Tuesday, August 5, 2014

7/8/14 Day 173 Ireland Road-trip: Wild Atlantic Way, Galway to Mayo

From Cork we drive towards County Limerick and from there to the coast. All the way down to the tip of the peninsula of Loop Head, where we stand in the shadow of the huge lighthouse and a steep 5€ admission. Luckily it is a huge structure and we can see it just fine from the outside (savings those fivers for a pint later). Walking out to what feels like the edge of the world we dangle our feet over the side of the moss covered hills, watching the gulls swoon and arch over the restless waves and endless sea foam. Enjoying our salami and cheddar bagel and 2 liter of cheap cider, Julie reminisces about how perfect it would be to see dolphins, Kevin retorts that whales would be better, and but a few minutes later I squeeze Julie's leg to direct her gaze out to the 3 dolphins skimming across the top of the water. Life is so good! We walk the perimeter of the lighthouse and find a very cool cliff edge overlooking huge crashing colliding waves just below where we were sitting.

The Cliffs of Moher have been high up on our list since the first day we arrived to Ireland. In reality, they are nice...but there are nicer cliffs in Ireland. I personally think that the geology at Loophead peninsula was more impressive and beautiful. They are beautiful, no doubt, especially if you drive slightly North or South of the parking lot for a better view, and to avoid paying for parking, I just think they might be a little overrated (in my opinion). 
We continued on through the Burren a 250 kilometer square landscape in county Clare with blooming wildflowers and amazing vast rock formations. We piled back in the car after chasing each other on the smooth rocks until our lung capacities were depleted. 

We arrived to Galway and appeared the most complete and bright rainbow I have ever seen, (unfortunately the camera was fitted with our 40 mm pancake lense and both ends couldn't be captured from our vantage point). We walked throughout the bars and canals of the city dipping in and out of pubs to watch the Holland versus Croatia World Cup match. More beers more dancing and by the end of the night we found our way back to the car after devouring a curry burger. We were too lazy to pitch our tent and happily drifted away to slumberland in our seats. 

Waking up in the boiling hot car was encouraging for an early morning. We drove through the rest of Galway, Clifden, Connemara and making our way all the way up to Westport and west to Achill island by the late afternoon. We drove all the way out to the furthest beach west, which Kevin and I had tried to get to when we bike toured in Westport back in May. Keem strand is all that we could have imagined, beautiful, secluded and a perfect place to set up camp for the night.   

Loophead peninsula flowers
Loophead Peninsula
Beautiful Loophead peninsula

Still at Loophead Peninsula
Two wave currents meeting together and crashing into a 30 foot high wave

Cliffs of Moher from the South, and....
Cliffs of Moher from the North
The burren
More of the burren
Oncoming herd traffic

Full Rainbow in Galway
Tayto is the first company that manufactured flavored potato chips, (called crisps in Ireland)
Typical pub in Galway

Ugly ducklings <333
Passed out
Clifden wetlands make for beautiful scenery

Mountain of peat
Julie's first peat
Keem Strand (beach) from a distance
Another rainbow as we are setting up camp for the night, we must be lucky or something 

Blown away...
Wild Atlantic Way, part 2 highlighted in Blue 

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