Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The next day, we took a tour to the Cliffs of Moher. I am not going to lie, I was not that excited about this tour. I feel like tour buses are usually pretty cheesy. I thought we would walk up to a fence and look over to see the Cliffs of Moher. To my surprise, it was more than that! 

To start off the morning, Bailey plugged in her hair dryer to dry her hair. The electricity went out and the outlet started smoking. Not just on her side of the room, but the whole entire room! So, Christy walked down to the front desk to let them know. It turns out that she blew a fuse in the entire building. Impressive. After they fixed the fuse, Bailey tried to blow dry her hair. The outlet still wasn’t working. I tried to plug in my laptop in the outlet by me, and it also was not working. We some how broke all the outlets in our room. Bailey had to blow dry her hair in the hallway… It was great.

Mr. Cuddles
View of the Vallet

For our first stop, we went on a walking tour of a farm that went up into the mountains to view the valley down below. It was a perfect sunny day, with clouds in the sky (great for pictures). First we saw Mr. Cuddles, who was actually a cow.

 We walked and each time we stopped to look at the view, it got better and better! We were able to see the Atlantic Ocean, an abbey, the valley, and mountains in the distance. Gorgeous.. 

Up in the mountains, there was a tree with little pieces of fabric tied all over. It was called a leprechaun tree. The purpose: when you had a problem, you would tie something to the leprechaun tree. It was a symbol for leaving your problems behind when you walked away. The even cooler thing about this tree was that the Irish respect these trees very much- so much that when the put in a brand new highway that would have ran right over the tree, they just decided to go around the tree. Everyone was so scared to be the one who tore down the tree, since it is bad luck.

All the different sections of land divided up by stone walls. 
We wrapped around the mountain to view the other side of the valley. There was a patch of land that was divided into maybe 15 or 20 different sections with rock walls. Our tour guide said that the rock walls have been there for thousands of years! I thought the rocks walls would be built with concert or something to hold them together, but it appeared to just be piles of rocks! These rock walls broke down the land into different sections with different people owning each section. The weird thing was that someone would own one section and three sections down, own another, and across the valley own another. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason. You would think that they would own a large plot instead of several sections. Apparently when a section would go for sale, a farmer would buy it regardless of the location.

There were three churches at the bottom of the valley. They were the “Seven Churches” although there was only three… There are symbols of two deer heads that are intertwined. It was a symbol of animals and humans being closer than you would think.
Pinterest Room
At this point we started to head back down. Getting back down was a lot easier than getting up. At the bottom there was the little farm house; the tour guide’s grandmothers. We were invited in for cake and tea. We all thought that was cute and very much like the Irish until we found out that you had to pay for the tea and cake. All of us sat down in the rooms which looked like it was straight from pinterest since it was all so old!

Next we went off to the Cliffs of Moher. When we arrived there, the driver told us that we were able to walk along the cliffs. We could either go to the right or the left. The left would have better picture opportunities and the right had a castle tower. We had about an hour and a half there. Of course we went to the left first. Like I said before, I was thinking it was going to be a walk up and look type of attraction. I was very pleased by the fact that we were walking, which meant more angles to view the cliffs! Also, attractions are so much more meaningful when you are able to walk and explore rather than just look for a few seconds. I was warned that you have to be careful around the cliffs because the winds are very strong. They weren’t kidding. And the cliffs didn’t have a rail blocking them off at all times (which made it even more exciting!!) I was very concerned at points. The wind was so strong that it was blow my hat off at times!

Kisses! These cows were on top
 of the Cliffs of Moher.
They were there and a few feet
over it was a cliff!
Luckily there was also a fence separating them...
but who would have thought to
 put their cows up there?

The walk up was a steep one! Quite the hike especially considering that I didn’t think there was going to be any walks on this tour what so ever! We would stop every once in a while to get pictures. I wanted to be a little rebellious and got close to the edge, for picture opportunities of course! This made Christy a little nervous and I think she was yelling at me the whole time. But I was surprised by the people who were standing right at the edge. I don’t know if they have depth perception?

We were so lucky since we were able to go on a sunny, nice day. We had a crystal clear view of the cliffs and the sun provided the perfect lighting. We were able to stop along and sit down since it was not raining, like it usually is in Ireland. After taking our time on the left side, we decided that we wanted to go to the right side where the castle tower was. We were sure how long it was going to take, so we decided to walk at a very fast pace. There were also stairs on the other side. It was a great workout to say the less. We got to the tower. There was a gift shop at the bottom, and it cost two euro to get to the top. We were not interested in seeing the view from the top so we visited the gift shop and took pictures outside. Suddenly it started to cloud up and the wind really started to lash around. I attempted to take pictures of Bailey and Christy but their hair was whipping around so much that I could not get one decent picture! Although the pictures of them dealing with the harsh winds are hilarious!

We quickly ran back down the stairs only to realize that we have more than enough time! We stopped in one of the shops inside and bought water (mine ending up being sparkling, uck) and tea. We hoped on the bus and headed off!

In the movie leap year, there is a proposal on top of the Cliffs of Moher (spoiler alert). So our bus driver jokingly asked if anyone saw someone getting purposed to. It turned out that one of the couples on the bus got engaged on the Cliffs while we were up there! It was adorable how he did it. He asked someone to take their picture. While they were taking the pictures, the guy pulled out the ring and purposed to her!! So they got it all on camera. Being a photographer, I found that to be especially awesome!!

We headed to another set of cliffs. Unfortunately I don’t remember what these cliffs are called. We were not actually supposed to make this stop, but our bus driver decided that we had enough time to, so he slipped it in (Thanks Healy Bus tours!) Although these cliffs were not as spectacular as the Cliffs of Moher, they were quite the site. Again, you could walk right up to the edge of the cliffs. I didn’t dare since the wind had really picked up at this point. They were also a little scary since there were large cracks in the ground! They were not just a measly foot wide or something. Sometimes they were be three or four feet wide making jumping from one side to the other a little intimidating.  Once at the edge of the cliff we were on, you could see another cliff extending into the Atlantic Ocean. You can see people standing nearly on the edge of these cliffs. They appear to be fishing? Doesn’t seem like a smart idea to me, but whatever floats your boat!

The temperature started to drop as the winds picked up. We didn’t stay at these cliffs for very long before we got on the bus!

We only had one more stop before we were dropped off. It was a castle, the Dunguaire castle. The drive to get there and to get back to Galway was all along the Atlantic Ocean. It was kind of odd because right at the edge of the ocean would be farms which would mean there were cows hanging out on the border. I had never seen something like that. Along this drive, I started to feel horrible. Maybe it was because there was cream in my soup from earlier that day, who knows! Haha. I could feel my blood sugar plummeting. Darn hyperglycemia! I also felt extremely cold, but not from the outside, it felt like it was coming from inside of me. This was no good news bears. I had a few kale chips left, but I was too weak to move and get them. Instead I slouched down in my chair thinking I might die. I continued to take a few photos thinking that it was make me feel better and would keep my mind distracted. Looking back at those photos I took right then gives me the same feeling I felt on that bus. They are all cold, gloomy and dark. It is funny how an artist’s mood really does shine through their work.

Finally we arrived at the castle. I didn’t even know if I wanted to go see it because of the way I was feeling, but I also knew that if I got out and walked around it would make me feel better. Boy, I am glad I did. Instantly I felt much, much better. The view alone was wonderful! It looked out onto a bay. The timing was perfect. The sun was a few hours away from sunset creating a light glow over the bay. Perfect!

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