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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cliffs Of Mohr

The Cliffs of Mohr and Blarney Castle were at the top of my things to see list. Neither were a disappointment. The Cliffs were originally planned for the following day (Day 3). The ticket attendant at Aillwee Caves was so very kind to us. It turns out she had lived in America for a short time and had attended the same college as me! What a small world! I travel across the world and meet someone who attended my small public college. I suppose a student id can be an icebreaker. When she found out we were planning to go to the Cliffs of Mohr the following day, she recommended we go that same afternoon. Apparently there was bad storm predicted for the next day that we didn't know about! She even pulled up the weather radar on her computer to show us.

She called her husband to get the best directions to the cliffs for us. What a fresh breath of air that was! I'm glad we listened to her, because the weather did pick up that afternoon through the following day. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was nice out when we arrived.

The longer we stayed the darker it became and the wind was blowing us all over the place!

The visitors center was built into the earth. The further you walked away from it the harder it became to distinguish it . . . fascinating! The views of the ocean were breathtaking, and I loved watching the storm come in. We were able to get some amazing pictures as the storm rolled in. When you approach the cliffs it is safe with a cement wall blocking you from the Cliffs edge. To the right is a sitting area and further up you can walk on the unprotected part and to the left is the O'Brien Tower. We went to the right first and for the more daring and adventurous you can walk onto the less stable portion. Of course we had to do it! There are warnings that clearly state you are doing so at your own risk . . .

 Past this point you can get as close to the edge as you want. I did get close, but I was very cautious. However my friend did closer than I did.

 A sad reality of the cliffs are some people jump off of them to commit suicide and they have erected a memorial for those that have jumped. 
We did not walk the entire side of the cliff because of the weather. We wanted to head to the other side before the weather became to bad. The O'Brien Tower was closed when we visited, so we weren't able to go inside.
I highly recommend visiting the cliffs if you have the time. I would like to go back and get pictures with the sun coming up! It's not too expensive to get in, and they do offer a discount for students!! They also have a small café with food and drinks inside the visitors center and a wonderful gift shop!! Visit the website for more information:
                                              2014 Price List:
Adults- 6 euros
Students- 4 euros
Senior citzens- 4 euros
Children under 16- FREE!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Aillwee Caves

Aillwee Caves are karst caves located underground. They are located in County Clare, Ireland. This is area is commonly referred to as the Burren. The region itself is a wild, beautiful, dramatic scenery. I loved driving through it. Ireland is a abundant in breathtaking scenery. I'm discovering that I favor wild, dramatic beauty. When you pull up you are greeted by a guard. She explained everything that was offered at Aillwee Caves and that is when you purchase your ticket.

 There is plenty besides the caves to do here. They have a lord of prey center, the hawk walk (I don't think this was offered while we were there, but it looks pretty cool), the wolf den (survival skills) and a farm shop. We only paid for the cave, but we stopped at the farm shop on our way up the hill. They have homemade goods for sell, drinks, cheese and fudge. They offered us free samples of the cheese and fudge. The cheese was so good that we bought some to take with us. I still talk about how good that cheese was and how I wish I could have some right now! It was delicious!
Once you make it to the top of the hill, there is parking available and you enter Aillwee Caves. Outside of the entrance you have a prime photography spot of the burren. There is a panoramic view of the burren. The town and coast look like tiny little dots! Inside is where you wait for your cave time. There is a gift shop to browse and a cozy tearoom.

The tour is 30 minutes and it's all walking. The cave floor and metal bridges are damp and wet, so plan your footwear accordingly. For the majority of our trip I wore my Merrells and my friend wore her converse with no problem. This was not physically active, especially the other cave we toured. I saw families with very young children in the tour groups before and after us.
At one point inside the cave they do turn the lights off. It was pitch black and you could see nothing. I have never been in darkness like that before. I imagine that is what a black hole would look like. I stuck my hand in front of my face and I still could not see it . . . not event the outline. I don't know how the people who discovered it kept digging in such darkness.

It was a good tour filled with local history. They explain how the cave was discovered. There are even bones inside the cave of a 2,000 year old brown bear that is now extinct. It used to roam that area, but no longer. I would recommend this cave to visitors. We did visit another cave and in comparision Aillwee Caves seemed more commercialized and touristy, but I'm still glad I visited. Don't forget your cheese on the way out!

If you purchase tickets online it will save you money! Check it out . . .