From Cliffs to Burren

Like almost all places we visit that are super touristy, we got there early. There were only a dozen or so cars in the parking lot and a handful of tourist buses. Even so, we simply followed the stream of people heading into the 30mph wind and towards the Cliffs of Moher.

I’ve been told that a decade or so ago parts of these cliffs could only be seen from your hands and knees while you crawled along the edge. I don’t know if that is true, but I know I would not have been there had that been the case today.

When we bought our tickets at the gate, the attendant told us to turn right, or north for the better views. Of course, that’s what everyone had been told and it was pretty crowded. At the far end there is a gravel path but the sign saying “closed” caused us to turn around.

Instead we walked south, along a good gravel path, with some curious cows watching our progress. We probably walked, going both as far north as we did and then further south 2 or 3 miles, and we could have walked further, but we had more to see on this windy day.

We had approached the Cliff of Moher from the town of Doolin and missed the traffic and stream of tour buses. As we left the Cliffs and headed to Ennistymon we met bus load after bus load of latecomers who were about to join the ant hill march around the Cliffs. Get to the major tourist sights early!

A quick lunch in Ennistymon and we were off to our second destination for the day, the Burren Centre in Kilfenora. We asked for advice on a 3-4 mile walk in the area and we’re directed to Carran where we could park our car at a local pub, Cassidy’s, and walk a loop that is part of the Burren Way. In contrast to the Cliffs Of Moher, we had the walk to ourselves except for a couple of older women out for a stroll.

The ice age and receding glaciers did a number on Ireland, In the Burren it appears the glaciers simply rubbed the top soil away and exposed whole, round mountains down to the bare limestone. Erosion and water did the rest of the work to create an other-worldly landscape. I read where an enormous percentage of the native plants to Ireland survive in the cracks and crevices of the Burren.

There is also what is reported to be the remains of an ancient circle, in the style of Avesbury or Stonehenge, but smaller.

After the walk we enjoyed a half pint in the pub.

A day in contrasts, but the constant was the wind.