As mentioned in my previous post, the South-West coast of Ireland is truly the place to visit once you’ve planned your blind date with Ireland. But let us not forget about the beauties that can be found a bit more North.
Every time my parents visit us in Cork we want to show them something new. Where we took a trip over the road of Kerry a few months ago (update coming soon!), we decided to take the trip a bit more up North this time. We travelled over the Wild Atlantic way towards the famous and majestic Cliffs of Moher on the edge of national park the Burrens.
We drove another part of the Wild Atlantic Way. The most beautiful route you’ll find in Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way is one of the many treasures of Ireland. This 2.500 km of coastline road surely makes herself a must-see destination. You can explore the route, which is an amazing sight by itself, and discover the soaring cliffs and picturesque towns and cities. You’ll find many hidden beaches and epic bays and will surely experience all the different kinds of beauty that Ireland has to offer.
The trip from Cork (or Dublin for that fact) to the North-West coast takes you a few hours. We decided to cut the trip in pieces, and travelled according to a pre-designed planning. We were going to have a coffee-break in Limerick, visit the cliffs of Moher, have ourselves a lunch break in Doolin, further our trip towards the Burrens, head up North to visit Galway and later on head back south to Cork. Genius planning isn’t it? You’d almost think I nicked it from the internet.
Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn and almost missed out on the beautiful coast-line of the Burrens, which ‘forced’ us to drive back. This left us without time to visit Galway, gone opportunity, but gives us a good excuse to have ourselves another road trip someday soon.
Well, Limerick is a city located in the Mid-West region of Ireland and part of the province of Munster. Located on the river Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King’s Island. It’s got the look and feel of an industrial city, what makes it beautiful in it’s own fashion. The old houses of the working-class and the big amount of chimneys covering the rooftops surely have their charm. King John’s castle and St. Mary’s cathedral are worth a stop, if you are willing to pay an entrance price of course. From my point of view, Limerick was nice to spend an hour or so for a coffee break and a walk through the city. I can’t say I’d ever feel attracted to a trip back nor to spend more time here.
2. Cliffs of Moher
From Limerick, we continued our journey to the cliffs of Moher. The drive itself was a bit boring. You’re driving mid-country so all you’ll see are gas stations and other cars. The closer you get to point of destination, the better the views are getting. While nearing the cliffs, you have two options; the coastal walk (small handmade sign) or the official ‘entrance’.
I’d highly recommend to take the ‘coastal walk’ to see the cliffs. This way, you only have to pay a 2 euro’s fee to park your car and you’ll walk upwards to the cliffs within 15 to 20 minutes. If you prefer the touristic experience, keep in mind that you’ll be joining busses of tourist for an entrance fee of 6 euro’s each, excluding parking.
It doesn’t matter from which entrance you see the cliffs, they are majestic without a doubt. Exactly as you see them on Google Images. If you have the opportunity (and money) to take a boat tour you sure should. The boat will take you to see the cliffs from the sea, the most impressive viewing point.
My advise? Take another trip to see the cliffs on Mizen’s Head, the Peninsula Bearra or Donegal. Yes, the cliffs of Moher are an amazing sight and yes I really wanted to see them. But they do look exactly the way you see them on Google images and you can only view them by following the created tourist-paths, surrounded by electric fence to make sure you won’t come too close to any edge. A bit too touristic for my taste.
The picturesque town of Doolin is praised on many websites having to do anything with the Burrens and the cliffs. We had ourselves a lunch break there but I most honestly say that there wasn’t that much to see nor to do. It’s a nice town as many others with pretty colorful houses. It’s got herself some pubs and some stores, but mostly functions as the starting point for many ferry’s to the Aran Islands and walks towards the cliffs. After a coffee and sandwich we continued our way to the Burrens.
Compared to the cliffs of Moher, the Burrens are free. Another big plus for me was the fact that they’re not as touristic as the cliffs. You can find this 350 sq kilometres of ‘bhoireann’ (a stony place) all over the Wild Atlantic Way and in the West part of county Clare. It’s a lunar-like landscape of bedrock incorporating a vast cracked pavement (yes, Wikipedia toughed me that) of limestone with cliffs, caves, fossils and multiple rock formations. It offers many hiking trails and breathtaking views. Of course there are many more things to see and do in the natural park of the Burrens. You can visit the Aillwee cave and the Birds of Prey Center, take a ferry to the Aran Islands or find some local amusement in one of the many towns. But don’t forget, everything comes with a price..
Keep in mind that the L-roads are pretty brutal which invites you to take a free shuttle from Corofin or Doolin to take you to the trails. Tip: Spend some time on the seaside when the sun’s about to set. It’ll give you the most serene and peaceful views you can get on the Burrens.