Day 2 – Ireland Road Trip
For sunlight is like gold.
Today we decided to take a road trip to see more of Ireland, as we had hired a car. Our sleep schedule is still a bit off, so we were up early and had plenty of time to get ready and plan our trip for the day.
We decided our main goal would be to go to the Cliffs of Moher, as it comes highly recommended and looked like a great scenic location in photos. It is unfortunately on the other side of Ireland. Luckily Ireland isn’t all that big, so it’s a little over three hours to drive across it directly. We decided on a few stops along the way we wanted to see, a few towns which sounded nice, planning to get to the Cliffs later in the afternoon when the crowds would be gone.
Before any of that though, breakfast! We walked to a Mediterranean café nearby, which we had to wait twenty minutes for, as it hadn’t opened yet. Luckily good things come to those who wait – the food was great. No photo, as I was too hungry to spend time on that all that jazz.
After our meal, it was back to the hotel to get the car and start our trip. It was about 9:30am at this point, as we set out of busy Dublin city, crawling slowly along the congested roads. The weather didn’t look promising either (it never does here), but we trudged on.
Soon the busy city streets merged into wider highways and before we knew it, we were off across Ireland!
For the first half an hour or so there wasn’t much to see. Mostly just trees lining the roads, with the occasional clearing. Once we got off the highway and onto the narrow winding roads which seem to cover half of Ireland (still 100kph limit for some reason – really doesn’t feel safe), the scenery opened up and we were treated to rolling hills, farmland, mountains, forests and small Irish villages.
Following our car’s navigation system, we were headed for the town of Limerick, where we were planning on seeing the large castle there and having lunch. After driving for a while, we came across a small village, Portumna, which boasted a castle and gardens. We decided to stop in and take a quick look around, first going into the large church we found.
After the church, we walked to the castle grounds and walked around the surrounding area.
Before we could actually go into the castle, we realised we wouldn’t have time, and returned to the car. It was at this point that I conferred with Google on the directions to Limerick, as it felt like we were heading too much West, and not enough South, and sure enough we were being led astray!
Not entirely astray, luckily, but it was taking us to some other place, so we had to backtrack a bit and lost about half an hour, but we didn’t mind, as we got to see Portumna which was cool. Now back on track, we headed to Limerick and found a pub to get some lunch. Their burgers sounded good, so we all got one and lo and behold, this beauty.
It was substantial, and delicious, my favourite combination of adjectives to use when describing food. Now that we were full to the brim, we headed back out to drive to the cliffs. It was now about 4pm, which meant we didn’t have time to check out the Limerick Castle either, as we still had a three hour drive back to Dublin. No matter! We were determined to make it to the cliffs at least, and had heard you shouldn’t go before 4:30pm, as it’s way too crowded.
It was a little over an hour to get from Limerick to the cliffs, and as we got closer to Liscannor (the town near the cliffs), the scenery once again opened up and we were winding down narrow roads, looking upon an expanse of farmland, rivers and in the distance, the ocean! We made it to the coast!
It was around 5:30pm when we arrived, meaning we had two hours (it closed at 7:30pm), but we didn’t need all that time. We parked in the provided area, and walked up the path and steps, bracing for the imminent view expectantly.
And then we reached the top. I feel like showing you a photo of it is just going to elicit an “ahh yeah cool” reaction, as it’s not the same when flattened into a photo, and shrunk to fit on a computer or phone screen. But I’m going to show you a photo anyway.
To see in person, it really is spectacular. The cliffs are huge, and the ocean surrounding was incredible. The paths provided allowed you to walk up to the right side cliff and see the main cliffs on the left from a great vantage point. Then you can walk the path up the left side, on top of the very cliffs you were looking at, and now you can look back at the right-side cliff and out to the ocean and distant horizon.
We were lucky that the weather cleared up for us enough to see everything we wanted (although it’s windy at the cliffs), and it only started raining again once we began driving back.
And that is what we’re doing now as I write this, driving back to Dublin. It’s almost 9pm and we’re about an hour out of the city. Sunset isn’t until 10pm so we should make it just in time. I figured I’d get a head start on this blog, since we need to sleep earlyish tonight. I’ve still got to transfer all the photos and video from today, and process the best ones, so maybe another hour once we get to the hotel, but at least I won’t need to write this.
We have to wake up relatively early tomorrow for our… special adventure. Let’s just say…
Winter is coming.