My daughter and I spent seven wonderful days in Ireland, one of which was spent at the incredible Cliffs of Moher. You can take a day tour to the Cliffs from just about any major Irish city; we took ours from Galway which is only about 50 miles away. But first, a little peek into Galway.
Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the River Corrib, Galway is about 130 miles due west of Dublin. It is the fifth largest city in the Republic of Ireland with a population of about 75,000. It's a lively university town with a young vibe and a perfect base for exploring this part of the country.
Quay Street, mainly pedestrian, is the heart of the Latin Quarter which is filled with pubs and shops - and lots of people!
This photo below was taken early one morning; what a difference!
We spent three nights in Galway and had one free day to wander which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We enjoyed a stroll along the lovely canal that runs alongside the river one beautiful morning.
The Cliffs of Moher
No trip to Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. Formed of sandstone and shale more than 300 million years ago, this natural phenomenon is truly awe-inspiring. The day we visited, the wind was very light and from the east which meant few to no waves. When the wind is strong and from the west, the waves can come crashing up the cliffs to the viewing area. We were fortunate to have a rare warm day with only a slight breeze.
There is an 11-mile walking path that is barely visible in the photo above. We didn't take it, being content to take in the beautiful view we had. There is a very nice visitor center with a large shop and restaurant and a few smaller gift shops at the site.
Look the other way as you walk toward the cliffs and you see this lovely sight. The area where the tower is located affords the iconic views of the cliffs. Although not visible in this photo, on a clear day you can just make out the Aran Islands about 12 miles to the west.
This area of moonscape-like rocks is in County Clare on the Atlantic coast just north of the Cliffs of Moher and was included in our day trip. This area includes rock deposits, mostly limestone, dating back hundreds of million years. Not surprisingly, the word "Burren" means "rocky district". It was eerie and beautiful at the same time.
This video shows the relatively calm seas the day of our trip. This was taken at the Burren.
Below are a few photos from the day. We learned quite a bit of history, including that many of the stone walls which were ubiquitous (and many led to nowhere), were constructed during the potato famine in the mid 19th century. People were so desperate during the famine that they spent many backbreaking hours building these walls to earn what little money they could.
We loved watching the lambs run down the hill at this stop!
This was a day of unforgettable scenery. We chose Viator which operated through a local tour company, Lally Tours. We had a great driver/guide and we were very happy with every aspect of the tour.
We stayed at the Residence Hotel (1520 in the photo above) on Quay Street, the main pedestrian thoroughfare. We loved the 1520 pub, the central location, and the staff were wonderful. The only downside was that our room overlooked the street and even during the week, it was a bit noisy as people left the pubs. Overall, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher were unforgettable.
➜ Top Tips
Don't miss the Cliffs of Moher; you won't be disappointed!
You can drive there yourself from wherever you are in Ireland, but taking an organized tour will give you a chance to fully appreciate the scenery to and from and you'll learn a lot!