Sunday, August 4, 2013

That time we decided not to pay for anything: Cliffs of Moher and Doolin

We hit the road again, this time heading for the Cliffs of Moher. Now, I'm pretty spoiled coming from New Zealand in that I have a pretty diverse and scenic country. I was in Costa Rica and people around me were gasping at the rainforest and I was thinking it looked a bit familiar. Not that I didn't appreciate it, I did, just for its beauty rather than its novelty.

That said, every time I encounter something outside of the NZ norm I get super excited. Desert wasteland in the southern US being one example and the Cliffs of Moher being another. We don't really have anything like them in NZ or if we do I certainly haven't seen it!

A sign in Irish - try pronouncing that!

A view over part of the Burren on our way there.
The Cliff are just... there. Unapologetic and sudden. I don't know what else I was expecting! They are somewhat awe inspiring though (how Kiwi to qualify 'awe inspiring'), as anything of their magnitude usually is.

O'Brien's tower is perched atop the cliffs to your right, a rather phallic structure that was built in 1835 to impress female visitors (according to wikipedia anyway).

As you may have gathered we had amazing (if oven-like) weather the whole time we were in Ireland and we got clear views the length of the cliffs - a rare occurrence we were told!

We each indulged in our first meat pie since leaving NZ. E, post-Baltics an accidental ordering of salty fish on toast instead of beer, was particularly excited.

It wasn't too far away and we only planned to pop by for a visit, rather than sleep there, so we were counting on a local recommendation for a bed (or comfy field, you really have to keep in mind that we didn't have standards on this trip).

Of course the locals pulled through and recommended Doolin. They also gave us a ride part way on a tractor. Not bad.

So we hitch a ride the 10kms back down the road to Doolin. We'd checked out the beach and decided that it looked like a nice place to kip down, when some more Irishmen yelled at us out of a window. I feel the need to again remind you that we didn't have standards and stranger danger doesn't really apply when you're hitching.

...So of course we went and talked to them. Turned out they were from up north and just on holiday. We accompanied them on a search for beer (we were searching for food) and ended up chatting for a couple of hours, at which point a taxi pulled up and they said "you'd best not lose us or you won't have a ride back." Well then, it looked like we were going wherever they were.
It turned out that E had been paying more attention than I had and we were heading to a trad festival in Milltown Malbay.

Attempted sunset photo - the only pseudo-cultural moment of the night.
The ride was spent singing every drinking song anyone knew the words to and a fair few that were melodic mumbles until the chorus.

We arrived at the trad festival but it was spread throughout the local pubs, and the one we were in had teeny tiny rooms, except for out the back where they weren't playing trad. So we went to this reasonably famous festival and mainly listened to pop. Oh well, it still wasn't a bad night.


They were the most comfortable-with-being-intimate I have ever seen guys be.
And we have a poser!
Needless to say we again took advantage of spare beds and the next day one of their friends gave us a lift up the hill to a good hitching spot. Southward bound!

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