By this point, it rained in Ireland almost every single day, for the majority of the day. Today was a partial exception. Today I had three things to do. 1) See the Cliffs Of Moher, 2) See a castle, and 3) do a CrossFit workout. For the first night in a while I also got a good nights sleep and was ready to go!
As I looked out the window of our Hotel, I noticed that yet again it was raining. So we donned our rain gear and drove to the Cliffs Of Moher. Patches of sun tried to break through the entire trip but alas, the sun was not meant to be. Walking up to the Cliffs you really don’t have an idea of how high up you really are. First of all the Cliffs of Moher are quite commercial. You’re traversing pavement as you’re fenced in from the edge. The particular morning we were there, a construction crew was out making repairs to O’Brien’s tower and therefore closed to the public, so that was a bummer. They were also using heavy machinery, which caused you to cringe.
Yet despite all of this the view were breathtaking. We didn’t walk the full length because it was so windy I thought I might be picked up and hoisted over the rails and it was quite cold, but the rain was beginning to let up, bonus. We hit up the visitor’s center on the way out, in hindsight I would recommend going in there first. They have a good interactive display, teaching the history of the Cliffs and it’s conservation. The Cliffs saw its first signs of tourism in the 16th century. Writers would travel to the cliffs and talk about its grandeur. Yet it wasn’t until around 1845 when Cornelius O’Brien, member of parliament, began to promote the Cliffs as a tourist destination, since then it’s turned into what it is today, a much beloved Irish destination.
After that we headed to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. I have to admit I think I had the most fun there. When we got there it was nice for 10 minutes and then the heavens opened, so we ran to the castle. Bunratty castle itself has a very medieval feel to it. The structure that’s there was originally built-in 1425 by the MacNamaras. Fifty years later it was the stronghold of the O’Briens, the largest clan in the area. It fell into disrepair around the 1800’s and stayed that way until Viscount Lord Gort, purchased it in 1954 and set to restoring it. It opened to the public in 1962 and has been entertaining the public since.
When you enter the castle you start in the Dining Hall. It is the main dining area where they actually host dinners on weekends along with a show and dancing. The castle is composed of a center column that has a basement (storage), Dining hall and a Great Hall, which huge cavernous spaces with high ceilings, and four towers. Each tower is accessed from the center rooms by very narrow winding staircases. On two of the towers you can go up all the way to the top and look out onto the valley which is quite lovely.
While we were in the Castle it seemed that the weather wanted to cooperate so in the sun I set off to explore the rest of the park. Bunratty Folk Park is a collection of dwellings from different building era of Irish history. As a fan of architecture I enjoyed walking through these buildings and seeing how people lived in the past, what kind of facilities they enjoyed and how large (or small) their living spaces were. In the Park there are several places for you to sit and unwind or grab refreshments. I must have spent 2 hours just wandering, enjoying that sunny day.
I wrapped up my day at CrossFit Ennis, which I talk about in another post. I had a good workout where I met tons of great people, and then a good dinner. I ended up crashing hard that night, it was a good day. Until next time.