Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ireland - Day 5: The Cliffs Of Moher

Of all the sites I'd been told about, the Cliffs of Moher were mentioned more than any other. This was the first of two guided tours we'd be taking on this trip, although Mom elected to sit this one out as it was going to be a lot of walking. Instead, she enjoyed a day of rest at the hotel while my brother Greg and I went on the tour.

We woke up early and caught a taxi into downtown. After checking in (we'd already purchased our tickets) we grabbed some coffee and got onto our bus. This was a nice air conditioned motor coach, and the ride was going to be more than three hours. If you do one of these tours and you like staying connected while you do, be sure to check to see if your coach has WiFi. Many of them do, but ours did not. We did have USB ports, though, so we could keep our phones charged.

A panoramic view from the very back of the bus...

About halfway through the ride, our guide came over the PA system and informed us that we would be stopping at a rest area for 15 minutes. He then proceeded to inform us that the rest area was named after our esteemed 44th President. Yup, Barack Hussein Obama has a gas station named after him in Ireland. Apparently Obama's great-great-great-great grandfather was from Moneygall (which is where the plaza is located) and his eighth cousin allegedly lives there.


Yup, really. The Barack Hussein Obama Commemorative Gas Station...

Greg could barely contain his excitement: "It was like he was right there!"

Whatever. We got a pretty good laugh over it and, before long, the Barack Obama Memorial Gas Station was behind us as we headed towards the Cliff of Moher.

To be sure, the cliffs are an impressive sight. At their southern end, they rise about 400 feet above sea level. On the northern end, the cliffs are closer to 700 feet. Take caution. Many areas of the cliffs have absolutely no barrier between you and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Cliffs of Moher. O'Brien's Tower, the highest point of the cliffs, is in the distance on the right...

The cliffs are comprised of Namurian shale and sandstone, and 300 million year old river channels can be seen along the base of them. As you might suspect, the Cliffs of Moher are just about about the most popular tourist attraction in all of Ireland. Over 1.5 million people visit them annually, and that's just the number that passes through the visitor center. The cliffs can be accessed at numerous spots along their 14 kilometer length.

The Cliffs of Moher, looking south...

The Cliffs of Moher, looking north...

Had to try it in black & white. Not sure if I dig it or not...

Not far from the visitor center is O'Brien's Tower. It was built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O'Brien as an observation tower. It does afford a bit of a better view than the ground level and, if you have the €2 to pony up, you can climb the stairs to the observation deck. Be forewarned, though: There doesn't seem to be a limit to the number of people they'll allow up there, so it gets very cramped very quickly.

O'Briens Tower, which is located at the highest point of the cliffs...

Cliffs of Moher, looking north...


Greg and I in front of O'Brien's Tower, courtesy of a somewhat temperamental Bluetooth selfie stick...

Me and Greg and the Cliffs of Moher...

The downside of this is that. because we were on a tour, we had a limited amount of time to explore. We would've loved to have spent more time checking out the cliffs, but we made it through the gift shop in just enough time to get back to our bus. Our tour wasn't ending quite yet, though. We would be making a stop in the sleepy little coastal village of Doolin, just a few kilometers away.

Doolin is a small (and I mean SMALL) village. It consists of one street: Fisher Street. There are some pubs and restaurants, but if you want to stay here you won't find any big hotel chains. It's either a B&B or a hostel. Also, if you go, be prepared, money-wise, and have either a credit card or cash before you go. There are no ATM's in Doolin.

Some of the local Doolin wildlife...


My brother's new drink of choice, Tullamore Dew...

Ol' Gus opened his bar in the year 1832...

A random shot along Fisher Street...

Inside Gus O'Connor's Pub...

This is an unusually large house in Doolin...

We had time to have a pint (well, I had a pint) and walk around a little but, once again, the fact that we were on a guided tour came into play again as it was soon time to climb back aboard our coach. And, once again, we would make yet another stop at the Barack Hussein Obama Commemorative Gas Station on our way back to Dublin.

If you do find yourself at the Cliffs of Moher, be sure to wear very comfortable shoes. It's a lot of walking on uneven terrain. It's also very windy, so be prepared for that. A light jacket, at the very least, is a must...

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