I’ll probably end up saying this more than once, but our second morning in Ireland definitely ranks up there as one of my favorite parts of the trip. We woke up bright and early, pulling back the curtains to this view of the golf course we had played the previous afternoon.
Our plan was to get to the dock in Liscannor by 7:30 for a Cliffs of Moher cruise with Doolin2Aran Ferries, so we grabbed some pastries and coffee to go for the group. I particularly enjoyed the square ones made with chocolate chips. Yum.
We ended up getting to the boat a little earlier than the crew – in fact, there was no one in sight anywhere! For a brief moment we thought we had gone to the wrong dock, but Mike assured us we were in the right place. A few minutes later, the crew arrived…
…and we realized that somehow we had lucked out and gotten the cruise all to ourselves!
It was an absolutely perfect day on the water, with crystal clear skies and warm sunshine. Our captain said it doesn’t get any calmer, which is perfect for sensitive stomachs (not naming any names…just pointing to myself) – and cliff viewing, too.
As we glided across the water, I kept expecting to see the Cliffs of Moher at every turn, but we ended up having a lot of time to just take in the beauty of the ocean itself. All of us kept looking at each other and saying, “This is amazing.”
When we reached the southernmost point of the cliffs – Hag’s Head – amazement became awe.
The point was named due to the rock formation that resembles a head looking out to sea. There is also a lookout tower on top of the cliff, which one of our guides explained was an early form of “emailing” important information across long distances. 😉
It was also right around Hag’s Head that we first noticed the jellyfish. And I really do mean the jellyfish, plural, because there were literally thousands if not millions of them – though I can’t promise my estimation skills are accurate. At first we were slightly terrified – not exactly calm waters anymore! – but we quickly realized it was ridiculously cool. I took a short video to capture it. Please feel free to ignore my commentary.
We continued cruising and enjoying the views until we came across this cave. The guide casually said, “Yeah, that’s where they filmed the Harry Potter movie.” Obviously, he didn’t realize I was a superfan. I think my reaction may have cleared that up for him, though.
“OH MY GOSH IT’S THE CAVE FROM HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE!”
That alone would have been enough for me. But then there was Branaunmore, aka “the sea stack.”
We could hear the birds singing from far away, but it wasn’t until the captain steered the boat right up next to it that we really got a feel for just how many nests there were. The stack is, well, stacked with them. There is no zoom in this photo – we were really that close!
Once we’d gotten our fill of music, we made our way toward Doolin and snapped a family picture.
We had planned to go straight back to see the cliffs from above, but Mike suggested we make one quick stop on the way, and once again we were so glad he did. I give you, The Burren.
It’s amazing to me that you can be at the Cliffs of Moher and then a few kilometers away, come across this massive lunar-like limestone landscape (say that three times fast).
It literally has been likened to walking on the moon. The surface was uneven, to say the least, and there was a moment where my fear of heights got to me as I watched my dad and Bobby jump across a small fissure in the cliff.
Yeah, okay, it wasn’t actually that big of a jump. But it felt like it. This photo hides my terror.
Still, it was absolutely breathtaking and I’m really glad we had the chance to see it!
After walking around, we made our way back to the Cliffs of Moher for a different perspective.
Honestly, I couldn’t get enough. I wish it was possible to bottle this view. It will be framed!
We also walked over to O’Brien’s Tower, which was built in 1835.
We could’ve stayed all day, but there was more excitement to come: a tee time at Lahinch!
We arrived early enough to grab lunch. I had the seafood chowder, which was creamy and delicious.
We all decided to enjoy a Guinness, too. The rumors are true: the best Guinness really is in Ireland.
The nice weather stayed with us all afternoon, making for a perfect day on the course.
We enjoyed more views of the water (this one en route to hole three)…
And stunning views on the fairways, as well – that is, when we weren’t searching for our balls in the high grass! This course was definitely a challenge, with a lot of blind shots that required faith in strategically placed white stones at the top of the hills.
Toward the end of the round we saw the standard grass-fed cows and historical ruins.
We also ran into a few friends sunbathing right off the tee boxes on the 14th hole.
I ended up shooting 92. Not my best, but the group finished one under par on the 18th hole (Bobby and I both had birdies!), which boded well for the next round. We made our way back to Doonbeg for dinner at Morissey’s Bar & Restaurant.
In what had already become a trend, the Irish bread basket was delicious.
More Guinness was consumed by all, including the almost-21-year-old and his photobomber.
I decided to go for the homemade Angus beef burger and French fries…er, chips. The latter was yet another food item we all loved in Ireland. They were the perfect size and not too greasy.
We had wanted to check out some live music in Doonbeg, but it wasn’t planned to start for a few hours and the jet lag + early wake-up call had us fading fast. We decided to have one more relaxed evening in, knowing that the best pubs were coming the next day when we reached Killarney.