Cliffs of Moher

Trip Start Jul 13, 2008
1
6
9
Trip End Jul 28, 2008


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Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Sunday, July 20, 2008

We started the day with a nice traditional Irish breakfast and then hit the road for the Cliffs of Moher. Along the way I noticed that the Irish government likes to use scare tactics to get people to drive safely... For example, every so often there will be a sign that says "There have been 5 people killed on this road in the last year... don't be the next". Of course the numbers are changed each time there is an accident... seems kind of morbid to me, but I guess it makes the point. I wonder who has the lucky job of traveling around the country updating these signs each month?

So we reach the cliffs and set out of foot through the hoard of people to see the sights. The cliffs them self are truly amazing. I would say there are at least 30 stories high and there are neat little caves near the bottom. There is the "safe viewing area' that has walls and lots of safety features, but the view isn't good. So I convinced Dwayne that we need to take a closer look by going past the barriers and fences. Of course, he was not impressed. Once on the other side, the views were even more spectacular and I was able to lay down and crawl over to the edge of the cliff to take some pictures! Amazing!

From the cliffs we head along the coast to the City of Galway. Along the way we pass through the Burren, which is a rocky landscape that looks like it should be on the moon. We pass random castles and lots of sheep and cows. The roads are about half the size of one of our residential streets, and designed for two cars. The interesting point is that the speed limit is 100km per hour and there are no barriers and usually walls or trees on either side. It was actually quite fun driving, except when you get behind a tractor for 10km and there isn't anywhere for it to pull over.

We arrived in the city of Galway and set out on foot to explore. The city is much like every other city in this part of the world. A scenic river, a high street with shops and a church. Other than the usual items, Galway was just an over crowded tourist trap. Spending only two hours there, we hop back in the car and continue. No point wasting time in another generic city.
Along the way to our destination for the night we stopped at Annaghdown Castle that is partly in ruins although one of the towers was still in pretty good shape. We arrived a half-hour before closing, so the tour had to be quick. The castle was pretty interesting, mainly because it was not fully restored, like the one on Kilkenney. I like to imagine what it would be like for the inhabitants to live there in the day, and imagine the knights on horses defending the land.

Tonight we are staying in a small town on the west cost called Clifden. It is literally a main street and nothing more. But I have come to enjoy the small towns, because the tour buses and hordes of people don't make it there. We made our way to the B&B and the hosts were super friendly. They had actually been to Vancouver in the recent past. The room was huge with a shower big enough to spread your arms our lengthwise! Usually the stand up showers are tiny and very claustrophobic. The room even had a little balcony and a sitting room that looked over the yard.

In the evening we wandered into town and into a local pub that served food. I tried the Irish Stew. It was very different from the canned Irish stew that my mother used to feed me as a child. This stew was large pieces of lamb, potatoes, carrots and celery with a small amount of broth at the bottom of the bowl. It was not thick and "stewy" like the north American version. Dwayne had a burger that was served with a heap of mashed potatoes. In spite of complaining that he was getting full, he managed to polish off the entire pile of mash!

The Irish have a saying that good food and music are never served up in the same place. Going with this suggestion, we headed to the next bar that doesn't serve food to take in some traditional irish music. It kind of reminded me of the stuff I would hear at the Lower Deck in Halifax, except if you listened to the lyrics, you would notice that the irish music was very somber in spit of the happy melodies. The songs talked of the great potato famine, being transplanted to America and other not so fun topics. But nonetheless it was fun to take in some "Irish culture"
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