Europe, Ireland

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher & The Aran Islands

Europe Ireland

This past month, I had the pleasure of taking a 9-day trip to see Dublin, Galway, Doolin, Howth, Belfast, and parts of North Ireland. I had always wanted to visit some parts of Ireland/the UK, especially having studied it extensively as a political science major. Last fall, I decided Ireland was my next destination, and I made a plan for September 2017 (the flight deals on Aer Lingus didn’t hurt).

As a newcomer to the country, I obviously had to visit the Cliffs of Moher, regarded as Ireland’s second most popular attraction for tourists (the Guinness Storehouse is number one). Since I like to mix my trips up with a little adventure, I decided to take a full-day tour out of Galway that included the Aran Islands, a cliff tour from the water, and a cliff tour from atop the spectacular natural formation.

The day started out with the typical Irish overcast sky, contributing to the eerie beauty that sweeps over the rolling hills to the horizon. We took the bus past some famous landmarks in County Clare, and arrived at Doolin just before 11AM. I was nervous to ride a ferry across the choppy Irish Sea, but the boat stabilizers were so impressive that I was perfectly fine by the time I landed on the Aran Islands.

The Aran Islands

Just a couple miles off of mainland Ireland, the Aran Islands are a mystical little oceanic collection of villages inhabited by families who have never even left the island. We were able to explore a castle, ruins, lighthouses, and even a cemetery with tombstones older than 600-years! Plus, the water surrounding the island was a crisp, gorgeous aqua blue that made me feel like I was somewhere in the Caribbean.

Next, we hopped on the ferry and toured the cliffs from the water. The captains shared the mythical tales that surround the cliff peaks, and also shed light on the history that shaped the land. We toured the cliffs during a misting storm, so I wasn’t able to get the clearest of shots (but that’s ok, I was hanging on to the railing for my stabilization).

The Cliffs of Moher

If you plan on visiting Ireland, you MUST see the Cliffs of Moher. There’s nothing quite as grandiose, terrifying, and humbling all at the same time as these cliffs. It is a big tourist destination, so you’ll want to leave plenty of time to walk the miles-long path that wraps around the entire cliff formation. There’s even a path that connects down to Doolin if you want to make a full day of it.

With the cliffs being as breathtaking as you can imagine, by the time the tour was over, I was absolutely exhausted and happily met with a warm beef stew and pint of Guinness at one of Galway’s charming pubs. I would definitely recommend the island plus cliff tour if you ever get the chance! Already planning my next Irish trip to Cork as we speak…

For more information on which tour company I used, click here.

Contributed by Alexandra Fasulo