher rise 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean.
Several movies have been filmed here including Leap Year, Princess Brides, and one of the Harry Potter movies. I knew that if the weather Gods were shining on us, the views would be amazing. I know, I know, we took way too many pictures, but here are some of our favorites. I’m normally the photo junkie, but Tim was “in the mood” today for photography, and many of these are his.
There is also an excellent visitors center that shows an on-going short movie from a birds perspective, sailing along the cliff edges and diving under water.
A couple more pictures taken here before we move on…
The Burren is one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe. Located along the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay, part of which makes up Burren National Park, one of only six National Parks in Ireland. A stark rocky landscape at first glance, but look closely and you will find fragile and delicate flowers, some only found in this area.
Made from local limestone, probably between 1205 and 1210. It is unusual for the detailed carvings not normally found this early. Legend has it that the King had the five masons that built the abbey executed to prevent them from building another rival masterpiece.
More pictures taken along the way
All the details:
The company we used is Irish Day Tours. Here is a link to the web page which shows the complete itinerary we took to the Cliffs. The current pricing is €45 ($61.25 USD) per adult. They do offer children’s rates as well, age 5-12 €22.50, and under five is free. Do be advised that this is a LONG day on the bus and may not be suitable for young ones.
As you can see, we covered a LOT of territory in one day. It was 7:30 in the evening by the time we returned to Dublin. My overall impression is that this is a very well run company that offers an excellent opportunity to see the best of Ireland in a reasonably priced way.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for the wizardry of the Internet that allows me to be in Ireland, take a boat load of pictures, and be able to share them with friends and family around the world.