An Island, a Cliff, and a Poem

May 3, 2009 - 11:00 pm No Comments

Pretty cruisy morning. Decided to be crazy and had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon instead of the traditional Irish fare for breakfast, then made our way down the road to the pier near Doolin. The air is crisp and fresh, but the smell of rusty bacon is replaced with salty spray and the smell of decomposing seaweed.

No Driving Off the Cliff Allowed

I had pre-booked tickets for the Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher day trip, so they were waiting for us when we got down there. The ferry out to Inisheer (ih-nih-SHEER), the smallest of the three Aran Islands, was a little bumpy but pretty quick. Once ashore, we rented bicycles and spent the morning riding tiny paved roads up and down hills and through pastures sectioned off with rock walls, stopping to climb around a shipwreck, take photos of a lighthouse, or talk to horses. It’s been years since I’ve ridden a bike, and Stef quickly proved how much better shape she’s in than me. By the end of the day, it felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to my perineum.

Graves at Teampall Chaomháin

Graves at Teampall Chaomháin

Inisheer Horse

Plassey Wreck

Stef & Jeff

Inisheer Lighthouse

Ireland is a beautiful country, but it’s difficult to photograph. The beauty surrounds you, and it’s hard to capture all of it in a single shot. Panoramic shots seem to do a better job of capturing the beauty than any single shots can.

360° of Inisheer

O'Brien's Castle

O'Brien's Castle

After hopping back onto the ferry, we headed back to Doolin to drop off some passengers and pick up some new ones before heading out to the Cliffs of Moher. I’m not sure if it’s because we were heading into the wind or what, but these waves were massive. Our boat was thrown around quite violently. That, and the diesel smoke wafting up from the engine on the back of the boat, turned me and Stef the finest shade of Irish green. The bouncy boat, salty spray, and my nausea made it hard to take any photos at all, and Stef could barely lift her head.

Back at the pier, Stef and I collapsed in our parked car and passed out. About 45 minutes later, we came to, feeling a bit better and ready to continue our adventure.

Walking around Doolin for souvenirs and postcards, I noticed that a photographer named John Hinde seems to have monopolized the fine photography postcard/calendar market in Ireland the way Peter Lik has in Australia.

Fisher Street

Old Bike

Gus O'Connor's Pub

Guinness on Tap

We decided to stop for a quick lunch at at O’Connor’s. On the walls above the bar, people have pinned hundreds of dollar bills, each with names and dates and places written on them. Stef and I decided to leave one of our own, with a limerick written on it that went something like this:

There once was a girl named Stef
Who traveled with a boy named Jeff.
Came to this pub
To grab some grub,
And in spirit, they’ve never left.

Our Limerick

After Doolin, we headed over to the Cliffs of Moher, this time by land. Driving on the tiny road up the hill and out of Doolin, I stopped to take a few more pictures of Doonagore Castle. I pulled over onto the side of the road and hopped out to take a few shots. Leaning over the fence, I was setting my camera up when I felt my left knee seize. I recoiled, for a moment losing all concept of space and time. When I regained my senses, I realized that I had just touched an electric fence. Stef, who heard my screams and saw my confused expression through the car’s rear view mirror, laughed at me for about 20 minutes.

The Cliffs of Moher are quite spectacular. Steps take you up to a viewpoint, where the walkway was sunken into the ground and it was impossible to get close to the edge for a good view.

Cliffs of Moher

Angry Irish Sunset

Moher Cows

We followed everyone else and hopped over a wall to walk along the edge of the cliffs at their highest point. There is nothing between your feet and the sheer drop hundreds of feet down to the crashing ocean below. It is NOT for the squeamish. Even I got the willies a few times while trying to take photos close to the edge.

Cliffs of Moher

Crashing Waves

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

We were going to brave the chilly winds and wait until sunset, but it was clouding over and I was pretty sure sunset was going to be a bust, so we left.

We hopped back it the car and headed to Galway (GAWL-way), our last stop for the night. Again, the drive was narrow, bendy, and easy. Hardly any traffic at all.

Finally rolled into the 4 Seasons B&B at about 10pm. Stef and I were both so tired that we just turned on the TV and relaxed. Stef fell asleep instantly, but I stayed up a bit to work catch up on my blogging. We’ve been so busy on this trip that staying up to date has been nearly impossible…

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