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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.