After a long Saturday full of travel and sleeplessness, we had the audacity to believe we’d get up in time for the 8:00 AM breakfast our hostel serves. Our alarm went off, but I evidently turned it off. I don’t remember, which means I was really out of it. So we got up at noon and got around slowly.
Being the hungry types, we wandered down to the only place open (McGann’s Pub) and thankfully they were serving food. Let me tell you: when they tell you that the U.K. and Ireland is expensive, they mean it. We figured we’d be okay splitting meals and such and even with that it’s like 20 euro a meal. Yikes. Looks like we need to find a local grocer. It was good food, at least, and the atmosphere is second to none.
After our lunch, it was roundabout 3:00 PM and we asked the bartender where the nearest grocer was. “Four miles, up the road a bit.” We didn’t fancy a four mile walk. So we asked about the nearby Cliffs of Moher. “It’s a bit less than three miles the other way.” That didn’t sound SO bad, and perhaps we’d feel better about getting up so late if we got out and did something.
We set out straight from the pub. We were able to see the length of Doolin, which is little more than a single street lined with various hostels, B&Bs, and pubs. Scattered about the same area are farms, multiple-family homes, ancient bits of walls, and old stone cottages. It’s a real treat to walk by such a variety of man-made structures in a such a short period of time. And it’s all quaint. We also saw a variety of livestock, from cows to horses to sheep. Wandering dogs are also plentiful, and they all want us to stop and pet them. How can we not?
After a few hills, twists, and turns, we turn out on a long road leading to Doolin Castle, which is little more than a single parapet surrounded by low walls atop a hillside. It was gorgeous, and the views of the Atlantic Ocean from there were spectacular, but it was right around this point we were curious how fast we were walking. It certainly seemed like we’d been walking awhile, but we weren’t near the cliffs yet. Perhaps we were more out of practice than we thought. Press on!
After walking along a two-lane blacktop for a while, meandering through a small village and over many hills, we finally came up to the Cliffs of Moher visitor’s center and lookout point. A sign posted said it was 9km back to Doolin. That’s five and a half miles. Needless to say, we were worn out. Time was on our side, though, as we’d arrived just before sunset. The cliffs are awesome (in the original sense of the word) and rise up 120 meters from the sea. It is also where the Cliffs of Insanity scene was filmed for The Princess Bride. It was great!
We were dreading the walk back, as the sun was now gone and the wind had picked up considerably. In fine Irish style, one of the workers at the visitor’s center was heading to Doolin and offered a ride. We gratefully accepted her offer and arrived back at our hostel in minutes instead of hours. Where we had a quick dinner and collapsed. Again. The B&B owners had built a fire in the common room and I was once again reminded of my deep love for natural wood-burning fires. Especially near comfortable seating.
Tomorrow we’ll just sit tight and rest, yeah?