We have accomplished a couple more trips since our Glasnevin Cemetery trip to add to this year's Summer Bucket List in the last few weeks. Unfortunately due to a misplaced camera connection I have been unable to update you on our travels. However as this has since been rectified I am now delighted to be able to finally share our experiences and accompanying photographs with you!
This was a very much looked forward to, special trip, that I have nicknamed my 'Good Karma Trip' - the reason for which shall be revealed shortly. It involved two friends, who are also related, and their two fifteen year old sons heading off to soak up the scenery and atmosphere on a section of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way for a couple of days; just after the August Bank Holiday weekend in fact. And after our experience I can assure you that, although thankfully the rain held off for our only touring day, the Wild Atlantic Way most certainly lived up to it's name!
The Burren is a fascinating area of great geological interest in Co. Clare containing limestone pavements, among other things, and is one of Ireland's National Parks. An ideal location of great interest for teenagers, families etc to explore. Confusingly there are two Visitor Centres for The Burren - one in Corofin and the other in Kilfenora - and we mistakenly visited both! You see unlike other Visitor Centres these ones are not in situ - there is a ten to twenty minute drive to get from them to explore the limestone pavements of this karst landscape. After watching an informative, albeit twee and rather old, video in the Kilfenora centre and viewing their interesting display we headed off with directions in hand to embrace this fascinating region and its wondrous sights.
We walked the area surrounding the Poulnabrone Portal Tomb
The limestone pavements of The Burren stretch for miles and miles and we explored this relatively small area of it.
Marveling at the interesting shapes...
And at the vast and varied flora growing between the pavements. It is said that all sorts of flora, including Alpine and Mediterranean, grows here.
We could have spent far longer here but we had only one day to see all that we could. If you visit here for a few days you could go on one of the organised walks, or get the directions for one, at either of the above Visitor Centres. For us however it was time to move on as there were more sights to see.
The Burren area also has many caves, one of which is open to the public and was very nearby, as one of the signposts declared. Off to Aillwee Cave with us then so we reckoned ..... and off we went!
This was an interesting stop and well worth a visit. Again we were stuck for time so couldn't enjoy all that this had to offer. We bypassed the Birds of Prey, the lovely looking 'forest walk' and went straight through to see caverns filled with stalactite and stalagmites, an underground waterfall and the remains of bears long departed from this earth, and this region! It was an interesting thirty minute visit enjoyed by us all.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch in the atmospheric cafe here at the Aillwee Cave and admired the panoramic view of the limestone pavements which lay all around for as far as the eye could see.....
Naturally we couldn't come all this distance without visiting the famous Cliffs of Moher, therefore we immediately embarked on an hour long, extremely scenic, journey along the coast road. This took us through Ballyvaughan and Doolin, allowing us to admire the limestone pavements that spread from the hills and mountains we had just passed through right down to the shore, until we finally arrived at our destination. We had heard much about the 'astronomical' cost of parking at the Cliffs of Moher but as it turned out there was no charge for the boys and it was just €6 per adult, which included access to the Visitors Center for all four of us and therefore worth it, in our opinion. And this centre was perfectly, and environmentally, located right on the cliffs so that we could enjoy the science and informative part, followed immediately by the wonderful view of these majestic cliffs. A wild and windy day it may have been and although that did dictate where we allowed the boys to walk it did not take away from the stunning views.....
It was an incredible day filled with magnificent views that we will remember for a long time to come, that said I think the Cliffs were the highlight of our day.
For the two days we visited this area we were based at the Inn at Dromoland which is located on the ground of the very upmarket Dromoland Castle. It's poorer sister it may very well be but we'd definitely recommend it! It's very reasonable and it's location is ideal to access from Dublin, is perfectly placed on the edge of all the places we visited and allows for a shorter journey back to Dublin on departure than if you stay closer to, say, Ballyvaughan. The food in the hotel restaurant and in the bistro bar is plentiful and splendidly presented and the Games Room was ideal for our teenagers. Tip: give the pool area a miss and take a walk through the grounds instead ;)
And the 'Good Karma Trip' part? Well, this trip was originally planned for last summer but due to my back injury and subsequent hosptialisation on the August Bank Holiday Monday in 2014 we had to postpone. The day we left on our adventure in 2015? Why, it was Bank Holiday Monday of course. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate a years anniversary of being unable to walk properly for such a long time then embarking on such a trip!
I cannot wait to see where we visit next year. I'll be sure to tell you all about it!
As this post involves getting teenagers out of the house and exploring nature and our wonderful Irish scenery I'm linking this with Fiona's #CountryKids over at Coombe Mills .