Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2013 Ireland - Day Two - Cliffs of Moher

The day we arrived, we booked a tour to the Cliffs of Moher through Extreme Ireland / Ireland Day Tours based on a brochure at our hostel.  The Cliffs of Moher was on my Bucket List, so the 45 Euros and full-day adventure was definitely worth it.  Though our Italian professor and tour guide, Giuditta, did laugh at us for visiting Dublin to then cross the country to the Cliffs of Moher.

We met our tour around the Temple Bar area.  It was about a ten to fifteen minute walk from our Hostel.  One of the incredible things that I learned when in Europe is that you can use the GPS on your iPhone.... without using data!  Just load the maps before you depart, turn your data off, and the little blue dot will keep up with you through GPS (this will be included in my advice for studying abroad which has yet to be written).

We were on a large charter-like bus.  We were told that the seats we chose were our seats for the entire journey (which is good etiquette anyway, according to my mother, Miss Manners).  Whenever the bus driver wasn't talking to us, about 90% of the bus conked out, myself included.  I just couldn't keep my eyes open!  It was weird, though, because the driver never turned his mic off, so you would hear him breathing into it when he wasn't talking.

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Our first stop was at Blarney Woollen Mills for the bathroom and shopping.  I did a little exploring while the other girls browsed the gift shops.



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It was then an hour or more until we reached the Cliffs of Moher.  Our guide warned us not to get too close to the edge because the wind is strong and could pull us in.  I don't doubt it.

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At first, I was completely disappointed because we were let out in an area surrounded by handrails and tourist paths.  All this time I had been envisioning something more natural, tangible, and amazing.  It turns out we just had to walk a little further...

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We spent an hour and a half at the Cliffs which sounds like a long time, but I could have spent a lot longer there.  I would be interested to return in the future and stay in the countryside.


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We stopped about ten minutes down the road for lunch.  It was cafeteria-style, and I remember eating the Shepard's Pie.  It was somewhere around 20 Euros per person which is quite typical for a meal in Europe.

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After lunch, I did some more wandering while the other girls got ahead on the bus.  They had spent an entire semester with me, so they were quite used to me wandering off unannounced.


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We then stopped at a few scenic locations for photos and exploring.

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That evening, we did a bar crawl through our hostel. I think it was 7 Euros per person which included a pint of Guinness and several other shots and drinks. The tour was led by a young Irishman who was of course really friendly and outgoing. We went to four or five different bars and before entering, he'd tell us a little about the history and what they were known for. One bar had a table set up for flip cup, and being Americans (drinking is serious business for the Irish... they don't play these silly drinking games), we had to teach everyone else how to play. The last bar was a club-like atmosphere, and it was so crowded that we didn't spend much time in there. But we had a good time, and if you ever stay at a hostel which offers a bar crawl like this, I would highly recommend going. Not only is it very reasonably priced, but they know where to go.