Burren and Cliffs of Moher

I am, again and again, impressed by the spectacle of nature, though also of the Irish Cliffs of Moher. I have been to a cave for the first time – and that means a lot, but everything from the beginning:

The forces of the weather are beyond control, but I decided to take the opportunity, when my daughter was here and go with her and my son, who also lives here in Dublin, to the Cliffs of Moher. I had read about them in tourist brochures and online. I had also seen a lot of pictures of them, maybe too many. When you do not have your own car, you can rent one, join a tour or take a taxi and experience the adventure. We decided to join a tour, even that was challenging. We had to find out, how we could make the trip in a single day. Many tours depart from Dublin, but not the ones to the west coast of Ireland. Would it be possible to find an early bus or would it even be possibly to take a train from Dublin to Galway where the starting point of the tour is? However, I had previously had contact with a tourist company and they had agreed to pick us up at the resort before Galway, because the earliest bus from Dublin was not early enough in Galway. To go by train was not an option. To go to the bus stop or train station so early in the morning from our home, had been a challenge as well. It turned out, that we on a Saturday morning did not have much to choose from. We would have needed to walk or to take a taxi. In the name of honesty, none of us found it particularly tempting to walk for at least half an hour early in the morning. Fortunately, we live centrally and a taxi is never difficult to get hold of.

Saturday morning came and, armed with our internet tickets for both the Citylink and tourist bus as well as a small lunch bag and the always necessary rainwear, we set off for the big adventure. The sky was gray, but it was dry and that means good weather here on Ireland. The mood was high even though the young people were still tired and we soon waved in a taxi, when we had switched to the right, say left, side of the street. SEK 100 for three people is affordable and no luxury on a Saturday morning. Since the taxis have taximeters with fixed prices, it was not possible to bargain, but at the same time we also knew, that we were not skinned. Luckily, we were in good time. It took longer time, than I even had expected to find the right bus stop near the train station. Would I not have had such a good sense of places and would I not have knewn in which direction the bus had to go, we would probably have been in the wrong place, because the explanation we received from the information at the train station was definitely not given for tourists. The bus was a bit late so the uncertainty was great and we all three breathed out when the bus finally came to take us to the coveted destination. While the young people were half asleep, I tried to see as much of the country as possible. Ireland is beautiful, but a bit monotonous on the side of the roads. It took quite a long time before we saw the first mountain ranges respectively hills. Ireland looks a bit cramped in places and the rest do not have such large height differences. The highest mountain is 1,041 m above sea level, but the mountains rise quite steeply from their surroundings. The weather changes a lot here on Ireland and on the mountain ranges even more. The wind is often noticeable, so triple layers of clothes, hats and gloves are always recommended, just as I am used to from the time I lived in the North of Sweden.

The transition from the tour bus to the tourist bus went very smoothly. We also had time for a quick and short visit to the toilet. What surprised me, after we boarded the tourist bus, was that the driver also handled the information – and he was talking a lot! Some things will probably never be forgotten because he mentioned those several times. A little less would have been just as good or even better. I am always amazed by these people. They are really good at making money, but not very friendly. I think they have had to deal with too many tourists and take it for granted that their occasionally brusque manner does not scare anyone away or they assume that the tourists will in any case never return. It stands for me in stark contrast to the fact that they pick up people on the route etc. They seem to assume that the relatively little information they provide online and in their brochures should be sufficient, that nobody has to ask questions. The brochure stated that there was an opportunity for coffee and lunch. At the coffee shop, you would not have had time to eat anything in peace and quiet if you had not skipped the visit to the Allivell Cave. The visit underground was really worth going hungry for a while. Here one could see stalactites and stalagmites, that I thought would only exist in Southern Europe. The guide was quite young but very good. It was a visit with unforgettable memories that I can really recommend.

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Inside Allivell Cave

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The experience of the Burren, an area, which consists almost exclusively of limestone and bears memories from pagan times, was really interesting, too. The Vikings have left clear traces and are mentioned on many occasions. Unfortunately, quite a few tourists do understand the sensitivity of nature. The others do not always follow the guides’ instructions. I hope, that even later generations will be able to experience what we have. The roads are quite narrow and some in bad shape. On the one hand, it is incredible that despite the tourist flows, nothing has been done for the infrastructure, on the other hand, it gives a feeling of always being close to nature.

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Part of the Burren

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The entire Burren area is under nature protection, but I only found that out, when I asked about it. Due to the sensitivity of nature, they have tried to direct the tourist flows a little closer. There are also guided mountain hikes. One of these groups accompanied us on our bus to their starting point. They had been given proper instructions and were dressed as needed with, among other things, proper footwear. The tourists who continued with us, most of them from Southern Europe, and also another group who later supported us and replaced the seats for those who had left us earlier, probably did not really know what they were getting themselves into, because many of them were wearing light sandals. Even if you only leave the bus sometimes, you occasionally step around in rough terrain where it can also be quite wet. Once again, I was grateful that I have learned to dress properly when experiencing nature.

Finally it was time for the Cliffs of Moher. Irish people, as I have written before, can do business. In the vicinity of the cliffs, due to the huge tourist flows, a facility has been built, where food, drinks, souvenirs and toilets, of course, are offered. It is a very modern and lavish facility that has been expensive to build, therefore no tourist is allowed to leave the bus, maybe not even the car, if he/she/them come/s by themselves, without having paid 1 Euro to the guards who run around from bus to bus etc. This fee is not included in the payment for the tourist trip but must be paid personally by each one. You know, a bus gives them around 50 EUR and there are lots of busses arriving each day.

It was interesting to see this area as well. About facts of the cliffs you can follow the Wikipedia-link. People were sitting on the walls at the edge of the steeps, so did my children. It was quite windy and I was all the time afraid, that they will fall down on the cliffs. That did take some happiness away from me. There was not a lot to do and the weather was not really nice – we had a grey sky and at the end it also started drizzlig, anyway the view was amazing.

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The Cliffs of Moher

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Finally the way home was much easier than the way from home to the tourist bus. We were going by train from Galway to Dublin and taking the local bus home from the train station.