Cliffs of Moher...and delightful Doolin, Ireland...Music night at O'Connor's pub
CLIFFS OF MOHER, Ireland - The weather continues to hold for the luckiest travel editor around. I’ve had a couple bad days when I’ve travelled but I usually come up on the right side of things, and this trip is no exception. I haven’t had a drop of rain and hardly a cloud in the sky since I got here Friday, and it’s been stunning.
I didn’t care that much about the weather in Dublin, but I had prayed for good visibility if not warm temperatures for my visit Monday to the Cliffs of Moher in western Ireland. It’s one of the iconic places I’ve always wanted to visit. And it was just stunning. The cliffs, all jagged brown and green shards of rock, cascade some 250 metres straight down from the barren plains above to the surging green-blue Atlantic.
There are some nice walking paths, well protected from the edge of the cliffs, and a very good visitor centre. Of course, nearby you can find not only the Cliffs of Moher but a shop called, wait for it, The Gifts of Moher. Sigh.
Anyway, it’s jaw-dropping scenery. There’s a tower called the O’Brien Tower that you can climb for a couple of Euros and get a better view. Best advice is come early for views to the west, with the sun behind you, or go late if you want to shoot off to the east, also the sun’s rays not wiping out your photos.
The actual paths don’t run all that far; it’s about 10 minutes – max – to walk to the tower at one end and maybe three minutes to the west before you’re confronted with signs warning it’s private property. Maybe they don’t mean it but I didn’t see many folks that way so we took a pass.
I hadn’t read much about it but I spotted somewhere during the day that you can get a boat from nearby Doolin, where I was staying at the Sea View House/ Bed and Breakfast (along with a woman guest with the most teased-out blonde hair you ever saw and a New York Yankees jersey). It was an amazing, beautiful boat ride; one hour for about $20. A helluva deal. The cliffs are beautiful from above but to really sense the power and the sheer size, it’s best to head out on the water.
They say the Cliffs are lovely at sunset, but I was busy having a few pints at Gus O’Connor’s pub in “downtown” Doolin- a stretch of eight to ten shops on a gently flowing hill surrounded by grazing cows and horses. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to Hobitton; all tidy and green. Didn’t see anything called The Prancing Pony, but the Harp was cold and the music was outstanding; a guy on the fiddle and another who alternated with a flute, piccolo and other wind instruments and a bodhran, or Irish drum. Very nice. Some singalong action would've been nice but nobody volunteered to sign when the two older guys playing issued an invitation.
I’ve already memorized most of “The Wild Rover” and have heard more versions of “A Nation Once Again,” than I thought was possible. Hate to say it, but my first – and until now, only – exposure to the song is when the guy who plays Paul McCartney’s grandfather in A Hard Day’s Night (Wilfrid Brambell; a brilliant acting job I’ve always thought) sings it out loud to some British police officers who had rounded him up for disturbing the peace.
QUEEN LIZ COMING TO EIRE?
Appropro of nothing, a tour guide told us in Dublin that no head of the British monarchy has ever visited the Republic of Ireland. There’s talk Queen Elizabeth will come in 2011. Seems only fair.
Off today to Galway, which I'm told has come a long way. Then further north to Donegal and on into Northern Ireland before coming home....