Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ireland Day 5

After our night on the Dingle peninsula, we were off to catch a ferry (great advice that our hostess gave us so that we could cut about 1.5 hours of driving from the trip. On the way to the ferry, we stopped in Tralee for the requisite coffees and some breakfast - we happened across Aine's Cafe on the Square. You can see my bagel with bacon and eggs below. It was perfectly decent, though the tortilla chip garnish was a bit strange.

We pulled up to the Tarbert - Killimer ferry with five minutes to spare, lucky us. It only took about 20 minutes to cross, and then we headed to Kilkee for our first cliff walk. From Kilkee, you can park at the westernmost bit of the road that runs along the seafront and then go for a stunning walk - it's pretty steep at points but worth it for the views you get from the top.

We were all feeling refreshed from the brisk sea air and sunshine and piled back into the car to head to Lahinch beach. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Ireland's beaches - they were much better than any beaches I've been to in the UK and seemed to have beautiful sandy and clean expanses.

But the real centerpiece of the day was the Cliffs of Moher. P's friend gave us a tip to go past the visitor's center - about 800m away there's a little place to pull over and park, and then you can follow the footpath to get a much better view of the cliffs, without all the busloads of tourists. Again, the hike is a steep one - some parts of it seem close to vertical - but there are some rough steps carved in to help and once you get to the top you won't mind the hard work getting there.

We eventually pulled ourselves away from the view and headed back down as we knew we still had a way to go to get to our resting place for the evening. The drive around Black Head and the Burren showed us some of the most unusual scenery of the trip (sadly I was driving so I don't have any pictures, but imaging a rocky landscape that looks like it would fit right in on another planet). As we passed through Ballyvaughn, there was a lovely harbor and a pretty little pub nearby, so we stopped for a pint. After arranging our arrival time with our last host, we got to our Airbnb in Kinvara, which was undoubtedly the best accommodation of the whole trip. Since the house was right in the middle of town, we scrapped our original plans to drive to Galway for the evening and decided to have dinner in Kinvara and find some live music afterwards. This turned out to be an excellent choice.

Our Airbnb host recommended the Pier Head for dinner. It is situated on the water, with gorgeous views and a warm atmosphere inside. The waiter sold me on the fresh Irish lobster that had been caught that morning, while A and P opted for steaks, and C had some enormous prawns. We washed it all down with a couple of bottles of Y series Yalumba wine (letting P pick Australian wine was a good idea).

Full and happy, we walked about 50 meters to Connolly's for more Irish trad music. This night, there was a fiddler, accordionist and lute player - a guitarist also showed up later to join in. 

We had heard that Kinvara pubs would all be full of live music, so left briefly to see if there was anything else we wanted to catch, but quickly realized that Connolly's was the only game in town. But it was enough for us to have an excellent last evening in Ireland.

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