Friday, 16 June 2017

Skelligs Island - Wild Atlantic Way (Part Two)

On the way to Skelligs Island

Hundreds of puffins nest Skelligs Micheal  island

The `steps` are slabs of rock and its very steep
View from a third of the way up the island, the sky is full of birds

One of the highlights of our trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, the beautiful, raw Skelligs Micheal Island. A World Heritage Site made even more famous thanks to the filming of a Star Wars scene set on the island. Originally four monks rowed out to the island to set up a monastery.

Rising majestically from the sea, Skellig Michael towers 714ft (218 metres) above sea level. We stayed two nights in The Ferry House bed and breakfast in Portmagee. The boats out to the island sail from Portmagee. We paid 75 Euro each for the trip which allows three hours on the island and takes just over an hour to get there.

Skellig Micheal is also home to hundreds of puffins and gulls. The puffins are quite tourist friendly and allow you to take photo`s close to them. Such a honour to watch these little birds busy about their day.

The steps to the top of Skelligs Micheal are simply slabs of rock, there is nothing to hold onto on the way up.  The same steps have to accommodate everyone coming down too.  It is a frightening experience and not for the faint hearted.  Its worth noting there are no toilets on the island so go easy on the coffee before you leave your hotel. We got completely soaked on the boat trip back even though we were given some waterproofs by the skipper.
Take a change of clothes if you are not staying very close to the harbour.

Portmagee itself is a lovely place.  The fabulous Kerry cliffs are just a few miles walk away.

Kerry Cliffs at Portmagee, Skelliggs islands in background.
Me left and sister Maggie of the cliffs of Kerry
Portmagee - Kerry


Kerry Cliffs 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way Trip (Part One)

Meeting in Dublin my sister Maggie and I were starting out on our own ten day independent trip along part of the Wild Atlantic Way Ireland`s fabulous western coastline.  We took the train across the country to Galway the main starting point of our trip.


Galway Harbour

Watching the Music

After booking into the Victoria Hotel near the station we headed off to explore Galway and what a joy it was. We wandered down towards the harbour stopping to watch live bands and Irish dancers performing outside the tiny pubs and cafes.  The brightly coloured shops and houses sat in cobbled streets and led to a pretty bridge where water rushed over rocks. The Cathedral hogged the horizon one way while the harbour wall and the great Atlantic Ocean met the sky in the other direction. Boats with large red sails and others, copies of original Viking ships impressively hugged the harbour wall. When we spoke to one of the skippers they said Galway is the City of Culture this year and the boats were there for a carnival the following week.

Music played from giant speakers and tourists sat with students on the grass enjoying the evening. It is an amazing beautiful place and we were both a little sorry to leave Galway the next day to continue our adventure.

Galway Harbour


Travelling by train from Galway, my sister and I arrived in Ennis. We had booked a two night stay in the Auburn Lodge Hotel and Leisure Centre ( Galway Road, Ennis, Ireland)  a few miles away from the town centre. We paid  110 euros per night for a twin room with breakfast.  There was no extra charge for the very good leisure facilities.  We swam, boiled, steamed and relaxed before our planned trip to the Cliffs of Mohor the next day. 

Coastline on the way to Cliffs of Mohor

We booked our trip to the cliffs of Mohor through the hotel and paid a very reasonable 27 euros each which included being collected at the hotel. A mini bus arrived with 7 other tourists and off we went. Driving through some lovely countryside we made a few stops at places on interest along the way. A manor house with the story of a red headed Irish woman, and ancient tomb and a lovely place for lunch.

Cafe Stop of way to cliffs of Mohor

Then we were pulling into the car park and walking up the steep path to the highlight of the day. The cliffs of Mohor are stunning, with us mere mortals looking very small in comparison. Photos do not do justice to the waves throwing themselves relentlessly at the jagged rocks. The cry of the seabirds who nest on the cliff face and the vast expanses of sea. Your eyes are greedy to take it all in and search the horizon hoping you might see a rare whale.  It is beautiful, surreal and we felt very lucky the sun had come out so we could see it all at its best.

The Cliffs of Mohor - Co Claire Ireland

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