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Ireland, Coast To Coast

My Roots

sunny 65 °F
View RussRaff Crossing on paulej4's travel map.

RUSS_RAFF_crossing.jpegAfter finding a small, automatic transmission car at Avis, no small feat, we negotiated the round-about laden route to downtown Dublin and our hotel. Dropping our bags we trekked to Gallagher's Boxty House, recommended by Alan, the doorman, for chicken boxty and corned beef and cabbage. Beryl sampled beer!fa1ae7e0-d0b7-11e8-9942-e18619e9bbf2.JPG

We slept in at our inn: The Westin Dublin where we were (due to my Marriott Honored Guest Lifetime Platinum status, earned by spending over 2,150 nights over the past 29 years) upgraded to a lovely two-room suite. Negotiating downtown city streets in a left-hand drive car, we head west with B4 navigating aided by the wonderful app, Waze. Along the way, a leaning tower beckons so we make a sharp turn (dangerous when you're not used to making right turns that are more like left turns) and end up at Kilmachdaugh, a cemetery and leaning tower. KilmachdaughTowerBeryl.JPGKilmachdaughTower.JPGHere was a monastery founded early in the 7th century, plundered in the 13th, remaining as the seat of a Bishop until the 16th, resting place of nearby families until the 21st. The Round Tower was a place of refuge for monks in case of attack. It leans 2 feet out of perpendicular and has no doorway at ground level; access was via rope ladder which could be withdrawn from attackers' reach.

Next stop: The Burren, if you're interested: https://vimeo.com/66888162

Next, we visit The Burren. This is part of a national park which encompasses nearly 100 square miles. The Irish word “Boíreann” means a rocky place and this is that. There is virtually no soil to cover all of this limestone which is so ubiquitous that it is referred to here as “pavement.” In 1651, a Cromwellian Army Officer named Ludlow said this: “of this barony it is said that it is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury them.” From here—or near here—came to America the penniless Russells. The season here is over; the park information center closed a week ago to reopen in April but we stopped in a pub where nobody knew any Russells. The coffee was good though.


After driving in circles, we find the Burren Perfumery and Flower Garden where we and a cat have tea in the garden. From there, after receiving directions, we head for the Poulnabrone Tomb, a portal tomb with two tall portal stones flanking the entrance to a rectangular stone-lined chamber covered by a single large capstone. This limestone formed over 320 million years ago on the floor of a warm, shallow sea proven by fossils preserved in the rock. Glaciers scrubbed this place leaving a stony mess behind. During excavation work in 1985, the bones of 33 people were discovered here. The bones ranged from 5800 to 5200 years old. PoulnabroneTombBeryl2.JPGWe made it out in one piece and headed further down the extraordinarily narrow lanes a half hour or so to the Cliffs of Moher.

Cliffs of Moher video if you're interested: https://vimeo.com/36758304

On Ireland’s west coast—about 175 miles and one day across the country from Dublin—is the most breathtaking geological feature of this island: The Cliffs of Moher. I am drawn here again—I visited with a few family members in 2001—because it is beautiful but it is also my roots: County Clare.

Nearly 400 feet above the Atlantic at Hag’s Head to 700 feet high at O’Brien’s Tower five miles away, the place takes your breath away—and also your life if you stumble and fall. O’Brien’s Tower was built in 1835 by the local landlord and Member of Parliament, Sir Cornellius O’Brien as an observation tower for tourists. At Hag’s Head, still standing is Moher Tower, a ruin which was a signaling tower and lookout during the Napoleonic Wars which lasted for twelve years beginning in 1803. CliffsOfMoher1.JPGCliffsOfMoherBeryl.JPG

If you are anxious to see this beautiful place, please make haste. Coastal erosion from waves constantly crashing into the base of these cliffs is eroding the rock causing the upper face to collapse. The drop is vertical, loved by seabirds. One million tourists like us make their way here every year. If you cannot come here, take a look at these cliffs in the films “Ryans Daughter,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” or what is in my estimation the best movie ever made: “The Princess Bride” which was wonderfully parodied in my honor by my ej4 team in my Seventieth Birthday Celebration Video.

From here it is a half hour more to Spanish Point and the Bellbridge House Hotel--nothing fancy but free with British Airways Frequent Flyer points. The sunset over the North Atlantic is beautiful as we arrive. Our room isn't.large_SpanishPointSunset.JPG

Posted by paulej4 13:44 Archived in Ireland Tagged burren cliffs_of_moher kilmachdaugh poulnabrone_tomb

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It looks like a fabulous vacation to fill a lifetime of memories. So glad you had the means, the time, and each other to make it a reality. I’ve so enjoyed to live it vicariously through your blogs. Thanks

by Ray Stuart

Looks awesome...have a great time!

by Linda Fraschilla

Reading your postings is my favorite vicarious pleasure! As we both have ancestry from County Clare, perhaps we've crossed paths in a previous life... those cliffs both frighten and still call to me too :-)
Raw beauty but my kids tortured me by getting too close to the edge for comfort.
Can't wait to read more of your travels!

by Mary O'Connor

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