The Famous Cliffs
A visit to County Clare in Ireland wouldn’t be complete without trekking to the Cliffs of Moher. I don’t know that I have any profound words to say about this incredible geological feature, that haven’t already been spoken. We spent a good part of the day walking about the trails and climbing up O’Brien’s Tower. The views are nothing short of breathtaking, and the shifting light of the day brings new dimensions to each nook and cranny.
We enjoyed the music of a harpist who had set himself up in a busy spot. Less enjoyable was a tin-whistle player – not because the tin whistle isn’t enjoyable, but due to the man’s short repertoire of only three short tunes over, and over, and over. It was fun seeing a couple of folks in the water far below, riding around on jet skis in the rather chilly air (and no doubt colder ocean!) that day. They seemed to be well prepared with wet suits though.
The current visitor’s center dates to around 2007 and I understand was the subject of some controversy by folks who felt (and perhaps still do) that it disrupted the natural setting. However to us it seemed to blend in well, as it was built into the landscape and barely noticeable except from certain vantage points. There is a small row of merchant stalls, also built into a hillside, leading up to the main entrance. As my daughter left her hat at the hotel, she picked out a nice Irish wool hat from one vendor.
Inside the visitor’s center is a fairly decent short film and some other displays relating the natural and human history of the Cliffs. We ate some lunch at the cafe on the ground floor, which had some affordable and quite tasty selections – including something I hadn’t enjoyed since Australia in 2012 – Bundaberg Ginger Beer – the best ginger beer/ginger ale in the world, if you ask me!
And More Nearby…
On the drive back home, just south of the Cliffs on route R478 near the village of Lahinch, we spotted a pretty scene as we crossed a small bridge. A large, flat sandy area spread out from a river and into the North Atlantic. It appeared to be right at the low tide mark, based on the still-wet sand closer to the water. We parked and made our way across the narrow bridge to a trail leading down into the basin.
The walk to the edge of the ocean was deceptively long. But it felt refreshing to stroll along the smooth rocks washed down by the Inagh River into the estuary, checking out the farmhouses on one bank and the small homes of Lahinch just off in the distance to the south. A number of other folks had the same idea, and two or three dogs frolicked around in the sand.
Finally we reached the actual beach – much flatter and with a more gradual slope into the sea than I’m accustomed to. I’m very much a “beach guy” so this was as perfect as it could be…especially as the Cliffs were, shall we say, a bit too high up for beach combing!
There are other attractive little roadside
spots as we moved on, but it was getting too dark to stop again, unfortunately. The next time we come to this area, though, I hope to have more time to slowly meander around the county and just see what we happen to find.