After a full day traveling, by train, bus, & short walk Thursday, we settled into the Doolin Inn & Hostel. Quite the contrast from Dublin, Doolin is a small seaside village which seems to rely heavily on a spring & summer tourist business.
Friday morning, we took a shuttle bus to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center. Our plan was to hike the 7 mile trail from there back to Doolin, along the edge of the cliffs.
First, however, we walked from the visitors center heading south, towards Hag's Head, and away from Doolin. We walked only a few kilometers but got an amazing view. In the photo below, note the size of the people on the trail compared to the cliff.
About face! Heading north we found O'Brien's Tower and the Cliffs highest point, a bit over 700 feet.
It was built by Cornelius O’Brien, a man ahead of his time. He was a wealthy landowner with over 10,000 acres, along with being a solicitor (lawyer), a magistrate, and Member of Parliament (MP), for over 20 years.
He built this observation tower in 1835. He hoped to develop tourism which would benefit not only himself but the local economy. He died in 1857 but his idea to promote tourism lives on. For a €2 admission fee, a climb to the top of the tower bearing his name, gives elevated views of the cliffs, proving his concept & legacy live on.
The trail back to Doolin was amazing! The further away from the tour bus crowds at the visitors center the more isolated we became.
We stopped to watch a lone artist painting in, "Plain Air", from a spectacular location.
Although, she told us the wind, created its own challenges, by drying her watercolor paper quickly.
The only sounds other than our footsteps on the gravel trail was the wind, sea, and birds. These cliffs are residence to a seabird population of over 30,000. This includes several species of Gulls, the second largest colony of Fulmar (related to the petrels), and the largest mainland colony of Puffins, in Ireland.
Unfortunately, we are about a month early to see Puffin chicks, but there were plenty of other squawking parents attending their young.
Along the trail, Heather and Iris were getting ready to burst into bloom. However, the cliff dwelling, Thrift Flower, was everywhere.
On our final steps back to Doolin we came to this cross section in time.
This piece of the Wild Atlantic Way, tells some of the cliffs, geologic history. Sediment rock from the Oceans Botton and Glacial Till left at the end of an Ice Age. Finally, at the top is the remains of a peat bog showing the slow but ever changing beauty of the Cliffs of Moher.
Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff