Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tour Bus Tuesday

This morning we boarded a special bus to give us a day tour of an area called the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. These were some of the best sights I've seen of Ireland countryside yet, but at what cost? Incredible motion sickness all day! IT SUCKED. But nonetheless, I made it through the day and captured some incredibly beautiful landscape.

#11: Oceanside at the Burren

First of all, thanks to Chris (our crazy tour guide) for taking this photo of us. I will cherish the expression on my face forever. (It pretty much captures how I felt on the entire ride to and from the Cliffs.) Our first stop was about 10 minutes into the Burren at a small cliffside where rockclimbing and surfing are popular past-times.

#12: Dulin

We made a lunch stop in Dulin, a small village just outside of the Cliffs of Moher. It felt very much like a ghost town, with only a few shops open but all other stores and buildings vacant. We were told it is a popular summer vacation spot which is booming with visitors come May. We ate lunch at Fitzpatrick's Bar, where I had a vegetable soup.....which makes a later appearance in my story.

#13: Cliffs of Moher

How can I even begin to describe the wonder of this place? Quite simply, photos do not do it justice. To give you a little history:

"The Cliffs are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. O'Brien's Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic Cliffs. From the Cliffs one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South." (I stole that from their website: http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/TheCliffs.aspx)

Proof that we were actually here:

When you climb to the top of the cliffs you are met with an awe inspiring view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cliffs towering high above the splashing waters. It's terribly cold and windy at the top as you can imagine (and here's a photo to help you imagine just that)

but you kind of forget all that when you take a look around you and realize what you can see. It's amaaaaaaazing.

#14: The Burren

Actually, our entire drive out to Cliffs of Moher was in an area called "The Burren" which is an expanse of rolling hills, rock fences, grazing animals and small villages. These are a few photos taken both entering the area and returning from the Cliffs back to Galway.

#15: Poulnabrone, Ancient Burial Ground

This burial ground marked by a large rock formation contains the remains of "between 16 and 22 adults and 6 juveniles, including a newborn baby". Further scientific invesigation of radiocarbon dating suggests that the burials took place 3800 and 3200 BC. "The neolithic community would have been much larger than this and there are easier ways to bury the dead, so Poulnabrone is generally considered to contain the remains of special dead and to have been a center for ceremony and symbolism." (http://www.burrenpage.com/Poulnabrone.html) We walked off the bus to capture some photos. I was also distracted by a herd of cows directly behind the property and felt compelled to give them a moment in the spotlight as well. And then I thought I was about to puke due to my motion sickness, but had no such luck, realizing it was bound to happen in the near future.......

#16: Dunguaire Castle

In an area of the Burren called Kinvara, sits this infamous Irish castle. It was built in the 1500s and as you can see, much of it still remains, unlike alot of other Irish castles, which lay in ruins or bits and pieces. Honestly, I have wanted nothing more than to see a castle since I arrived in Ireland. I had fanciful ideas of roaming the countryside snapping photos of all them. However, when my chance finally arrived and we pulled up to Dunguaire, my experience was tainted with the return of my vegetable soup. It was literally like this: "And this is Dungauire Castle.....Bleeggghhhh (over the side of the stone wall fence) Let's not discount the fact that I lasted almost the entire trip without vomitting and I did not do it on the bus (well technically I did throw up in my mouth a little first)....and at the end of the day I got my picture of a castle.

Unfortunately, because of my reaction to travelling by tour bus, I do not think I will be able to make another day tour---which sadly strikes out my much awaited tour to Connemara to see Kylemore Abbey. Tomorrow will most likely be a slow and easy day and I'll take in some more sights of the Galway area. I'm so excited to already be on number 16!


Anthony said...

I would have loved to see that burial ground.

Margaret said...

Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the ten mega-expensive drinks you had the night before might have contributed to the bus-malady? Just kidding. Great ongoing blog---I feel like I'm right there with ya.