Day two in Ireland was spent on a 12-hour bus tour that took me from Dublin over to the West coast sea cliffs. The Cliffs of Moher off of the Burren in County Clare are absolutely breathtaking, and going to see them was at the top of my to-do list in Ireland. It was nearly impossible to take a train or bus across the country in one day, and renting a car in Ireland is difficult as a non-Irish citizen. I decided on a bus tour, despite being generally against them, and it was worth every euro I spent on it.
The bus tour (through Galway Tours, costing about $60 each) left Dublin around 7am and returned back at 7:30pm, so it was a full day. We left the hostel early to meet the bus and started the drive across the country. Guys, Ireland is beautiful. The constant drizzle means the countryside is incredibly green. I’m also a big fan of the Irish people, who are nice to a fault and absolutely hilarious in a probably unintentional way.
Our tour took us through Galway, where we stopped for a little tour of the town. Apparently, Galway often has 5-day weekends and tons of festivals. Sounds like the place to be. We had lunch in Doolin on the way and made it to the Cliffs by early afternoon.
The main highlight of the tour was definitely the Cliffs. We had over two hours at the cliffs, which was plenty of time to hike nearly the entire right-hand side. The first view of the cliffs jutting into the sea is incredible. Generally, the Irish climate means a fog obscures the sea, but somehow we lucked out with a rare sunny afternoon.
Don’t let the Visitor’s Center built into the hills fool you; this is not a typical tourist attraction. Just a few minutes’ walk along the Cliffs, the fencing (which was minimal to begin with) ended and we were free to wander as close to the edges of the plummeting rocks as we pleased. Just a little further, a tiny sign along a footpath marked that we were entering property of a private farm. Oh, just a casual cattle farmer living along one of the most amazing Irish landmarks… no big deal, right? We spent the two hours hiking along the edge of the sea as far as possible, even taking time to sit and dangle our feet over the edge.
On the tour ride back to Dublin, we stopped briefly at a portion of the Burren, which was just a bunch of flat rocks near the ocean. I was glad Galway tours had incorporated a couple small stops into the cross-country bus ride, but you’re really going for the Cliffs of Moher. The bus also did well on keeping time, and we made it back to Dublin early enough to refresh and head to the pubs again.