The Cliffs are calling
The moment I first saw the Cliffs of Moher I knew I’d be back. I first went a couple of months ago with my boyfriend David, and it was magnificent! I’m not usually one of those people that are visiting somewhere and say “I need to come back here!”, realising how ludicrous it sounds, because I AM here RIGHT now. But this was something more. This was a deep longing to return to this magical place that was extra special for me being the setting of my favourite book as a child – Jake O’Shaunnessey, about a green gull who didn’t believe he could fly. (Anyone else heard of it by the way? I’ve never found anyone else who has.)
ANYWAY! So we left Dublin at 9am, we being my two good friends Alina and Ariane from my workplace at the time, good ol’ IPA. Google maps said roughly a 3 hour 20 min drive, which was pretty much spot on. Even with an innocent wrong turn leading us through the tiniest imaginable little country laneways ever. We were in what felt like the middle of nowhere so we’re just HOPING we are heading in the right direction. But eventually we see water sparkling in the distance and we FINALLY see a road sign for our destination, Doolin – 3kms. Civilisation!
So we arrive at the pier, just as the sky is turning a dark grey, only to be told that all Cliffs boat tours have been cancelled because the sea is too rough. And it starts raining.
I. Was. Gutted.
It was my last chance to do it. I only had 4 weeks left in Ireland. This was my last chance to get so close to the cliffs and see them from the bottom up, to see puffins nesting on the cliffs. It would have been amazing! So trying to keep my self together in front of my friends, and realising that of course it’s better to do something else than nothing at all, we go with the other option that thank goodness was still sailing, the ferry over to the Aran Island – Inis Oirr.
(Pop quiz – what TV program is this Inis Oirr shown in the opening sequence of?)
A Hidden Gem
And man, they were not kidding, the sea was so rough! The scariest and most fun boat ride of my life! It was so exciting going up and down and rolling around the waves! Alina was terrified, Ariane was upstairs trying not to be sick, and I was having a great time! 30 minutes later we arrived on the beautiful Inis Oirr at An Tra. You can hire bikes or go on a horse and carriage ride, but we decided to walk. Heading in the general direction of the cliffs. Along the beach that looked like it was from the Caribbean, past the old cemetery on the hill, along the old stone walled paddocks, past the beautiful lake, arriving at a ship wreck.
It. Was. Stunning!
We could see the cliffs off in the distance, seals playing in the water, waves crashing, sun shining, it was incredible. I will remember it forever.
A dream come true
The few hours there went very quickly, so we headed back to catch our ferry. We got some hot chips for lunch, way too many as usual, and hopped on the boat for a much calmer ride back to he mainland. I saw what I pretended to be puffins flying alongside the boat. We got back to Doolin, took some more ‘close ups’ of the incredible Cliffs, took one last look and headed for home.
So it was one of those times where something went wrong but ended up working out quite well anyway. Thanks to Ariane and Alina for being great road trip buddies! Providing great snacks, conversation and direction giving. Wouldn’t have been half as much fun without you two!
Cost breakdown and details –
Car hire – Enterprise Rent-a-car Ireland (normally they pick you up & take you to the office if you book a spot. The weekend I was going they were too busy but said if I got a taxi they will refund the cost, which I thought was pretty good!)
I booked the smallest automatic possible = €49.99 + €20.00 excess waiver, which took the waiver from €1600 to €100. (If you drive manual then you can pick up a car for as low as €20 a day!)
They charge a €250 deposit on the credit card but put it straight back on when you return the car.
Petrol – Dublin to Cliffs of Moher and back = €48
Tolls = €9.60
Ferry – Cliffs of Moher 1 hour tour, or over to the Aran Islands for 3 hours = €15 per person.
Total = €173, split between the 3 of us = €58 each for a day trip to Cliffs of Moher. What a bargain!
Thank you to Alina, a contributing photographer on this post, due to the fact I couldn’t separate all of our photos!