Asphalt Safari - Ireland - The Burren and Cliffs of Moher

After exploring Galway for a day, we took to the road.  Our target destination?  -- The Burren and Cliffs of Moher.  We pulled over in Kinvara to look out over this calm inlet of the Irish Sea and to admire the sun drenched buildings -- we totally lucked out on the weather!
Driving on, we started to encounter piled rock fences -- a hallmark of this part of the country.
We arrived in Ballyvaughan just in time for the Burren Weekend Craft Market.  Arts, photography, jewelry, and knitted goodies were all on display.
I liked these nonchalant cows and the rather exasperated looking farmer standing among them.  This plot of land was right behind the Ballyvaughan Visitors Center.
We continued our drive and soon arrived in the Burren proper.  The Burren is an incredibly unique landscape and is thought to have originated at the bottom of the sea eons ago.  Wild flowers sprout up between the limestone formations.
Up close, the rocks took on lives of their own.  I often see imagery in clouds.  The same could be said for the limestone at the Burren.
For some reason, the rock formation below makes me think of a loud-mouthed Smurf.
We were impressed by the Poulnabrone Dolmen, an ancient burial site just a few hundred meters off the road.  It's still a mystery how the inhabitants of this land were able to move the multi-ton rocks required for this structure.
Our next stop was Kilfenora which featured a lovely old church and graveyard.
Pops of color emerged along the wall.
I liked how a local shopkeeper recycled old shoes as planters!
We soon found ourselves at the top of Corkscrew Hill looking out over a rather daunting road and the sea beyond.
We were rewarded for taking this slightly harrowing road with an incredible and unexpected lunch at the Burren Fine Food and Wine cafe.  Once again, we were able to indulge in a homemade coffee walnut cake which seems to be the signature sweet of this part of the country.


I liked how the top half of the door was open and I could look out into the forest.
We continued our drive along the coast headed toward the Cliffs of Moher.  We had heard that most tour buses head to the Cliffs of Moher first thing in the morning and to The Burren in the afternoon.  By doing the route backwards, we were able to avoid most of the bus traffic which is important because the roads in this region are pretty narrow with little room for error.  The coastline was simply gorgeous with flat cracked rock formations reaching out to the sea.
We finally arrived the the Cliffs of Moher and the breathtaking views.  It definitely felt much more touristy than the other places we visited on this drive but it was definitely worth a look even considering the 8 euro parking fee.
The one thing that struck me about the Cliffs of Moher is that people don't follow the rules, even rules that are meant to protect them.  Visitors had peeled back the wire of this fence to continue their walk out onto the cliff face.  It was tempting to follow (like a lemming) but we decided to stay back behind the fence for our own good.  It's a good thing we did.  A mere week later, a portion of the cliffs edge plunged into the sea.  Safety first, people!
Here's an even more blatant disregard for safety...a memorial to those that have died at the Cliffs of Moher...
with a warning sign immediately behind followed by a group of people ignoring that sign.
After we finish admiring the Cliffs of Moher from a safe viewing distance, we drove on to Ennistymon.  The colorful buildings were awash in the sun.
We followed a sign behind some buildings off the main road and discovered a lovely waterfall.
We concluded our outing with a walk around Ennis.  I love how the dappled clouds are reflected so brightly in the river.
There were a series of sculptures strategically placed around town to encourage exploration as part of the Ennis Sculpture Initiative.
We also found art that was not as officially sanctioned.  Frankenstein striking different poses made me smile.

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Sidewalk Safari: Asphalt Safari - Ireland - The Burren and Cliffs of Moher
Asphalt Safari - Ireland - The Burren and Cliffs of Moher
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Sidewalk Safari
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