While I’m staying in Ireland, I consider it my duty to explore as much of the countryside as possible, particularly the sites that are considered most beautiful. (Also, if I didn’t Instagram it, did it really happen?)
For this reason, one of the spots I most wanted to visit while I was here were the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s top tourist destination.
They did not disappoint.
Much as I love Dublin, it’s not truly representative of the true, green beauty of Ireland that you see so much of along the countryside. Cities everywhere have something in common (endless construction, mostly) so venturing out into the wild (even if it’s in the relative comfort of a bus) is the only way to get a real experience of Ireland.
Plus, the views were truly spectacular- its reputation as one of the most beautiful places in Ireland is well-deserved.
There’s a huge difference between places in Europe and in North America. Here, you could walk right up to the edge of the cliff, just like I mentioned in my post about Giants’ Causeway. Fences were few and far between. I’m not sure if Ireland is more trusting, or if it just means they want all the silly tourists to fall off the edge of the cliffs.
Our next stop was a little less dangerous: Corcomroe Abbey, one of many ancient (and now crumbling) monastic settlements in Ireland. It was in use up until the English Reformation. (If you don’t know what that is, basically all you need to know is that Oliver Cromwell is a Bad Man and everyone still hates him.)
I love graveyards, particularly ones from so long ago. I’ve never been one to go seek out celebrities’ graves, though. I prefer wandering around and making up stories about the ordinary people who lived and died there.
(Is this morbid? Maybe. I prefer to think of it as writerly, but you decide.)
Our next stop brought us back to the water’s edge (and my own potential death rather than other people’s): the Burren.
It’s hard to tell unless you’re really there (you might be thinking it just looks like another cliff) but the rocky ground there is quite unique.
I’m not sure how it was formed (I looked up the scientific explanation and gave up) but it felt like I was walking on the surface of the moon. Since I’m probably never going to live out my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, this was the next best thing.
On our way back to Dublin, we saw Dunguaire Castle, fulfilling my current-day dream of seeing as many castles as possible. Although we didn’t get to stop and tour inside (much to my chagrin) it looked quite beautiful from our bus (and was a welcome break from endless green fields, beautiful as they are).
- Taking a bus trip out here from Dublin takes around four hours, so it might be easier to visit if you’re already on that side of Ireland.
- Be prepared for lots of wind! (Basically, don’t bother doing your hair.)
- Resist the urge to jump off the cliff. It wouldn’t end well.
Next stop: Glendalough!