The Cliffs of Moher were first on tap today. It was hard to get an early start after dancing most of the night with Ian and Mick at the Fire in Cairo concert. Fire in Cairo is the Cure tribute band that was playing across the alley from my hotel. And for the record, Limerick just became my second favorite town.
But I asked the hotel to please have my breakfast ready at 7, so I felt sort of obligated. And even though it was hard to get started, it was totally worth it!
I drove right to the Cliffs.
I walked to the top of the north end and the view was magnificent.
I also paid the extra Euro to walk beside the electrified fence to get to the “special” viewing area. That seems a bit risky to me, it took me a bit to figure out it wasn’t part of the official tour, but by that point I was fully committed.
Ian and Mick told me the view is even more impressive from the bottom. Since the only way to see that is by boat, I went to Doolin to buy a ticket. In my mind, I was already replaying the scene from The Princess Bride where Vizzini took Buttercup right up to the Cliffs of Insanity and the Dred Pirate Robins sails right in behind them. Such a beautiful, peaceful journey for those who stay on board, and of course I wasn’t going over…
While I was in Doolin, I stumbled across a cafe called Sonas! I would have asked them to take a picture of my new neck tattoo under their sign, but it was a popular place and they were very busy.
Anyhow, Ian and Mick already assured me it meant happy, though we’d had a bit of Guinness first, so I’m still after a sober second opinion.
So I only had an hour until the boat left and I still had to find the dock.
When I did find it, there were tons of people already waiting to board. I asked the attendant which boat it was and it told me the John B and then he said “it’s quite famous”. I should have asked why. Was it for rescuing the most people who fell over? For tipping over less than all the others? For tipping over more than any others? We will never know…
While we waited on the pier, a dolphin swam over and played around right next to us. I’m not saying it was Fungie, the famous Dingle dolphin that I never got the chance to see, but perhaps Fungie was feeling the loss as well?
So the boat pulled up. It was shiny and white. Hundreds of people started boarding, much like the Titanic. Turned out it wasn’t my boat. I was kinda sad watching the big ship steam away into the distance, but then our little boat appeared. Yes, friends, the John B is small but mighty.
Those of us that were left on the dock quickly boarded and suddenly I realized there was a God. As we left the dock, pitching and bucking with each of the swells, I found out some amazing American tourists were sitting beside me, and they’d survived the trip before! After they talked me down, I found out one of them was a local PTA President from Alpharetta, Georgia (Go Raiders!)
The opportunity to “talk shop” on the voyage not only distracted me from the violent washing machine spin cycle like motions, it also let me recruit another PTA unit to our newest program, the National PTA School of Excellence. You can find more information at PTA.org/excellence. (Hello tax write off!)
Eventually the crew members came and opened the door and told us we could go out on the prow of the boat. My compatriots had wisely told me it wasn’t as bad out in the open air so I bravely strutted out. And by strutted I mean I just about crawled, clutching the railing and the opposite wall as I inched along. I almost gave up when I had to try to climb the steps. Mostly because the violent pitching was making it hard to put my foot on the step. I did it though and climbed out to the magnificent view.
The kids from Georgia were all leaning over the railing and laughing and enjoying the ride which also helped settle my nerves and definitely made me want to appear to enjoy the hellish jostling.
Eventually the seas calmed a bit until we only had about 30 or 40 meter swells. I’m guessing. I don’t do metrics. It was less rough enough for me to even stumble back to the bow to take a few more pictures.
After we made it safely to shore, I drove back to Lisconnar to have a bit of tea at Egan’s.
My coworker Chris told me her in-laws would be there and I would love it. Her in-laws weren’t but I did. And their wifi system gave me a chance to plot a route from Lisconnar to Galway by way of the Burren, because sometimes you need just a little bit more excitement to remind you that you are alive. Or as I like to call it Corkscrew Hill.
If you’ve read my earlier blog entries, you know that the roads here tend to be a bit narrow. And windy. And steep. Corkscrew Hill makes them look like the Talladega straightaway. It’s like Lombard Street on speed. I zig zagged down at a snail’s pace. The Burren was interesting too.
I finally arrived in Galway at rush hour, totally appreciating the lack of a stick shift in my car back home. My hotel was actually in Saltview and since I assumed the ring museum was already closed, I went straight to the hotel. Parking is in the public beach lot a couple of blocks away but right on the banks of Galway Bay.
Sadly, each pub in Salthill had wifi that seemed to work long enough for me to order a pint and upload one photo and then quit. While that gave me an opportunity to visit each of the pubs, it made uploading my epic post impossible!
Thankfully I found a McDonalds on my way out-of-town. after I update you, I will be heading to Sligo where I hope to see Sligo Abbey, Parkes Castle, Knocknarea, and possibly the inside of a laundromat. Wish you were here!