Last weekend was a bank holiday here in Ireland which gave us all the persuasion we needed to get away for a few nights. Being a student on a limited budget however meant ruling out the bright lights of Paris or London this time. We decided to stay put in Ireland and after looking into a few places along the west coast we stumbled across a picture perfect cottage in Doolin, Co. Clare.
For anyone who is not familiar with the town, Doolin is about a one hour drive from Galway or a three hour drive from Dublin. Situated next to the amazing Burren, it is the gateway to the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher as well as being known for it’s lively pubs which have traditional live music every night. There are plenty of opportunities to get your feet wet with surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding on offer as well as mountain biking and spectacular walking trails for those who prefer to stay above the waves.
Choosing to go anywhere in Ireland in late October can be risky as you can just never depend on the weather, (you could say the same for summer too) but we were fortunate enough to get three perfect days.
With the weather being surprisingly calm, we took advantage by heading out on a one hour boat trip to see the spectacular 200 metre tall Cliffs of Moher from below. Looking up and seeing the little specs that are people on top really gives you perspective as to just how high they really are. We were even greeted by a pod of dolphins who put on a show for us as they followed the boat out from the pier. Several companies offer these trips at different times throughout the day so you should have no problem fitting one in, even if you’re tight on time.
If you would prefer to stay on land, the Cliffs can be viewed all along the 20km coastal walk from Doolin to Liscannor which includes the visitor centre along the way. Most people only walk a portion of the way and get the shuttle bus back to where they started.
After a long day of sightseeing and walking, it was time to head back to Doolin and find somewhere for dinner. Luckily there’s no shortage of pubs offering a warm fire and a big menu. We decided on Gus O’ Connors as we were drawn in by the music as we were walking past. The mix of locals and visitors added to the atmosphere and you could easily settle in for the night if you fancied it.
The following day included a drive along the scenic Wild Atlantic Way to the towns of Lahinch and Spanish Point. Every bend and corner you navigate gives you another reason to pull in and appreciate the rugged beauty of this part of the world. A quick game of pitch & putt on what could be one of the most scenic pitch & putt courses in the world rounded off a great few days in Doolin.
When the time came to say goodbye to Doolin, there was still one last place to visit. For any fans of the show Father Ted, which is just about every single person in Ireland I think, the famous house is located about a 30 minute drive from Doolin. We got the obligatory picture outside and had a chat with some other fans who had shown up before we set off on our journey home.
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