I didn’t mention this before, but when I was in Belfast, I had a major travel fail. See, I was planning on going to the Giant’s Causeway while I was there. I looked online for how to get to the Giant’s Causeway from Belfast and found out that I could take a bus to Coleraine.
Excellent. So, I took the bus to Coleraine, and was like, “Okay, where is the Giant’s Causeway?”
Turns out it was about ten more miles away, and I would have to take another bus to get there. The problem was that the bus to the Giant’s Causeway from Coleraine only left and came back every few hours. This means that I probably would have missed the last bus back to Belfast and then been stranded in Coleraine.
Sweet, especially since all my stuff was in Belfast by that time. In addition, the earliest bus I could take back to Belfast the next morning left quite late, so I would end up missing my bus to Galway, which I had already bought my ticket for.
So I turned around and headed back to Belfast, which wasted a good four hours of my day.
This actually turned out to be quite important for when I went to Galway. While in Galway, I was planning on going to the Cliffs of Moher. I found public transportation that could take me there, but I was worried that something would happen like what happened to me in Belfast.
Instead I took a tour bus to the Cliffs of Moher, which was more expensive but something that would definitely get me to the cliffs without problem.
I was a little worried I wouldn’t get on the tour since I hadn’t booked my ticket in advance. Early Sunday morning I went to the tourist information center and they managed to book a ticket for me, which was awesome.
The first stop was Dunguaire Castle, the most-photographed castle in Ireland. It’s said that if you go to the gates of the castle and ask a question, your question will be answered by evening. I wanted to go ask a question but unfortunately we only stopped at the castle for a few minutes, so I didn’t have time to.
What in the world does that mean? Well, you can look it up on Google, but I like to think of it as hills with lots of weird rocks on them. I don’t know if that description is entirely accurate, but that’s certainly what it looks like to me. It looks very strange up close, but it’s quite interesting.
Next we went to Aillwee Cave, which is a large cave in the Burren landscape. We went inside the cave, which was the darkest cave I’ve been in.
Look, I understand that it will be dark because it’s a cave, but usually they put a lot of lights in those things for visitors.
It was interesting too because the path we followed had a low ceiling at points. For most of these low points I didn’t have to duck, being so short. There were a few places where I had to duck down though.
If I had to duck down, it means it was really low.
At one point we stopped and our guide had us turn out all the lights. He let us stand there in the complete darkness for a few moments.
It was actually rather frightening. I was fine with the darkness at first but when it continued on, it just started to creep me out. It was the darkest dark I’ve ever been in—I couldn’t see anything at all, even after my eyes had adjusted.
Could you imagine being alone in a cave like that and then losing your flashlight? Just thinking about that scares me.
The cave tour only lasted for a half hour, and it wasn’t the best cave tour I’ve been on. There wasn’t a whole lot to see, and it seemed quite short.
After the cave tour we drove to the mini-cliffs, which you can see in the picture on the left. The mini-cliffs only rise, I believe, 70 feet (it was either that or 35 feet, sorry I can’t remember) above the surface of the water. In the picture, in the distance you can see the Cliffs of Moher.
We stopped for lunch then continued on to the Cliffs of Moher.
They were incredible, as you can see from the pictures. The cliffs rise 700 ft (215 m) above the surface of the water, which is so high that I couldn’t even comprehend it until I saw somebody kayaking on the ocean below. He was so incredibly tiny that it gave me some perspective of just how high up we were.
They have a wall built next to the path and signs all over that say “do not go past this wall.”
It’s actually quite scary, in fact, because going past the wall can cause your death. See, the cliffs are constantly eroding, so if you go past the wall onto the grassy area, the ground could literally just crumble beneath your feet.
You can actually find some videos of the cliffs crumbling on youtube, so if you’re interested, look into that.
The cliffs are also dangerous because of the conditions near the cliffs. We were lucky because the day was warm and sunny, but usually it’s rainy and foggy around the cliffs. It’s also always windy by the cliffs. If you get too close to the edge and the wind picks up suddenly, you can be blown right off the edge of the cliff. From that high up, you don’t stand a chance of surviving since hitting the water would be like hitting concrete. And people have died at the Cliffs of Moher; some from suicides, some from accidents.
Let’s just be clear that this is only if you go beyond the barriers they put up for your safety. If you stay beyond the barriers, you will be fine because they’re far away enough from the edge that you don’t have to worry about being blown over.
I made a friend with an Australian girl on the trip who was also travelling alone, so we wandered around the Cliffs of Moher together. We also got ice cream from a little café there.
I love my ice cream.
We stayed at the cliffs for an hour and a half before leaving. When we left, two people hadn’t returned to the tour bus. Our tour guide had to leave them because people on our bus had a bus connection to catch back in Galway, so he needed to get them back there in time.
It was actually quite interesting, because our tour guide said that they would have to put out a search warrant for those two people. If they hadn’t returned within a half hour (or it was maybe an hour, I don’t remember), they would have to send out a search team to find the people.
We also stopped to take a picture of Galway Bay, and then just drove the rest of the way back to Galway. The Cliffs of Moher are quite far from Galway—I think about an hour and a half drive, though this might also depend on the route you take.
For the record, the two people who didn’t show up came back some time later, so they didn’t have to send out a search time.
Also, do the Cliffs of Moher look familiar to you? If you’re a Harry Potter fan, they definitely should, since they were in the movie “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”
When we returned to Galway, I went and bought a pizza from Papa John’s. A large pizza, since they had a special deal for the large pizza.
Hey, don’t judge. It’s not as if I ate the entire pizza in one sitting—I saved a lot of it for breakfast and lunch the next day, and even the day after that.
The rest of that night was filled with pizza, movies, and sleep, all of which were wonderful and helped to prepare me for the next day.