Ireland Trip – Cliffs of Moher

On my last day of touring before the conference, I decided to visit the Cliffs of Moher.  I had seen pictures, but it’s hard to really comprehend how amazing the cliffs actually are.

It took a few hours to get there.  When I arrived, it was raining and cold.  I decided to put on my full wet weather gear – waterproof jacket and coat, with my waterproof hiking boots.  The only part of me that got wet was my gloves, which were still warm, but wet.

As I walked into the visitor area of the Cliffs of Moher, I immediately noticed a map that detailed a lengthy hike along the cliffs (about 20 km total).  I didn’t realize there was a hike.  That got me excited, though I was really thinking, “I’m going to have to come back here and do the entire hike on a nice day.”  Despite the weather, I decided I’d do at least a little hiking. I started my hike by walking up toward O’Brien’s Tower near the visitor’s center.  I then walked about a kilometer past there along the cliffs.

As I walked back toward the other side of the visitor’s area, I saw another tower far in the distance.

Cliffs of Moher from near the Visitor's Center. You can almost see the Moher Tower on the very last cliff to the right in this photo.
Cliffs of Moher from near the Visitor’s Center. You can almost see the Moher Tower on the very last cliff to the right in this photo (at this resolution, it’s a little tiny dot).

Since I was warm and feeling pretty good, I decided to hike to the other tower, not really knowing how far it was or even what it was.

I started hiking and didn’t pass many people, just a few who were also crazy enough to be hiking in that weather.  None of them were bundled up like I was, though, so most were just trying to get back to comfort.  One group of hikers stopped and took a photo for me:

Me nearing Moher Tower on Hag's Head in the not yet terrible weather.
Me nearing Moher Tower on Hag’s Head in the not yet terrible weather.

It took about an hour, but I finally made it to the tower.  It turns out it is an old signal tower, Moher Tower, built a couple hundred years ago that has been left to ruin.  It’s on a cliff called the Hag’s Head.

Moher Tower on Hag's Head cliff.
Moher Tower on Hag’s Head cliff.

Just as I arrived at the tower, the storm got much worse, leading to a white out.  I couldn’t see more than about 15 feet in front of me.  With a tower at hand, and no one around, I made use of it and went inside, sheltering from the wind for about 15 minutes while I ate a few Starbursts and waited for the wind to die down.

After that, I headed back to the visitor’s center.  It took about an hour and ended up being 2.84 miles one way (so, 5.6 miles round trip).

I was still warm and dry (aside from my hands) when I got back.  I stopped in the visitor’s center for a few minutes, then headed out.

I stopped in Ennistimon for soup on the way to Limerick, which is where the conference was and where the next house where I would be staying was.  As I was passing through Ennistimon, I saw the coolest cemetery and had to stop to take some photos:

On the way to Limerick I saw a sign on the freeway that said “Craughaun Cemetery.”  Thinking it might some how be related to “Cragun,” I pulled off to check it out.  Turns out it is a cemetery with an ancient passage tomb in the cemetery (but no noticeable Craughaun’s buried there; I looked for a while):

The passage tomb in Craughaun Cemetery.
The passage tomb in Craughaun Cemetery.

I arrived in Limerick in the evening. Limerick turned out to be quite nice.  I saw a little bit of it here and there when I wasn’t in the conference.  The conference was great.  It was at Mary Immaculate College, was very professionally run, and is likely going to result in a book chapter for me.  I also met a number of great people, some of whom I may work with in the future.  I spent a couple of days in Limerick, then flew home, just in time for Toren’s birthday party.

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