Published: May 17th 2009May 17th 2009
Cliffs of Moher
From an unofficial path off Doolin
Craggy rock-strewn cliffs, rain and a good dose of Catholicism greeted Dad and I as we entered the Burren from the Ring of Kerry. We've continued our trek around the coast, heading slowly upwards from Killarney, stopping frequently to take panoramic photos and stain our teeth with endless pots of tea. Each day we've made ambitious plans to travel x hundred kilometers to the next big town, but we keep falling in love with small towns as we drive through them. From tiny musical Doolin - a loose agglomeration of pubs, shops and B&Bs next to the Cliffs of Moher - to the even smaller port of Cleggan - jumping off point for Inishbofin Island followed by the vast Atlantic - our last week has been characterized by long impromptu walks, seafood chowder (cheap and hearty, we've sampled the chowder in every town since Killarney), intimate musical sessions and chats about everything from Irish history to the economy with old men over pints of Guinness.
In every county Dad and I are discovering new and stunning scenery. The vertiginous Cliffs of Moher, the boggy marshlands of Connemara National Park, the flowery hills and forests of County Mayo, all have taken
Ripples on the Sea
A break in the waves from the Cliffs of Moher
our breath away. We can't seem to take enough pictures of the majestic views we've been getting, stopping sometimes three or four times to capture the same scene from different angles. Even in the rain, which has persisted for the last four days, the contrast of vibrant green and yellow hills and forests on slate gray sea and sky make the landscape photogenic.
The scenery alone has made an indelible mark on our memories; but this is only half of Ireland's charm. The effortless conversation and hospitality have also impressed us. They say you should kiss the Blarney Stone to get the "gift of the gab," but the Irish must be born with it. When they're done asking questions about Canada, they fill the air with tidbits of regional lore, self-effacing jokes, well-informed comments about the world. You would never find this kind of social atmosphere in a pub at home; and it's a good thing they have so much to say because our conversations usually run out of steam before the first pint is drunk. We're trying to learn as much friendliness as we can before we leave on Wednesday morning, which means another night of traditional music
and drinking with the locals here in Westport. Slainte!
There are more photos below