Good Times / Tourism / Travel / Uncategorized

Throwback Thursday: The Cliffs of Moher

It might be on a relatively small island, but guys, Ireland’s got some famous landmarks. Don’t believe me? Check out these two gems:

Come on. You know this one.

Come on. You know this one.

Only the top, so perhaps you can't tell, but I'll give you a hint...Buttercup was not a fan!

Only the top, so perhaps you can’t tell, but I’ll give you a hint…Buttercup was not a fan!

I’m hoping you can tell what those are from, but if not, the first is the infamous cave from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Harry and Dumbledore hunt down a horcrux. The second I admit may not be the exact exact spot of filming, but it was our best guess (we knew it WAS here), so we labeled that spot as the Cliffs of Insanity from the Princess Bride!

Both of these nifty movie stars can be found at Ireland’s famous Cliffs of Moher, a gorgeous rolling hillside along the sea that drops off instantly.  The cliffs offer beautiful views of the ocean, the town lying in the valley behind, aaaaaand wind. And rain. Lots of the two.

See that? Pretty rays of sunshine, right? Yeah, except they came in between droves of powerful rainstorms. Oy.

See that? Pretty rays of sunshine, right? Yeah, except they came in between droves of powerful rainstorms. Oy.

So, the give a little context, I did not just fly to the Cliffs of Moher over the weekend, sadly. I went during my post-graduation trip to Ireland in May of 2013. On this particular day of the trip, it was just two of us exploring–the others were back in Ennis still doing work, having already visited in the past.  Essentially we rolled over to Galway on a bus, where we joined up with a tour bus system that made the visit incredibly easy for us. Basically they drove us through gorgeous countryside and stopped at all kinds of scenic lookouts or historical places along the way.

Exhibit A:  Neolithic grave marker. How they managed to get those massive slabs of rock into that formation without a crane is beyoooond me.

Exhibit A: Neolithic grave marker. How they managed to get those massive slabs of rock into that formation without a crane is beyoooond me.

Just outside Galways was this little inlet where castles, sea, and green countryside all come together to create my future home. What?

Just outside Galways was this little inlet where castles, sea, and green countryside all come together to create my future home. What?

The tour guide on the bus was also nice and chipper with a good, dry sense of humor. For once, I was not bothered when I was subjected to listening to information over the bus speakers. A miracle indeed! The area outside of Galway was littered with picturesque and stereotypical little thatch-roof Irish cottages, which I learned were no longer what one would consider authentic housing–but which ARE available as holiday rental homes. SIGN ME up!

So adorable. So available! (If you book in advance!)

So adorable. So available! (If you book in advance!)

Also in that area, and visible in the background of the photo above, was a very strange terrain in Ireland–the ground was basically pure, almost flat stone with deep cracks running every which way through it. Honestly it looked like a kid had been dragging a fork through clay or something. It was bizarre, but very unique, and it was there that we witnessed the Neolithic grave site.

Paths line the entirety of the cliffs, but we didn't have the opportunity to follow them very far.

Paths line the entirety of the cliffs, but we didn’t have the opportunity to follow them very far. Maybe THESE were the cliffs of Insanity? I don’t remember, oops!

Arriving at the cliffs, we were given something of a time limit considering how long it takes you to hike up the hills to get a good view, but we were warned that the longer we stayed up there, the more we risked getting drenched. Well…that warning was not NEARLY strong enough. Beautiful sun within minutes turned into pounding sheets of rain and wind, and we were totally drenched–but laughing–as we descended into the bookshop to escape for a few minutes.

A sign hanging up in our lunch-break restaurant. I felt it was pretty smart.

A sign hanging up in our lunch-break restaurant. I felt it was pretty smart.

Post Cliff-ing we paused in a very, very picturesque teeny town along a river for a bite to eat, and then continued our drive through the coastal countryside. We passed many more thatched roof cottages in generally good shape, and were shocked to learn that many of them, given their scenic locations and charm, now sell for millions. MILLIONS, I say! Guess my dreams of moving in will have to wait…

One last stop on some shorter seaside cliffs led to beautiful flower sightings--apparently they're only in bloom a short time every year!

One last stop on some shorter seaside cliffs led to beautiful flower sightings–apparently they’re only in bloom a short time every year!

 

That’s it for this throwback, kids.

-B

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