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The Cliffs of Moher and The Aran Islands

 

The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare & the Aran Islands

After crossing Ireland’s largest river the Shannon by car ferry you’ll arrive in Kilrush, Co. Clare. The Lonely Planet best described the area: “Clare combines the stunning natural beauty of its long and meandering coastline with unique windswept landscapes and dollops of Irish culture”. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way & effectively a peninsula due to it been boarded all three sides by water. The remoteness of the county has given it a unique charm. The Aran Islands out to its west also hold a similar windswept isolated beauty just as steeped in tradition & history. We’ve taken a look at some of our favourite highlights you’ll come across in this beautiful landscape.

 

Cliffs of Moher 

The world famous Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. At 700 ft tall they are by no means the highest cliffs in Ireland, but their length and almost mathematical proportions are simply breathtaking. On a clear day you can look out to the Aran Island & across to Connemara in Galway. The cliffs are home to range of sea birds including: Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots and birds of prey like the Peregrine. They take refuge in the cliffs nocks & cranes. At the cliffs highest point you’ll find O’Briens Tower. Built in 1835 by Cornelius O’Brien, a descendant of Brain Boru, the high king of Ireland. He was a man ahead of his time & believed that the development would bring tourism to the area and benefit the local economy.

 

 

Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher

Traditional Irish Music 

At a time when the British were attempting to subdue Irish culture, Co. Clare put up a strong resistance. This can be seen the strong presence of traditional Irish music to this day. While other elements of Irish culture such as the language might be dwindling. Music is still as strong as ever there. The small town of Doolin, which lies between the Cliffs of Moher & the Burren is considered by many as the capital of traditional music in Ireland.

While travelling through Clare there will be opportunities to experience a traditional Irish music session. Just ask your tour guide in advance if you wish to see one.

 

Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher

Music Session Co. Clare

The Burren

The limestone lunar landscape that covers much of Northern Clare is called the Burren. Formed 350 million years ago when tropical seas covered Ireland. Early removal of woodland led to soil erosion, which in turn exposed the limestone beneath. Due to the relative softness of the rock, the whole plateau is essentially a honeycomb of underground caves. The Ailwee caves are one of the best know. The Burren is a unique place where alpine & arctic flowers can be seen growing side by side. You’ll also find a large number of ancient archeological sites. Fine examples of such include the Poulnabrone dolmen  & the Cahermore ring fort.

While on tour there will be plenty of opportunity to explore this landscape and check out the ancient archeological sites.

 

Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher

The Burren Landscape

 

The Aran Islands

Located at the mouth of Galway Bay & home to the Aran Sweeter. The Aran Islands are a break from the hustle & bustle of the main land. Been a Gaeltacht area, the primary language of the inhabitants is Irish. If you drop into the local store you many even hear them conversing in it. There are three islands; Inis Mor, Inis Oirr & Inis Mean. Each has its own distinctive charm & can be explored easily by bike, horse & cart or mini bus. Inis Mor is home to Dun Aonghasa, one of the finest examples of a semi-circular stone fort in Europe which is located on the edge of 300 ft cliffs looking out to the Atlantic.

The Aran Islands is an optional stop on our tours. Should you choose to go, you’ll be dropped of at the Ferry in Doolin in the morning and our guides will pick you up in  Ros a’ Mhíl, Co. Galway later that evening.

Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher

Inis Mor, Aran Islands

 

If you would like to know more about visiting county Clare on a tour of Ireland, contact us on info@vagabond.ie.

 

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