Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ennis - we see the Cliffs of Moher

          Typical Irish country, we stop many times along the way just to admire

As part of any Bed and Breakfast (B&B), you get a free breakfast included in the price of the room. A typical B&B room in our area of Ireland goes for 65 euros ($85) but if you consider the free breakfast it would only be about 50 euros ($65) or less. You get a full breakfast, not a continental breakfast. This morning I had the Irish breakfast of two slices of Canadian bacon, an Irish sausage, an egg served the way you want it, two tomato halves, a brown and white pudding, all served with toast and coffee. It's enough to fill you up. 

            Flowers, always the flowers in Ireland

Properly fortified, we headed out into the 40 kt gusts and rain. The rain wasn't continuous, it just came and went throughout the day, an annoyance but not a deterrence. The sun even came out sporadically, enough to take a few pictures of the beautiful countryside. 

       The burial place of a great tribal leader 4000 years ago

The area was all covered with loose stone, I can't imagine why anyone would want to live there. This is not the household settlement mentioned below but rather a much earlier culture.

        Note how thin the stone wall is and yet it has stood for 100's of years

We saw family settlements dated to 700 AD that were surrounded by stone walls that were dry stacked (no mortar) up to 12 ft high. There were 45,000 such "round forts" at one time in Ireland.  It was like a barnyard, about the same size and it kept the household animals in and unwanted animals out. The outside pens were also made of dry stacked stones that look strange to those familiar with stone walls in New England. The stones were stacked on edge, not laying flat as in New England stone walls. They could get away with that in Ireland since there were no frosts with the associated frost heaves to disturb the wall.

     At the tippy top you can just barely make out a few dots, those are people on top!

At the next stop was one of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen, the Cliffs at Mohar. They are located at the Atlantic shore on the western edge of Ireland and they are sheer cliffs of stone that drop straight down to the Atlantic 600 ft below. Photos do not do them justice, they are awe inspiring. Before they built retaining walls, there were reports of people being blown off by the high winds coming off the Atlantic. 

           How's this for a dry dock?

We're now in Ennis on our southern loop back to Dublin by Tuesday. The weather is supposed to improve (ha!) but we're still enjoying ourselves, Ireland is beautiful.