Memories of Ireland: On the Edge

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Continuing on from my last post (see here)

On day three of my holiday in Ireland we traveled south to explore the city of Galway, located at the mouth of the River Corrib. Galway is fascinating city, known in Ireland for its vibrant culture. The small streets are packed with buskers who filled the air with jaunty tunes and softy spoken lyrics. The city is also filled with some wonderful art pieces, which range from sculptures to some grand paintings adorning local houses. On the particular day we happened to visit, the city was crowded with people who had come far and wide to see the Galway Races (horse racing is a big thing in Ireland) and this only added to Galway’s consistent partying atmosphere.

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The streets of Galway

In order to take a break from the festivities we dived into the Galway City Museum, a nice modern little place with an impressive collection considering it focuses entirely on the intricate history of Galway. I certainly enjoyed reading about medieval Galway, though the art gallery and the exhibition on the history of Galway cinema didn’t really grasp me. Afterwards we walked up along the river to the beautifully domed Galway Cathedral, sadly no photography was allowed inside but the cathedral itself was filled with wonderfully decorative images, which adorned both the walls and windows. Unfortunately on our way out, the dark clouds that hung over Ireland since we arrived finally broke, and the rain came lashing down. We raced to the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, the largest medieval church in Ireland, where we watched a local folk group perform. When we finally emerged in the evening, the city was absolutely bustling with people, partying hard after a day at the races; but we had a long journey tomorrow and needed our beauty sleep, so we bade Galway a quiet farewell.

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Art of Galway
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Galway Cathedral on the banks of the River Corrib

The next day we began our long drive from Galway to County Kerry, however in order to break up the journey I suggested we stop off at the famous Cliffs of Moher. When we arrived the thick Irish cloud had returned but the cliffs were no less as stunning.

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The Cliffs of Moher

The cliffs are one of Ireland’s greatest natural wonders and its most visited tourist site. These giants of shale and sandstone have graced many movie screens (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, anyone?) and at their highest point stand 702 feet above sea level. The site is home to a expertly constructed visitor center built into the hillside, it costs around 7 euros to enter, but this also covers the cost of parking. The visitor center is a great area, featuring many interactive displays on the ecology of the cliffs and a multimedia screen, featuring a literal birds eye view of Moher.

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The gigantic cave of Moher

I quickly raced to the O’Brien’s Tower, which is ,annoyingly, another 3 euros. From the top you can supposedly see all the way to the Twelve Bens, back in Connemara, however it was impossible to look over the tower’s battlements. Instead, I had to look through some rather view obscuring arrow-slits, for what I manged to see it was hardly worth the money. However the view from the cliff line is absolutely stunning and soon the skies began to clear and we were left in dazzling sunshine and blue skies.

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O’Brien’s Tower

My dad and I decided to go for a quick walk along the cliffs, south of O’Brien’s Tower. Away from the main tourist area, the safety walls disappeared and you could stand directly on the edge of the cliffs (not recommended for those with a head for heights..or for anyone with an ounce of common sense). The wind was unbelievably strong and its easy to see why, from Moher there is nothing but ocean until you reach Canada. It truly does feel like you are standing on the edge of the world.

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The Cliffs of Moher in the sun
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Dad on the edge of Moher

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to reach the old fortress of Moher, but you always need to have a reason to return. The good news was that it looked like the sun had finally returned and hopefully would stay with us for the rest of the holiday.

Thus concludes my tale , if you enjoyed this story feel free to write in the comments, or leave like and thanks for reading.

Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and visit me at Google+ for more updates and pictures. Or now check out my Facebook page for much more photos of this walk and more.

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