Our original plans were to visit Cork, but there was a major hurling match between County Cork and County Tipperary scheduled in Cork. Our hosts highly encouraged us to avoid the area; estimating more than 40,000 people in attendance. Since we didn’t have anything else on our itinerary … since we didn’t have an itinerary, we ask for some suggestions.
Our ‘new’ main goal was Lough Derg … northwest of Cashel. We stopped briefly in Nenagh, but headed on. While most, high-traffic tourist areas are open, many small businesses are closed on Sunday. And since it was Sunday … we kept moving towards Lough Derg. We drove around the southern side of the lough (lake; pronounced ‘lock’); stopping for photos along the way.
We were getting itchy to move onto another city decided to continue west. It was only 12:30pm, giving us still a other ten hours of daylight. After a couple more stops (Ennis and Lahinch), we ended up at the Cliffs of Moher around 5pm.
I provide this bit of a lead into the day, because this was a trip of many surprises. The Cliffs were just another one of them. Located on Ireland’s west coast, they reach 702 feet at the highest point and span more than five miles. The view is breathtaking. I never thought that I would ever stand at such a geographically wonder.
For those looking for some perspective, arriving by car is easy. There is plenty of parking. In June 2012, entrance and parking were a package. As you cross over the road, you will walk some distance to the visitor center. The center is built into the side of a hill and provides a variety of amenities, including restrooms, shopping and exhibitions.
Continuing west on foot towards the ocean, you have a couple of options. There is a large platform area for those to hang out if you choose not to make a climb. If you continue on, you can go south or north. It was getting late, so we could not make both sides. I chose north.
The climb is on well-maintained concrete steps. There is plenty of room that allows you to stop along the way to take photographs without holding up other tourists. At the top of the north cliffs, O’Briens Tower is there to greet you. It is an observation tower and does require an additional entrance ticket.
The day was perfect! As the sun was beginning its decent; its rays shimmered across the Atlantic Ocean. Wildflowers graced the landscape, but my favorite find was near O’Briens Tower. A small herd of cattle were grazing along the fence line. My one thought … What a life!
I could go on about the area, but decided that I will let these photos tell the story.
Location via Google Maps: