Last Saturday, we woke up early and walked to the rental car center in downtown Dublin to pick up our wheels for our Irish roadtrip. Thankfully, my friend is a left-side-of-the-road driving professional from her time living in Uganda and India, so we made the two-hour drive to Galway without any mishaps (see my post on our Scottish highlands auto-rescue for a comparison).
Galway was just lovely. It has a real college-town feel and after lunch at Dough Bros Wood-Fired Pizza (so delicious — you must try it) we perused Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, picked up coffees and followed the canalwalk over to the National University of Ireland Galway. My Irish friend, who is an alum, had suggested we stop by the school’s Harry Potter-esque quadrangle. When we arrived and had the place to ourselves, we initiated an elaborate photoshoot until a group of Eastern Europeans arrived and we had to play it cool.
Afterward, we piled back into the car and embarked on a seemingly never-ending drive to the Cliffs of Moher (distance-wise, the two appear pretty close, but the maze of single-lane roads that take you there turn the 75-kilometer space into a good two-hour drive). Luckily, it was extremely scenic and we pulled over at one point to hop out of the car and snap a photo (see below). Before long, however, we realized we were in a race against the setting sun and that we could not afford any additional stops. We pulled up to the cliffs just as the sun was just disappearing over the horizon, with a romantic watercolor sky backdrop. Pro tip: If you arrive late in the day, you can avoid paying the entrance fees, which we were pretty excited about.
As for the cliffs, they were absolutely breathtaking. It sounds cliché, but they were so much more massive than I imagined and is even apparent in the photographs. Standing on the edge and listening to the powerful waves crashing into the rocks directly below us was something else. If you’re ever in Ireland, don’t miss them — or the all-day breakfast at O’Grady’s pub in the town of Gort, where we stopped on the ride home. The baked beans were awesome.