It’s no secret that I absolutely love Ireland. I visited the country for the first time recently and fell in love with it. The people are friendly, the country is beautiful, and the beer is delicious. What isn’t to love about it?
My travel buddy Laura and I had arranged our own trip to Ireland and were staying at the Barnacles Hostel in the heart of the Temple Bar District. If you enjoy a centralized location that’s fairly cheap and is right in the middle of the fun, I highly recommend this hostel. Two of our friends, Matt and Chris, were also in Dublin so the four of us coordinated a day trip to see the famous Cliffs of Moher.
We booked our trip with the Irish Day Tours touring company and only paid 46 Euros per person. The only caveat was we had to meet at the bus stop at 6:15 in the morning. I needed a little bit of Irish coffee to make it at that hour, but nevertheless we all made it on the bus!
It had been raining the first two days of our trip but had thankfully stopped for our tour. We drove through the Irish countryside and I slept. It was dark out anyways, so thought I might as well rest up for my adventure.
The first stop of the tour was at the Barack Obama Plaza. Yes, you read that right. I was asleep when our tour guide explained it so you can only imagine my surprise when I woke up and saw the name ‘Barack Obama’ plastered everywhere. As the story goes, Obama’s ancestors were from that region in Ireland and they decided to name a new rest stop after him. The Irish absolutely love it, and so do American democrats. Regardless, I had to take a picture of it and laugh.
By this point it had started to rain and I was afraid that our trip would be ruined because of it. I’m not one to worry about precipitation but there was a definite possibility that we would be unable to see the cliffs. Sadly, I was right.
The clouds were blocking our view of the cliffs and a heavy mist was falling on us. We walked to one end of the viewing section and all the way to the other, hoping that there was a place where the sun was shining. After wandering around for nearly an hour, the four of us decided to give up and go to the indoor exhibition. While we were in the gift shop looking at souvenirs I just happened to look out the doors and see that the sun was actually shining! I rallied the troops and we all hurried outside to try and see the cliffs.
Believe it or not, the clouds had blown away and we could see the cliffs and coastline extending in both directions. There were only about 30 minutes before our tour left so we had to take as many pictures as we could. The views were absolutely stunning. It makes you realize how massive the world is. I was in awe of the beauty in front of us. I could have stayed there all day long and hiked along the cliffs but sadly I had a tour schedule to stick to.
Our next stop on the tour was the quaint little town of Doolin. We ate lunch there and I had some delicious and fresh clam chowder. It was so good and even rivaled the famous San Francisco chowder. As a native Californian, I feel like that’s the highest honor to give chowder. Laura and I went to the restroom and when we headed back to the bus we found that Matt and Chris were taking pictures with these random people that I had never seen before. Apparently they were Pepperdine students from the Lausanne program who were also on a trip around Ireland. What are the odds? I didn’t know any of them but we said hello and got back on our bus.
When we first got on the bus, our tour guide had said that we would be going to a place that looked like the moon. I had forgotten about it completely (because I fell asleep in 4.1 seconds), so imagine my surprise when we reached these beautiful limestone rocks! As a forewarning, big clunky rain boots did not make it easy to scale the rocks with. Even though they had served me well during the rain of the morning, it was difficult to walk around and climb with them on. Then again, you might not be as crazy as I am and just prefer to admire the scenery from the road.
After our “moon landing” excursion, our tour group took us to Corcomroe Abbey, a 13th century monastery in County Clare. It was in ruins but still showcased beautiful architecture and gravestones. We did not have lots of time there but I still enjoyed walking around the grounds.
As our tour bus wound back through the scenic countryside towards Dublin, I was reminded of how fortunate I was to be living this life. Here I was, on a Thursday in the middle of November, touring around Ireland with some of my best friends. In just four short days I would be sitting back in class planning my next adventure. There was so much adventure out in the world and I was able to experience it. Ireland is much different from my own hometown in California. To begin with, everything was green because they actually have water. But despite the differences, the Irish people were all the same. Cultural differences might separate us but as humans we are all so similar. And I want to go out and meet those people. Talk to them, admire the places they call home, appreciate the world for what it holds. Call it insanity, but I just call it a love of travel.