I usually plan trips around new adventures and locations. This time, however, I’m revisiting areas I’ve seen before, like the Cliffs of Moher, through a different lens.
For our first full day in County Cork we took a private tour to the Cliffs of Moher. Private tours may be more expensive depending on the amount of people in your group, but we decided that it was worth the cost.
The day started at 9am sharp with Tony from Munsterbus. My favorite part of any trip is hearing the history of specific areas from a local view point which Tony gladly told us on the long drive.
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and many of the 1916 revolutionaries fighting for Irish independence from Britain came from Cork. This has caused somewhat of a rivalry between the people Cork and Dublin.
Tony said that we should have told people in Dublin that we we’re heading to Cork, the real capital of Ireland. After finding out that Tommy from Dublin told us a joke, Tony followed it up with one of his own:
“There was a group of tourists much like yourselves that visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Up at the alter they saw a gold telephone and asked the priest about it.
He explained, ‘that’s the phone to the man above.’
The tourists asked, ‘really?!’ and he says, ‘yes, and you can call him for 1000 euros.’ The tourists decide that is too expensive and leave without calling from the golden phone.
Later, the tourists find themselves at the St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork and once again they see a gold telephone at the alter. They find the priest and say that they know what that phone is for and why it’s so experience.
The priest looks at them confused and states, “it’s only 1 cent.” The tourists ask how it can be so cheap when it’s 1000 euros in Dublin.
The priest responds, ‘here it’s a local call.'”
A passing view
Our first stop of the day was Limerick. Limerick was once a Viking town until the Vikings encountered the “Irish Secret Weapon.” According to Tony, the Irish Secret Weapon is very powerful and “it starts with a ‘hello, how are ya?’ next thing they know they’re married to us! They come here thinking they’ll conquer us but end up becoming Irish themselves.” And that’s how the Vikings were defeated in Ireland.
He also told us how this weapon has continued to work even during times of the famine. During that time about 2 million left and now roughly 80 million people claim some Irish descent.
“I like to ask everyone if they are Irish when they visit. They used to say they have a little bit of Irish blood. Now after all these DNA tests I hear things like ‘I’m 30% Irish’ or ‘60%’ the statistics have taken over!”-Tony
The Baby Cliffs of Moher
On the way to the top of the Cliffs of Moher we made other stops at the Baby Cliffs and Doolin. In Doolin we hopped an hour long ferry to see the adult sized Cliffs of Moher from the water.
We lucked out on the weather this trip. The previous days were windy and rainy, even Tony was surprised by how we were able to “get away with it.” Some clouds still hovered, but the wind stayed calm and the sun shown through. Despite this, the water was choppy and to avoid my intense sea sickness, I had to pop some Dramamine (never travel without!) before bracing the waves.
Choppy waves on our ferry ride
From the water you get a close-up of the puffins and seagulls on the sea stack and all around you as they dive for food. They are quick and I had a hard time taking photos of them as a novice with a fancy camera.
You also get to stare up at parts of the cliffs you can’t see from the top of them without feeling like you’re risking a plunge into the water. The ferry was my favorite part of this adventure, I’m usually not a fan of boats, but to me it was well worth the up-close look at the cliffs.
Sea Stack at Cliffs of Moher seen from the ferry
After the ferry and a stop over at McGann’s, we went to the top of the cliffs, the view was much the same as I remembered it from 4 years earlier, but it had a slightly different feel without the bracing wind and skin piercing rain of 2015.
Like I mentioned earlier, I usually try to plan trips around areas I’ve never been. However, my family wanted to hit many of the same places I’ve been to. So, when researching for this trip I made sure that they would have the experience at the top of the cliffs, but that the ferry ride and trip over would have something new for me, too.
Puffin captured on camera after many failed attempts
-It’s located in Douglas, Cork which is a bit further from the main tourist areas. However, it was right on a bus route and 7min from the Cork airport. It easily fit the 4 of us and was near some good pubs and a small market.
-Cork is rather far from the cliffs (about 2.5hrs driving). So if you want to see the cliffs but don’t want to move locations/drive I highly recommend this tour. Our guide was amazing and knowledgeable about the history of the area and where the best places were.
-Great food and atmosphere. It doesn’t serve the ‘Dooliner’ as that is specific to one pub, but if you’re not wanting to try it then this would be a good place to stop after the ferry. Had less people and a shorter wait, perfect for a short lunch break.