Ireland – Day Five – To Doolin and Back

Today we decided to change our plans a little bit because of the weather and travel to the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin and the Burren. It was really nice when we woke up this morning – it must have been around 45 degrees or so and sunny.  There really wasn’t any wind to speak of, and the weatherman on the Ireland Today show said it should be nice all day.

As we were packing and getting ready to leave, Bobbie came downstairs and quietly told us to look out the back windows.  She was really excited to see a rabbit hopping around in the back yard. It was the biggest rabbit I think I have ever seen. Phil thought it might have bee a small dog or cat, but no, it was a rabbit.

We took this to be a good omen, and we wanted to see the cliffs on a nice day, so off we went.

We had a quick breakfast at the Adare Heritage Center (again) and then loaded the car for the day.  There was some debate about coats and hats, but we decided to pack them just in case it was cold later in the afternoon. We gave Alice, our British GPS assistant, the necessary instructions and she promptly asked us to proceed to the nearest roundabout and enter the highlighted route. We were off!

From Adare to the cliffs is about an 80 minute drive, and we were going to go through Limerick on the way. We talked about Frank McCourt and the books he produced and even thought of visiting his childhood home, but we pushed on.

As we were leaving Limerick, I noticed that the sun had ducked behind some clouds and the wind was a little stronger. I thought the weather would improve as we headed for the hilly country roads that lead to the cliffs.  The sights were once again interesting, and I think we only scraped the car door once along the ivy covered walls.

It was an easy drive.

Phil was following our progress on his trusty lap map, and every time Alice shouted out a direction change, he would either agree or disagree with her and say “proceed.” We did.

By the time we pulled into the little coastal town before the cliffs, the clouds had completely covered the sky and the surrounding hills; there was mist and drizzle on the windshield and we could hear the wind buffeting the car. Oh well.

We pulled into the parking lot for the cliffs and as we got out of the car we started to laugh.  The woman in the ticket booth told us to take advantage of the weather and do the walking tour before it got too bad. At that time, it was about 35 degrees, the wind was steadily blowing at about 35 mph, and it was really moist (that’s code for it was drizzling and rainy).

We were all glad to have our jackets, hats, and gloves, so we bundled up and trudged off toward the cliffs.  We were like four little kids. The wind was blowing so hard that at times we had to lean into it to make forward progress. We trudged along the path, climbed and abandoned watch tower, and took lots of photos of the scenery and each other. It was fun.

In all, we spent about 90 minutes outside on the walking paths and the then made our way to the indoor exhibit. It was interesting and there were many pictures of the cliffs over the years, but for some strange reason, we kept looking out the window at the wind and the surf.

We bundled up again and went out for round two.

After leaving the cliffs, we decided to make the short drive to Doolin and see if we could get some lunch (what a surprise). It was about 2:30 in the afternoon when we pulled up to Gus O’Connor’s pub. Teri and I had been there before and we wanted to share this part of Doolin with our friends. The fireplace, booths, tables and music all brought back a host of happy memories.

After lunch, we took a short walk around town. We wanted to find the houses we had stayed in nine years ago, the dock for the M.V. Happy Hooker, and the infamous pottery store. We were mostly successful but soon we had to leave and we headed out to find the Burren.  We wanted to show Phil and Bobbie the amazing landscape in this part of County Clare.

We made one small loop through the countryside trying to find it, and then with Bobbie, Phil and Alice’s help we found the entrance to the Burren. Even in this weather, the landscape was spectacular. Limestone deposits for as far as the eye could see, and in some places, there were ancient ruins and relics to view.

At times the car seemed to have a mind of its own as we wound our way through the hills and valleys.  We didn’t hit anything, but that wasn’t because we didn’t try. I think at one point, Teri shut her eyes and Phil said, “Think Skinny!”

Once we made it back to the highway, the trip home to Adare seemed like a simple drive. We pulled into the yard at around 6:30 and quickly changed for our dinner reservation at the Carriage House Restaurant, on the grounds of the manor. To be honest with you, we were not very hungry. But we had paid for dinner already, so we soldiered on. It’s what we do.

I hope you enjoy the pictures from today.  Tomorrow is our last touring day … I can only imagine what adventures we might have.

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