Peter and I visited the Cliffs of Moher on our journey from Cork to Galway. The road system in Ireland is probably 90 percent narrow single-lane roads and 10 percent motorways so driving is slow-going but Ireland is a tiny island so it doesn’t take long to traverse it north-to-south or east-to-west.
Our drive from Cork in the southern end of the island to Galway in the middle of the west coast took only three hours. If you hail from a country where you drive on the right and you want to experience driving on the left, then Ireland is the country to do it in because unless you are driving in a major city like Dublin, there will be very little traffic for you to contend with and you’ll probably have a pleasant experience all-around.
As we drove around the island, it was very apparent that the country is still in the middle of a financial crisis. We drove by countless vacant residential neighborhoods. It was like they were in the middle of building the properties and then it all just stopped one day.
A taxi driver in Cork told us that the value of his home had fallen by 60 percent. And the owners of our Galway accommodation spoke about the dire situation and how/if the country will ever recover. They believe it will take multiple decades for the housing market to recover.
A few miles from the vacant residential neighborhood in the photo above was a very busy golf course and seaside village. The golf course was unlike any golf course I’d seen before. It was dotted with ancient ruins and follies.
The Cliffs of Moher is the most visited site in Ireland and I understand why. The views are absolutely amazing.
I took the photo above whilst standing on the very edge of the southern cliffs and looking north to O’Brien’s Tower. This section of the cliffs was fenced off, however, everyone was scaling the fence and I [stupidly] decided to follow the crowd.
At its highest point, the cliffs are 702 ft / 214 m above the sea. It is a very long way down!
Reminiscing on our visit, I am frightened at how close I was to the edge of the cliff when I took my photos. What was I thinking? I remember being very aware of everyone around me and every move they made. A strong gust of wind and a little bit of loose footing could have caused a fall.
This brings me to a more somber topic: suicides at the cliffs. Unfortunately, there have been suicides at the cliffs and there are plaques throughout the park in remembrance of those who lost their lives.
I researched suicides at the cliffs after our visit and there isn’t much statistical information. Since suicides often occur without any witnesses, it’s difficult to track and record. Peter read an article that stated there were 11 suicides at the cliffs in 2011.
Located on one of the north cliffs is O’Brien’s Tower. It was built in 1835 as an observation tower for English visitors. Today, visitors can pay a nominal fee (2€) to climb to the top of the tower. On a good day, you can see five different counties in Ireland.
It’s not often that we have perfect weather whilst touristing but the weather on the day of our visit was near-perfect. The fact that there was no wind meant that we were in for a treat. And not a cloud in the sky was just a bonus.
Our next and final stop of the day was to our accommodation in Galway. It was our first time renting accommodation through Airbnb. Aside from the lack of internet access, it was a fantastic experience. More on this in another post.
Later that evening, we ventured into the nearby village and ate dinner at an old country pub with cozy chairs and a wood-burning fireplace in the corner.
The following morning, we ventured into Galway for lunch and then drove to Dublin on the other side of the island.