Ireland is a country famed for its luscious green landscapes and vast rural panoramas. One of the most exceptional places to visit during your stay in the Emerald Isle are the Cliffs of Moher, located in the Burren region of County Clare. Probably the most practical way to reach the Cliffs (and the way which I took myself) is to do a day trip from Dublin. To be fair, it is quite a long journey, but there are enough interesting spots along the way that you get a proper feel for rural Ireland and its many gems! This is the trip that we took on our journeys in the Republic of Ireland, and is one which I would definitely recommend you follow.
The most obvious piece of advice I would give for this trip is to leave early, because it will be a long day! It should take about 4 hours in total to reach the cliffs so it is definitely worth the early start. Heading from the East to West coasts, we got to see rural Irish landscapes as far as the eye could see. Reading stories along the way, the drive was really entertaining. We heard stories of undisturbed Leprechaun sites, as well as the history of rural Ireland. I am from Ireland, and even I learned a few things about Irish history and heritage.
The first picturesque stop we took was in the small village of Kinvara. This ancient fishing town (seen above) takes just over 2 hours to reach, and is the epitome of rural Irish life; the small port, medieval castle and quaint little cafés are perfect for meeting people from all walks of life. As we say in Ireland, it was mighty craic (it was good fun)! Walking around the scenic village was a relaxing way to start the morning, and it was actually a shame to have to head on to Moher. Make sure to head over to Dunguaire Castle, an old medieval keep which has some lovely views over both the village and some beautiful Irish countryside.
Driving on towards the West coast, we took a stunning coastal drive along the Wild Atlantic Way. The views along these roads were spectacular, and led us to our next stop. The Burren region of Ireland’s West coast is one of the most beautiful spots in the entire country, partly due to its Limestone rock, which stretches far down the coastline; I have to say, I did not expect to enjoy this part of our trip as much as I did, but it absolutely blew me away – and it had nothing to do with the brisk Atlantic breeze! It literally wakes you up and serves as a taster for the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher. The ‘mini cliffs’ are hard to miss, as early afternoon there is going to be a horde of tourists soaking up all the views on offer.
In fact, now is a perfect time to take a break from the sightseeing and enjoy some lunch and a pint of Guinness (you are in Ireland, after all!) Following the coast and into the hills, you may reach the Doolin region, a popular spot for visitors to take a break and enjoy some of the Irish hospitality and shopping. There is some lovely restaurants to taste some traditional Irish cuisine, and there are a number of small gift shops to find some souvenirs of your travels. Furthermore, sitting outside on a sunny day with your lunch, you’ll get some amazing views of the Aran Islands, a group of Ireland just off the West coast. This is Ireland at its best!
Once you’ve had your lunch and a nice pint, it’s time for the main exhibit. The Cliffs of Moher are just a short drive away from the Doolin area. At just 6 euro, the entry fee is completely affordable and the visitor experience is breathtaking. The Cliffs themselves are a natural wonder of the world, and attract millions of visitors every year; it is really difficult to describe the experience of witnessing them first-hand, but it is honestly an unforgettable one, and one which stays with you forever. Take a stroll along the paths marked out and try to take in the majesty of the Cliffs. We spent a few hours wandering around the grounds, finishing up in the Visitors’ Centre. As I have said, it is awesome and definitely should not be missed, as there are a number of interactive exhibitions and things to discover. The Centre itself is built into the side of the mountain – it is great!
Sadly, it is now time to head back to Dublin, but don’t worry there is much more to see on your journey home. Our own journey stopped at the small town of Bunratty, a lovely little Irish village which was famous for its medieval banquets. If you have time, stop off at “Durty Nelly’s” for a pint of Guinness and enjoy the ‘craic’ of another traditional Irish pub.
We were exhausted after this last stop, so decided it was probably time to head back. We got back to Dublin for a quick rest, then out to discover the best inside the city – but that’s another post…