Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 21

This morning bags had to be out at 07:00 and breakfast was at 07:15.  We left at 08:00, driving back the same way we headed out yesterday, through Killarney. 

We stopped at a lovely gift shop at 09:00 and were presented with complimentary Irish Coffees at the door!  Oh my soul, Irishes at 9am!  You've got to love the Irish!!  They were very good!  As one of our tour-mates said – what a marketing tool!  We were all very free with our money once the Irishes hit the spot!

We then headed off again, bound for the ferry which took us (and our bus) over the Shannon River.  It was a short 20 minute ride on the ferry. 

We then drove on through very pretty countryside, not as rugged as yesterday, but lovely mountains, farms, isolated houses and small villages.  We saw a few traditional, old thatched houses, an amazing golf course, an area famed for it’s surfing and all sorts of other lovely bits and pieces along the way.

We got to the Cliffs of Moher in time for a walk around before lunch.  The cliffs were absolutely stunning! 

The photos don't do the cliffs justice - they are HUGE!

Which was more than could be said for the weather - drizzly, windy and freeeezing cold.  But we thoroughly enjoyed our walk around the viewing area, seeing the cliffs as well as views over Galway Bay.  We then made our way to the fantastic Visitors Centre that is set up at the Cliffs of Moher, for a bite of lunch.  The visitors centre has shops, a restaurant and an amazing interactive exhibition – there’s a movie that gives you (literally) a bird’s eye view of the cliffs (it’s taken from the perspective of one of the birds that lives on the cliffs) and includes a dive into the sea at the foot of the cliffs – hard to explain, but very impressive! 

There are other exhibits, all very hands on, about the animals that live in the area (including puffins!) the rocks etc etc.  Really lovely to walk around there.  We then had a spell of retail therapy…..we’re so baaad when it comes to the shops…

 Then it was off to our hotel, the Radisson Blu, just outside Limerick.  We freshened up and then piled into the bus for our optional excursion to a traditional Irish ceilidh (pronounced kaylee!) at nearby Bunratty castle.

We had a lovely evening.  On arrival we were given the choice of a glass of mead – very delicious honeyed wine (sort of like muscadel) or Bailey’s on ice.  And then for some unknown reason they chose to give our table the 3 left-over glasses of Bailey’s on ice (I think we have the look of bulk consumers about us…) a good start to proceedings I would say!  The menu was good, 3 courses of traditional Irish food and a great big jug of red wine (surprisingly good) and another of white wine for each table.  In-between courses we were entertained by the waiters and waitresses doing Irish dancing, playing the traditional Irish drum (whose name I have forgotten…) and singing.  It was really a fun show.  We got back on the bus and serenaded our tour guide (bless her!) with various Irish songs… luckily it was a fairly short ride back to the hotel! 

At this point we REALLY should have gone to bed, but we headed for the pub in the hotel….  Fortunately, after one Bailey’s and a good chat to some of our tour-mates, good sense kicked in and we headed for bed.

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