Galway & Cliffs of Moher July 2016

From Killarney we head towards Galway stopping in Limerick.  Limerick lies on the River Shannon and is also known as the sporting capital of Ireland with its Greyhound Stadium, Racecourse, as well as mountain bike trails.  The city is divided into 3 areas: the English Town where you will find King John’s Castle, the Irish Town with the older streets, and Newtown Pery which is Gregorian core of the city.  We had lunch at Curragower Bar with a beautiful view of King John Castle.

DSCF1116King John Castle in Limerick

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DSCF1118Lunch at Curragower Bar in Limerick

Back on the road for another hour and a half we arrived in Galway City.  It is located where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic and is often considered the most Irish amongst the cities in Ireland.  The center of the city is the vibrant Eyre Square surrounded by shops, cafes, and pubs.  And not far away is the Latin Quarter with its winding lanes, art galleries, boutiques, and parts of the original medieval city walls.  We stayed at the Park House Hotel two minutes away from Eyre Square.

We spent a day wandering around Galway City.  One of the highlights is Salmon Weir Bridge, built in 1818, which is the oldest bridge over River Corrib.  It was built to link the county courthouse with the county gaol on Nun’s Island.  Between April and July, you can peer over the bridge and watch salmon swim upstream back to their spawning grounds on Lough Corrib.  Unfortunately, we were told because of changing weather patterns, there weren’t many salmon when we were there.  Crowds usually gather here to watch the salmon fighting their way upstream.  There is a lottery system here for people to apply for a license to fish or more like just pull salmon out of the water.

DSCF1244 (1)Salmon Weir Bridge with Galway Cathedral in the back

DSCF1242 (1)Fly fishing for salmon in the river

DSCF1246 (1)River Corrib

DSCF1238Galway City

DSCF1241 (1)Galway Cathedral

DSCF1255 (1)Interior of Galway Cathedral

DSCF1256 (1)Galway Cathedral

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DSCF1265 (1)High Street of Galway

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A popular attraction not far from Galway is the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.  We spent a day driving through the winding coastal road south of Galway.  On the way we passed small villages, ancient castles, rings forts and the Burren before arriving at the Cliffs of Moher.  The Burren is a karst landscape with vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone and other rock formations.  The word Burren comes from the Irish word “Boireann” meaning a rocky place.  It is a very large area of about 260 sq km, both beautiful and foreboding.  From Kilfenora, you can explore the heart of the Burren rather than just skirting it from the main road.  Other than the unearthly landscape, the Burren also has tombs and dolmens older than the pyramids.  Kilfenora is also known as “The City of Crosses” due to the abundance of Celtic Crosses that adorn its 12th century Cathedral.

DSCF1124The Burren

DSCF1128Poulnabrone Tomb is a classic example of a portal tomb built in the 4th millennium BC.  Excavations here revealed the remains of 33 individuals dating back to the New Stone Age.

DSCF1137Kilfenora Cathedral

DSCF1138Bishop’s head at Kilfenora Cathedral

DSCF1142The fabulously restored Doorty Cross at Kilfenora Cathedral

DSCF1146The “West” Cross depicts a crucified Christ in a long robe.

DSCF1220Corcomroe Abbey is a 13th century Cistercian monastery.

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DSCF1226The ruins of Corcomroe Abbey

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Continuing south, we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher which stretch for 8 km along the coast and at places rise to 214 meters.  On a clear day, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay can be seen from the cliffs.  This area is one of the most famous big-wave surfing spots in Ireland with 50 feet waves during storms.  Standing here on the cliffs, you feel the raw beauty and power of nature as the waves crash against the side of the cliffs and the winds howl into your ears.  We took a boat ride to view the cliffs from the water.  Since it was a stormy day and the seas were quite rough, we were completely drenched and didn’t see much.  I would advise tourists to skip the boat ride altogether.

DSCF1173Cliffs of Moher from our boat tour

DSCF1188The Cliffs of Moher

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DSCF1197The weather here is so unpredictable.  Rain, sun, rain, wind, sun, wind, rain, and so on….

DSCF1177O’Brien’s Tower

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DSCF1207View from the top of O’Brien’s Tower

From Galway, we returned to Dublin for our onward flight and this concludes our 2 weeks in Ireland.  Ireland is a beautiful country but I do miss the sun.  I am ready to do nothing  but lie on the beach and soak in the sun in South of France for the next 5 days!  :)

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