World-class traveler Samantha Riley takes readers on another rollicking Irish adventure, this time to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher. Don't forget an umbrella, it's another soggy day in Galway.
Sunday was the much-anticipated tour of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. The first stop of a long journey ahead was to Dunguaire Castle in quaint Kinvara. This 16th century tower is precariously situated on an outcrop overlooking the coastline of Galway Bay. After admiring the sight, it was off to Corcomroe Abbey, a Cistercian monastery and home to a cemetery of high crosses.
As each destination passed, deeper and deeper into the heart of the Burren we were propelled. Reaching the epitome of the Burren was our visit to Poulnabrone dolmen, or “the hole of the sorrows.” The monument was constructed as a burial tomb. During its excavation, over ten human remains were found along with artifacts like pottery and jewelry. The purpose of these types of sites is unknown but it is one of many throughout Ireland. Protruding from the barren landscape of the fittingly-named Burren, it remains a sight to behold.
With our stomachs all simultaneously growling in hunger, the driver announced, much to our relief, the next visit was to Doolin for lunch. In the typical Irish village, O’Connor’s Pub was the place to be for food and friendliness.
Then, it was off to the Cliffs of Moher. Braving the torrential downpour, a few of us tried to climb to Hag’s Head but the recent flooding of the pathways blocked our endeavor. The only other option was to walk along the edge of the cliff to bypass the foot of water but with 100 mile per hour winds, tempting fate was not in the books. The weather gave us the opportunity to explore the Cliffs of Moher interactive exhibit with videos and a miniature museum. It eventually cleared up for us to enjoy the breathtaking view that has captured the hearts of millions before. It is understandable why it is the most visited attraction in Ireland and is vying to earn the title as the 9th Wonder of the World.
Leaving it behind for the second time was bittersweet. A few miles down the road we embarked from the bus- our haven of warmth and shelter. We were the furthest west on the island as it is possible to go, with nothing as far as the eye could see but the vast emptiness of the ocean. We stood atop the bluffs, massive waves beating against the rocks below us, unparalleled to any others I had seen before. The spray rose vertically, showering us all with its saltiness. As we turned back towards the bus to embark for home, the tiny needles of rain pelted our faces and the wind whipped my previously straightened hair into a bird’s nest of a mass- the only touch missing, a robin perched on top.