Posts Tagged ‘ireland’


The Cliffs of Moher on the Western Coast of Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher on the Western Coast of Ireland

One or two tourists plummet to their deaths on the rocky shores below and suddenly it is no longer “safe”. Luckily for me my tour guide in Ireland was not particularly fond of rules or regulations, in fact I could go as far as to say he did not like them one bit. Instead of leading us bravely along the newly built tourist area he dropped us off in a sheep field only to drive off. He might have been laughing, or it could have been the sheep.

Our instructions: Walk down the path until you reach a barb wire fence, follow the fence for sixty, no, one hundred meters until you guys reach a wooden stool that will let you step over the fence. Once over the fence follow it down towards the cliff edge, eventually you will reach another fence. Follow this along the edge of the cliff to the left. After a bit you will climb over the fence again this time to a path. Follow the path along the cliff, enjoy the views, and finally go over the safety wall into the official area.

None of us really remembered it past the first fence. But it is hard to get lost when your options are: away from ocean, away from big cliffs, towards ocean and towards big cliffs. The fields were surprisingly spares in the way of sheep, their presence however was evident.

More astonishing then the cliffs themselves was the unregulated nature of the paths (from someone who lived in Safety World). The cliffs were very shear with plenty of sharp pointy rocks at the bottom. My favorite edge was a flat slab of stone with a slight undercut. I wanted to look over the edge, with the wind gusting in every direction at once I thought it best to not stand at the edge and lean over. I might drop my camera that way. I crawled to the edge and managed a peek over.

The remainder of the path wound along the edge, going from a foot to half a dozen from the edge. After a few iffy gusts of wind the group made it to the official area. The official area was no fun what so ever. In the name of safety there exists three foot high slabs of slate holding back a grassy burm that creates a nice good four feet between the edge and themselves. There was also a gift store, gotta love gift stores.

If I had only gone to the official area I would not like the Cliffs of Moher, in fact they would have been nothing more then a photo in a string of camera stops. It might have helped that I had a nice clear day, surprising how those sometimes seem to help.

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Now for questions I have been asked. Well, questions I might be asked since I have not actually been asked any questions by anyone other then myself.

So Michael, what about pre-planned or pre-packaged trips like bus tours?

What a great questions. I have used four tours companies before in: China, Scotland and Ireland. The first was Overseas Adventure Travel with a three week trip in China. The next two were in Scotland: Haggis Adventures and was MacBackpackers. I then did two trips with Paddywagon in Ireland.

OAT is geared more towards travelers in their fifties and above, I was on the trip because my parents and grandmother were planning to go to China and I wanted in. It was a very good trip and I would recommend it to the older and non-hostel crowd. For the duration of the trip you have one guide (though in China we also had local guides) to help with everything.

The other three were more for the 20-30 crowd, overnights were in hostels though some (Paddywagon) allows upgrades to bed and breakfasts. All are bus tours of the areas of interest, I signed up because it was hard to get to where I wanted to go by train and I had no car. Out of the three I went on I found MacBackpackers to be the best with the best guide out all of them. Haggis was good but my trip was only a day trip without overnights. I chose Paddywagon since their tours fit into my schedule the best, they were larger and a bit more impersonal. The one in Northern Ireland was a lot better then the one in the Republic of Ireland. The alternative to Paddywagon in Ireland would be Shamrocker (a cousin to Haggis Adventures). I I recommend the Scotland tours, especially MacBackerpackers Isle of Skye trip, I think Ireland would have been better if I was traveling with someone I knew and we had a rental car.

Are there anymore questions?

Not yet, but I would like to end this series by saying the most important thing to do is relax while traveling and enjoy the trip.

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