Monday, March 10, 2014

Cliffs of Moher Tour, Ireland

On Friday, I had a 12-hour bus tour to see the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. 

We left Dublin at about 7:30 on the roughly 600 km (373 mile) tour to the other side of the island.

After three hours we had a short stop in Limerick to see King John's Castle. The 13th century castle sits on the river Shannon as is one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe. 

After another 1.5 hours we finally made it to the cliffs which are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland.  The cliffs are gorgeous and it was so nice to see the Atlantic Ocean.

The cliffs rise from 120 meters (390 feet) to a maximum height of 214 meters (702 feet).

The cliffs are mostly shale and sandstone.  The river channels that cut through the base of the cliffs show 300 million years of history.

O'Brien's Tower was built as an observation tower in 1835.  The tower sits at almost the midpoint of the cliffs, near the highest point, only 8 km (5 miles) away.

 The Aran Islands are part of the Gaeltacht where Irish is predominantly spoken.

After lunch in a small village we continued on to vist the Burren.  This is one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe.  The Burren is home to many goats and donkeys.

Corcomroe Abbey dates back to the 11th century.  The ruins stand on an old pagan site.

Our final stop was in Kinvara, a small village on the water where local fishermen were bringing in the day's haul of mussels.  Kinvara is home to Dunguaire Castle which was built in the early 16th century.

It was a long day but the tour was very well organized and the driver, Bud, was great.  Highly recommended!

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