A Year Ago: A Belated Ireland to the Arran Islands – Part 4

Sorry for the wait, it’s amazing how fast time flies and how things including life can interrupt a set schedule.  The following blog continues our travels from where we left off in the Dingle Peninsula.

Rob showing the size of Irish roads

Irish roads

May 1st, 2014

On May 1st, 2014 we left Dingle and Browne’s B&B and back-tracked northeast towards Tralee and Tarbert where we eventually caught the ferry across the mouth of the Shannon (river) to Killimer.

Our first stop stop after crossing the Shannon was Lahinch, a pretty cool, hip, little town with great surf shops and a surf culture. The whole area has beautiful beaches and apparently a wicked winter season with huge waves that can go through the town taking out shops!  Sophia walked around the beach while I visited the surf stores.

Our next stop was Hag’s Head near the Cliff’s of Mohera natural rocky promontory that resembles a seated woman when viewed from the north.  We found a parking spot nearby and walked around the old Moher tower for a bit.  The tower stands on an ancient 1st century BC fort and the word Moher means “ruined fort”.  Sophia kept walking along the cliff path to the O’Brien’s Tower which took about 1 to 1.5 hrs, and I went back and got the car and drove up to meet her at the entrance.

We continued on and headed for the town of Doolin where we would eventually caught a ferry to Inis Oirr (Inisheer), an island in the Aran island group. Doolin is a pretty cool little town located in County Clare with a couple of hotels and nice restaurants; we stayed though at the Aille River Hostel. The Hostel is run by Robert who owned the place for the last 25 years. The hostel was cozy and a lot of fun, Sophia and I had a private room in the back on the second floor and spent our night walking the quiet streets of Doolin before settling in at the McGanns Pub (B&B as well) where we listened to live music, had a traditional Irish meal and of course drank Guinness.

We stayed one night in Doolin and the next morning on May 2nd, left the car at the ferry parking lot to catch the 9:30am ferry to Inishmore.  It took about one hour to get to Inis Oirr. It was a beautiful day when we arrived, so Sophia and I spent a couple of hours walking around, seeing the sights, exploring the village and talking with some of the people. It’s a small island, so it can be explored easily in a couple of hours as we did. In saying this, Sophia and I agreed that we’d like to have spent a night on the island, experiencing the solitude of the island and the people in the evening after the majority of the tourists had left.  This would be saved for another trip and of course there are two other islands to explore.

We caught the mid-afternoon ferry back to Doolin where we picked up the car and headed up the coast towards Galway. We had hoped to make it to Galway, but since we left late from Doolin, took our time and stopped along the way, we did not quiet make it there. One of our first stops was in Fanore where we walked along this huge, beautiful sandy beach. Rob, being Rob, stripped down to his boxers and went for a quick swim before realizing there might be rip-tides; after semi-toweling off we headed up into the Burren region. The Burren is almost impossible to describe and only best experienced. The landscape and geography changes so drastically that you almost think you’ve landed on another continent.  In some ways, it resembles or at least reminds us of the Canadian shield here in Canada. We parked the car and walked a small part of the area taking in the scenery and rock formations for a bit before realizing that it was getting late.

By the time we were back in the car and on the road we realized it was late and we wouldn’t be making it to Galway. Sophia, as always,in doing her homework had read up on the town of Ballyvaughan which apparently had a well known Irish whiskey pub; something maybe worth exploring after a long day on the road?

Ballyvaughan here we come!  ~Rob & Sphia

Lovely day for a Guinness

Lovely day for a Guinness