Ireland Part 4 – Castles, Abbeys and Cliffs, OH MY!

I apologize now for how long it will take for all the pictures in this post to show up.  You should go make a sandwich and when you come back maybe they’ll be finished.  If you happen to be one of those poor souls that still tries to use the interwebs via dial-up, just give up now.

On our last day in Ireland, we booked a bus tour to take us to the famous Cliffs of Moher.  The cliffs are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and have been featured in several films.  There’s not much I can say about the cliffs that can compare to the photographs I took so you’ll notice I didn’t provide as much commentary in this post.

Our first stop was Dunguaire Castle in County Galway.  Legend has it that if one walks counter-clockwise around the castle, you will become a virgin again (no report on what happens to you if you walk around the castle clockwise).   Another legend is that if you stand at the front gates and ask a question, it will be answered by the end of the day.  Michael reclaimed his virginity while I stood out front asking questions of a stone wall.  I’m not sure how well these legends work.  The wall did not give me the financial advice I was seeking as currently exhibited by my checking account balance and when I asked Michael if he felt virginal, he just shrugged.  Despite the possibility that the legends are not true, it does make a nice picture even if it was raining sideways.

Dunguaire Castle

Legend has it if you walk counter-clockwise around the castle, you will become a virgin again.

It was so windy that even Michael was having a rough hair day.

The view looking out from the front of the castle

After departing the castle with everyone’s new virginity in tact, we headed to the ruins of Corcomroe Abbey in County Clare.

Corcomroe Abbey – This picture was taken from the bus, hence the weird blue hue to the picture.

The Abbey without the bus window making everything blue

After leaving the Abbey, we headed to Poulnabrone Dolmen also know as the Portal Tomb.  A dolmen consists of 3 or more base stones supporting a large flat horizontal cap stone.  They are commonly all presumed to be tombs but this can’t be verified.  They date from the Neolithic Period.  In the 1980’s while repairing one of the support stones, archaeologists were able to verify that Poulnabrone is a tomb when they discovered the remains of more than 20 adults and children in the tomb.

The “burren” or countryside in this area is lined with these small stone walls.  The walls are built without mortar so that wind can blow through them without damaging them.  These walls were built during the famine and are called “penny walls” because the laborers were paid a penny a day to build them.  There are miles and miles and miles of them and they’re quite beautiful in my opinion.

Penny walls

I love the dark sky in this picture with the sun shining.

Poulnabrone Portal Tomb

We arrived at the Cliffs of Moher just in time for a break in the weather.  While the wind did not let up, we did manage to get a few sunny hours to enjoy the amazing views along the cliffs.  And trust me when I assure you that these pictures do not hold a candle to the sense of awe you have standing there on the edge of a 700 foot cliff.  They were spectacular and the highlight of our time in Ireland.

Our tour guide made sure to school us in the danger of the cliffs carefully before opening the doors to let us out.  He explained that every year people die at the cliffs and we should not under any circumstances climb over the wall.  Then, he told us exactly how to get around the wall in case we decided to ignore his initial advice.  Some of the deaths each year at the cliffs are suicides but some people are just blown right off the cliffs into the water below by the strong winds.  If you question how strong the wind is, just wait until you see my hair in the photos below.  And yes, we did climb over the end of the wall along with everyone else at the cliffs that day.

The sun came out for just a couple of hours.

Even though the sun came out, it was still windy….

Does anyone have a ponytail holder?

This picture cracks me up. I asked the lady to be sure to get the cliffs in the picture. The “don’t fall off the cliffs” warning sign is just a bonus.

The cows that are pastured at the top of the cliffs don’t seem as impressed by the view.

The tower sitting atop the cliffs is O’Brien’s Tower.  The tower was actually built as an observation tower to accommodate the Victorian tourists by Sir Cornelius O’Brien who is credited with being one of the first people to exploit tourism.  Others have reported that he actually built the tower to impress the ladies.  “Hey, wanna see what I erected?”  *snicker*

I’m trying to use Michael’s shoulder to keep my hair from blowing in my face.

It took a few tries to snap a picture in a moment when the wind calmed for a second.

And this is as close to the cliff edge as I’m willing to go.

And this is the sign we all ignored to climb over the wall and get right up to the cliff’s edge.  Notice the suicide help line sign next to it.

Being photobombed by my own hair…and a bird

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Ireland.  The next day we said goodbye to my newly beloved Ireland and headed to Scotland.  I will share our Scotland trip with you shortly.  Until then, what part of my Ireland trip was your favorite?

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Ireland Part 4 – Castles, Abbeys and Cliffs, OH MY!

  1. Dann

    I often say that the pictures are 50% of the reason for a trip. Your one photo of O’Brien Tower and the cliffs down to the ocean (between your calm wind photo and the sea stack) is, in my opinion, worth that entire day. It is simply gorgeous. Well done.
    (Didn’t eat any food on this day?)

  2. According to me, all of these pictures are great. This collection of pictures elaborates the enjoyment they had during their trip. Also, these pictures contain all the locations which require a visit, from the people who wish to visit Ireland as a vacation trip.

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