When you talk about the things to do in Ireland, you can’t possibly just think of Dublin! In fact, the Cliffs of Moher situated at the west coast of Ireland, is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ireland. The long west coast of Ireland stretching from Donegal’s Inishowen peninsula south through rugged Galway and Clare encapsulates some of the best and most dramatic aspects of the Irish landscape.
The region is extremely spacious and infused with wildness, and offering wonderful vistas and seascapes at every turn. Come here for peace, remoteness and fresh air. There is also a higher chance that you could hear the Irish tongue spoken as a first language, Gaelic! (The Gaels; the ethno-linguistic group traditionally predominant in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man)
So, my exploration adventure at the Ireland’s Wonderful West started with Limerick.
A city in the west of Ireland, lies on the River Shannon with medieval castles and churches giving a grand feel to the city scape! Once founded by the vikings and now a modern city and 3rd most populated city in Ireland! In my opinion, this city has many contrasts by successfully blend the modern with history! When I say 3rd most populated city in Ireland, you can’t compare it with Asian standards! haha I would say it’s still a chillax city! 🙂
If you are in Limerick, do take a stroll along the nice beautiful River Shannon, and you can catch a glimpse of the King John’s Castle built by the Anglo-Normans in 1205!
Also do check out the Limerick Treaty Stone! Limerick was once taken by Scottish and English. A treaty was signed when Limerick fell under the English hands in 1691. The stone can be found opposite the castle next to the Thomond Bridge.
This city is also a gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, especially if you are traveling from Dublin. 🙂
Bunratty Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval castle (or fortress as I see), built in 1425. I find this castle very special because the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country which brings to life a vital part of the Irish’s Medieval past. The 15th and 16th century furniture, artwork, tapestries and statues are all featured throughout the entire castle. Mostly in the small interesting staterooms and dark dungeons.
I personally find it a little eerie and apprehensive to walk by myself, exploring the corridors, walkways and stateroom in the castle. So I think better to have a companion with ya. Don’t forget, this is a REAL castle with many years of history! People have+ lived and died here! So for you to figure that out! haha 🙂
Note: When I took the photograph below at the Bunratty Castle, I am very clear that I was the only one in the hall! BECAUSE THERE WERE NO ONE ELSE!!! I only realised there is a woman in the photo few days later after I uploaded the photos to my laptop in Dublin! I left my hotel room’s lights on throughout my stay in Dublin! Don’t laugh at me, I was traveling alone in Ireland!
Be charmed by the farm houses and old Irish cottages and watch the tasks of rural Irish families living their life! Just next to the Bunratty castle is the Folk Village, set up according to the 19th century and it was interesting to see how modern Irish lived in the past! Many of the Irish people there dressed themselves in the clothing portraying the Medival period.
This village is like a collection of typical 19th century urban Irish structures including School, Clinic, Pawnbrokers, Irish Pub, Clothing Stores, Grocery Stores, Hardware Shop, Pottery and Post Office.
O’Connors Pub In Doolin
The pub was a stopover on my road trip to Cliffs of Moher from Limerick. Being a vegetarian, I count myself fortunate that the pub can figure out something for me. The food was surprisingly yummy and the pub has a lot of character! The staff were very friendly as well. It was a shame that I went during the lunch time, hence there wasn’t Irish music or jamming, only for the evening crowds. Otherwise, it would be a real treat! 🙂
After a heavy lunch, is always nice to take a stroll at the serene village of Doolin!
Cliffs of Moher on the Wild Alantic Coast
Rated as one of the seven natural wonders of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher definitely captured my heart with it’s magical vista! The Cliffs of Moher was totally breathtaking and a spectacular view!
The cliffs rise 214 metres above the Atlantic Ocean and this is the result from 300 million years of old river channels cutting through the base of the cliffs.
Not sure if you can recognise a scene in the movie – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. For some Westlife fans (including myself and my buddy Wilson), you probably can recognise their MV for their hit song – My Love! haha
WARNING: Try not to do what I did at the Cliff of Moher. Jaime (a new friend I met at Gus O’Connors) was very afraid of the idea I did numerous jump shots and sitting at the edge of the cliff. After I left the Cliffs of Moher, some local Irish told me those people who sit at the edge of the cliffs are maniac! haha There are many fall accidents and suicidal happening at the cliffs every year.
Burren Lunar’s Landscape
In my opinion, Burren is an opportunity to see and feel life differently! It is the opposite of the lush greenery that most of the world rhapsodize about when they come to Ireland. Grey and sparse, barren and cracked, you will not see anywhere else on the planet.
The unique lunar landscape of the Burren has always been linked to the walk on the surface of the moon. However, you do not have to be an astronaut to experience the grandeur of the Burren limestone region. You also have gravity to prevent you from “flying” around. haha This place has many unusual features that make it unique such as it’s geology, flora, caves, archaeology, and history set it apart as a place of great mystery and beauty.
Scenic of Galway Bay
While heading towards Galway, you will come across a long stretch of coastal road (approximately 50 kilometres long)! A large bay on the west coast of Ireland. Great views of the Atlantic Ocean, a unique coastal drive which will lead you from Burren to Galway city! 🙂
I was fascinated by the fields and fields of sheep and little lambs but I also saw the largest cows I’ve ever seen. the lamas were so adorable!
The best thing about Galway city is that you can walk everywhere. It’s not a big city (again can’t compare to any US or Asian cities). Jaime (my new mate) and I enjoyed a little exploration and walk through the city streets.
This is the place where you could find all the cute lively pubs, shopping alleys and fascinating winding cobblestone streets packed with students, artists, writers and craftspeople.
Over here in Galway, I often mistaken think that people are speaking a foreign language, but it was actually Gaelic! haha
Railway from Galway to Dublin
So this was my last stop for my exploration trip at the west of Ireland. Later that evening, we took a long train ride back to Dublin, the capital city of Ireland.
“It’s better to see something once than to hear about it for a thousand times.”