The Cliffs of Moher

May 14, 2009

I didn't know a lot about the Cliffs of Moher before the trip. It definitely was a must see, but I didn't expect much, as there are so many amazing cliffs on the islands of the Adriatic. But I wasn't prepared for what I saw. The Cliffs of Moher are spectacular, to say the least.

As you climb the first cliff from the visitor center, you feel safe as there's a concrete fence to keep you from falling into the foamy sea, but once you have disregarded the polite request to not go any further, you unexpectedly realize that you suffer from the fear of heights. All of a sudden you don't dare to look down any more, so you try to walk far from the edge by letting the tourists who're already going back take the precarious seaward side of the precipice. There's something that forces you to go beyond and to face your fear, so you go on until it's only you and the waves crashing against the rocks, the sea gulls shrieking in the distance and the wind roaring.

Except that I didn't have the courage to go beyond the fence, but here's a photo of those who did.

Easter Sunday in Galway

May 12, 2009

Upon saying our goodbyes to the owner and his missus and after patting their cute little springer spaniels, we left Moycullen and headed for Galway, one of the five European Rising Stars, according to Fodor's.

It was a warm and sunny day, one of those lazy Sundays, when everything seems to be in slow motion, with no hurry and no rush. The exact opposite of what we're used to. Given the circumstances, who wouldn't like Galway, with its old historical center and quirky little shops, situated where the River Corrib meets the sea. It's called the cultural capital of Ireland, but since we were there in the morning only, we didn't get to feel the other, more vibrant side of the city, neither did we learn what mighty craic really means. Well, not yet, and not there.

I can't leave Galway without mentioning The Claddagh Ring. The Claddagh is a fishermen's village and the Ring is absolutely stunning. Its design features two hands holding a heart with a crown upon it. Some would say it means "With my two hands I give you my heart, and crown it with my love." OMG, so romantic, isn't it?


May 10, 2009

Connemara is one of the most beautiful regions in Ireland. It's in the west of the country, one of the very popular spots for hiking, cycling and horse riding. As you might have guessed, we didn't have time to visit the National Park and we didn't see the famous ponies. We were just driving around for a while with a short stop in the little town of Clifden. Since our five weary travelers, who hadn't slept a wink for the previous 48 hours or so, were eager to hit the sack as soon as possible, we made it an early night.

When traveling, we're early birds, always leaving hotel rooms as early as possible, so it was no wonder we wanted to have breakfast at 8. However, this was impossible here at Portara. Breakfast was served when the hostess said, at 8:30 with no changes possible. We didn't mind because half an hour made absolutely no difference, but on the other hand, doesn't it seem a bit strange that you can't have it your way at a place where you're a paying customer?

The Kylemore Abbey

May 5, 2009

After three-ish hours we arrived in Co. Galway. Our GPS brought us to our destination - which was a nice row of terraced houses, but absolutely unlike the photos of our B&B from the web. However, it didn't take us long to find it eventually. Although well-hidden from accidental tourists, the Portara Fishing Lodge is a cosy guesthouse, run by a friendly couple, Michael and Maire.

We immediately set out to explore the Connemara Region. Being given the maps by Michael, we easily found one of the most beautiful places in Connemara: The Kylemore Abbey. Imagine our disappointment when we got there and found the gates closed, since it was after 5 p.m. As Zoran was about to head backwards, the van went a bit forwards, and the gate started to open. We were just sitting there, unable to believe our eyes, feeling suddenly that the luck was on our side, again. Of course, it had to do with the automatic gate, not with luck, but still, it made us jump with joy.

As the gate remained open, the parking place soon filled with cars, but there were not too many tourists, and we all enjoyed the tranquility of the place. We didn't go inside, we didn't see the walled gardens, since everything was closed, but we tremendoulsy enjoyed the visit.

The Great Reunion

May 2, 2009

After strolling the streets of Derry and taking photos of all the gates and murals, we headed back to the Angel House, where we were finally able to use the internet and tell our family and friends back home everything about our journey that had taken such an unexpected turn.

In the meantime, the stranded five were desperately trying to cross the Irish Sea, but were destined to do it in the middle of the night, at 2:30. Luckily, the ferry wasn't cancelled and they arrived in Dublin early Saturday morning, exactly 47 hours after they left Zagreb. It was a real drag, but what the heck, they were there, happy that St. Patrick had finally let them set foot on the Irish soil.

However, he wanted them to suffer for another five hours, while they were searching for a rental agency with an available car. Ironically, we booked a car before the trip, but I just didn't dare to drive on the left - I simply couldn't make myself do it, so I cancelled the reservation at Dublin Airport. Lesson learned: Never, never go to Ireland without renting a car in advance!!! The demand was so huge that all the cars on the whole island were rented. All but one, that is. A rental agency, called Company Car (never heard of) had a Toyota van, aka mini bus (a 10-seater - wow, so much space for shopping bags, unlike last year in England, when we were all cramped in a tiny Kia Sedona). And all those seats for less than 500 euros for five days, which was a good deal, considering that we split the price in half. Actually, we would have paid anything just to have a car.

The two of us arrived in Dublin at noon and we definitely brought the luck back to our gang because from that point on everything went as planned.
There was an error in this gadget