March 31, 2019
To get to the places we were going today, we were reliant on public transportation, and there was absolutely no room for error. If we missed a bus or a train we were going to have major problems.
We had to catch the 8:30 train to Limerick, so it was a bit of an early morning. Once we were in Limerick we had about ten minutes to find our bus to our first stop, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
Once we arrived at Bunratty we had two hours until the next bus to enjoy the castle and folk park. I visited Bunratty the last time I was in Ireland, and I had really enjoyed it. It was much less crowded this time around, which was fantastic. We started with the castle, which was built in 1425, however the first fortress to be built on that spot was built in 1251. We took our time exploring the castle from the dungeon (really it’s just a very narrow set of stairs down a pit) all the way to the views from the top off the towers.
There was a lot of walking up and down narrow spiral staircases, but it’s absolutely worth it. The rooms in the castle are well restored and the view from the top as stunning. We were lucky to have a sunny day. I really enjoyed the fact that I could actually walk around and look at things and not feel rushed by the crowds of people like last time.
After the castle we were running a little short on time, so we had to rush a bit through the folk park, but we still got to see most of it. Since it’s still pretty early in the year the actors that are in some of the buildings weren’t there. We still got to go in most of the buildings, ant they all have plaques outside telling to about them. Most are farmer’s cottages, but there’s also a blacksmith’s shop, a school house, and a street full of shops. There’s also a church that was moved stone by stone from where it used to stand at what’s now the Shannon airport.
We made it back to the bus stop with time to spare. And got back on route 343 to the town of Ennis where we had 20 minutes to change over to the 350 route and off we went to the Cliffs of Moher. Also, I should point out that it wasn’t exactly a quick journey, it took around two and a half hours to get from Bunratty to the Cliffs. It was about 3:30 by the time we had got our tickets, and our first priority was food. Since we hadn’t packed a lunch we went to the cafe and got a quick lunch before doing anything else.
We bundled up and went outside to enjoy the views of the Cliffs of Moher for the next two hours. It was chilly (40°f) but it was sunny instead of rain and the wind wasn’t too bad. We started be walking up the hill to the left of the visitor’s center to O’Brien Tower, which was being renovated. The views of the Cliffs in the late afternoon sun from that point were stunning! We then walked along the path to the end where there’s a couple of signs that say “extreme danger” and “you are now leaving visitor’s center property” and on we went past the signs.
The trail from there is an uneven dirt path. There a wall made of slabs of slate, but there’s gaps where you can get through if you like. We did hop over to the other side since it felt safer even though there was nothing between us and the edge of the cliff since it was a smoother surface to walk on and there wasn’t an electric fence right next to us.
Last time I was at the Cliffs it was peak tourist season and it was so unbelievably crowded. Since it’s not quite tourist season it wasn’t nearly as crowded. Yes, there were still quite a few people, but it wasn’t a sea if people like it was last time. I feel like this time I really got to enjoy the Cliffs of Moher.
At 6:20 we got the bus back to Galway. The bus route we were on goes along the west coast of Ireland through part of the Burren. It took about two hours to get back to Galway. We got dinner at a place called The Pie Maker, and it was amazing! I had a local milk stout and the Irish sausage, black pudding and leek pie and it was phenomenal!
We went back to our hostel pretty early to get all of our stuff packed up because it was another early morning the next day.
Until next time, safe travels everyone!