A Quick Trip Up to Galway

The weather in Ireland has been unusually warm and sunny. We’ve been lucky so far, but knowing that the colder temperatures and rain clouds are a-comin’, we’ve been packing a lot of our sightseeing into the first couple weeks of our stay here. That’s why we decided to make a quick trip up to the western coast of Ireland and booked a hotel for a night in Galway. It’s an area famous for the Cliffs of Moher and the views of the Sky Road.

Our two-day trip started off a bit bumpy. We left before daybreak in a drizzling rain and curved our way along the narrow rural roads of West Cork. About two hours into our progress, a large semi came down the road at us so Brian moved over as far as he could without hitting the hedgerow. We made it passed the truck, but then a huge crack shattered our eardrums and the passenger side mirror exploded into smithereens. A car traveling behind the semi evidently didn’t see us coming and was too far onto our side of the road. A bit shaken by how much worse this situation could have been, we turned around and went back to the point of impact. We waited for the other driver and picked up the remains of both cars’ side mirrors off the road. Probably realizing he was at fault, the other driver never returned. Not the end of the world and our insurance will cover all damages, but we’ve been a little skittish with oncoming traffic on narrow roads ever since.

After dealing with our minor (thankfully) accident, we continued on and eventually arrived in the quaint town of Galway in time for lunch. After eating some good Thai food we headed west to Connemara National Park. We drove alongside flocks of sheep, saw the Kylemore Abby near the town of Letterfrack (love that name), hiked in the Connemara, and drove the Sky Road above the Atlantic.
Flocks of sheep on Lake Connemara
Kylemore Abbey
A walk in Connemara National Park
Connemara Park Ireland
Connemara Lake

On the drive back to Galway we changed our route and went through the Moycullen Bogs, which showed a very different side of Ireland. Vast stretches of blanket bogs were speckled with rocks and boulders creating a stark landscape. Developing slowly over thousands of years, Ireland’s bogs resulted from a combination of tree clearing for farming and heavy rainfall. I found the science and archaeology of the bogs fascinating – although I think I was the only one in the family with that opinion. :-)
Moycullen Bogs in Ireland
Bogs on the Sky Road

We soon reached the coastline and got some great views of the sunset. Then we stopped in at a seaside restaurant for dinner and a little time on the beach.
Em ily overlooking the Atlantic

The next day we left the hotel and went straight to the Cliffs of Moher, located on the Atlantic about an hour and a half from Galway. The gently sloping countryside leading up to the cliffs is quite deceiving. Driving in you would never imagine what lies on the other side of those seemingly flat pastures.
Flat pastures leading to the Cliffs of MoherCliffs of Moher
Brian and Emily at the Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

Of course, as is usually the case, the girls were most infatuated with a little puppy they found there. The beauty of the cliffs was just a bonus. They were really there to see the dog.
Infatuated with the puppy at Cliffs of Moher
It was a quick, but very worthwhile trip up the coast. Despite losing a side mirror in the process we were very glad we saw a different part of Ireland.
View from Sky Road
Tracey and Ali
Carisch Family at the Cliffs of Moher

About the Author

Tracey Carisch

Mom, wife, friend and change agent traveling the world with my family to learn our place in it. After spending a career in organizational change management and community initiative implementation, I put my career on hold for our family's trip around the world. In April of 2014 we sold almost everything we own, put the rest in a storage container, and departed on this journey. While my husband continued his software development work to financially support our trip, I planned and documented our adventure, homeschooled our three daughters, and found volunteer work opportunities for us to do in the communities we visit. Now that we've returned to the U.S., I'm completing book about our family's adventure and our lessons learned.

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    1. There is a visitor center, and within a 5 minute walk on either side of this center, there are rock wall fences between you and the edge. But the cliffs go on for over 8 km. Once you are 5 minutes away from the center on either side, you can go wherever you like. The touristy photo to take, is with your feet hanging over the edge. We didn’t do that on this trip, but in most of these pictures we are only feet from the edge.

  1. Ireland is probably my favorite country out of all the countries i have been too. It just has a charm that you can’t describe unless you have been there. Jen Black and I also had a minor accident due to driving on those narrow roads… we totally scraped the side of a rock bridge because we were trying to get out of the way of a car coming our way. We started driving through the National Park just north of the Cliffs. It was beautiful. The sun started to set though and we had to turn around. I was disappointed because I could tell I was missing out on seeing some beautiful country. I love reading all of your experiences. It makes me feel a little more alive:)

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