Monday, June 24, 2013

Cliffs of Moher

We left the hostel at 6:30 in the morning to meet up with our tour to the Cliffs of Moher. We were placed on a bus with students learning English and caught in the middle of a plethora on languages. Within 5 minutes of driving, the girl in front of Cassie on the bus (we’ll call her Idiot) started looking for a non-existent toilet. Upon returning to her seat, she immediately vomited, making a mess and spattering the girls in front of her. The bus didn’t stop; she just wiped up the floor a bit and was given a plastic bag, which she continued to heave into occasionally. She never apologized, but just kept saying, “I feel so much better.” Lovely.

We arrived in Galway and discovered there isn’t a whole lot to do. We walked down the main street out to the Spanish Arch by the river where students meet up and drink at night and basically saw the town on the way. Galway is a little college town so now that the semester is over, there’s not too much happening.

Spanish Arch
Our next stop was a farm in the Burren. Even though this wasn’t the main destination, I think it was the highlight of the day. As we stepped off the bus, everyone was greeted by one of the friendly farmers with an enthusiastic “Hey” or “How’s it going?” Farmer John showed us all around the farm, I got pictures of happy cows and even got to feed an adorable little goat! And see a fairy tree! Supposedly, fairies live underneath it and if you tie something to the branches, you can leave your woes behind! I tied Cassie’s hair tie to a little branch in the middle and hoped for the best.

It's a flying goat!
We climbed up the hill and looked around. Everywhere we could see was farmland. There were all these randomly placed walls covering the mountain. During the potato famine, England needed to help, but didn’t want to give money or food for free. On the other hand, they didn’t want to pay Irish men to build roads and infrastructure that might develop the country. Instead, men were given soup in building pointless walls and roads to nowhere. Once we learned this, I began to see the walls everywhere! Not only on the farm, but as we were driving around as well.

Fairy Tree 
People tie things to the branches to leave their troubles behind.
I decided to add to the tree as well :) 
Can you spot the stone walls on the mountain side?
After climbing back down, we were offered fresh, homemade cakes and pies from Granny’s Kitchen and watched the farmers demonstrate hurling, a traditional Gaelic sport popular in the area.
The Cliffs of Moher (our final stop) was amazing! The views were breathtaking and it was actually hot out! The cliffs were breathtaking and the water below was a brilliant blue, sparkling in the sun. 
Cliffs of Moher
I got a little over-excited about all the cows. Cassie, who grew up on a farm, didn't understand.
While traveling, it’s easy to lose track of the days. Everything blends together in this one, magical adventure around Europe. Once again, we majorly miscounted and ended up spending an extra night in Dublin instead of going on to Galway.

After a long day of excursions, we returned to Jacob’s Inn exhausted and ready for a hot shower and sleep. When we swiped our keys to get to our room, it kept blinking red. Finally we asked reception for help and learned that we were supposed to have checked out that morning. Upon consulting my bookings list, I saw she was entirely correct. We had to choose between paying for a bus (all the buses had stopped running to Galway for the night) only to arrive late at our hostel and have to leave the next morning, or getting an extra night in Dublin (which would actually save money, at this point).

We opted to extend our stay and relax around Dublin for our last morning, going back to the Queen of Tarts for Sunday brunch and stopping by the Molly Malone statue before continuing on to Belfast.

I was freaking out walking here...I'm a little afraid of heights.

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