The last part of our Ireland roadtrip took us out of County Kerry, heading north to County Clare. We started our journey in Dublin and Kilkenny, and then made our way down to Cobh and Blarney Castle. After that, we headed to County Kerry where we visited the Gap of Dunloe, the Dingle Peninsula, and Slea Head Loop. It had been an amazing journey so far and we were very excited to experience Adare, the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, and Bunratty Castle.
We drove up to the Cliffs of Moher and then back down to our lodging at a farmhouse in Newcastle. On our drive up we we stopped in the small village of Adare. Adare is often known as Ireland’s “prettiest village”. The village is famous for its thatched cottages, which were built in the 19th century. Now the cottages house restaurants and small craft shops.
Cliffs of Moher
We drove an hour from Adare to the very famous Cliffs of Moher. There are no words to describe what we saw here – it was that stunning and beautiful. The cliffs tower over 700 feet above sea level and are completely vertical, with abrupt edges down to the bottom.
We walked out quite a ways down from the entrance in order to get away from the crowds. There were areas that were a little scary to walk by. If you took one wrong step you might have risked falling off a cliff! It was pretty windy while there, and very overcast!
After the cliffs we drove down towards the water to the small town of Doolin. Our friends had told us that they had amazing mussels here, but after looking at numerous restaurants’ menus and not seeing mussels, we settled on some local grub to eat.
For the next couple of nights we stayed at a gorgeous farmhouse in Newmarket in Fungus, about 15 minutes from Shannon airport, where we had an early flight from there two days later. Cahergal Farmhouse is off the beaten path, but still within access to many sights. This farm is gorgeous with such bright greenery, animals strolling around the grounds, and space in the house so we could lounge without being in anyone’s way. This farmhouse is exactly what I think of when I think of classic Ireland. We were greeted with homemade scones and tea, and lovely hosts that gave us suggestions on what to do since we had a “free” day during our last day there.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Our hosts suggested we go to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This is a pretty complete medieval fortress that contains many 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, art, and dwellings, which captures the mood of that time. We strolled between each of the different buildings, all representing a different purpose. There were houses, shops, schools, a post office, a doctor’s office, and pubs, each taking on the medieval time period. We were involved in all of the sights and sounds as they recreated the scene from that time. We watched the tasks of typical rural Irish families and saw the conditions in which they lived. At the end of the morning, we took a nice walk through the gardens. It was modeled on the original Regency period garden, which supplied fruit, vegetables, and flowers to the Bunratty House.
Had our hosts not suggested it we wouldn’t have come to Bunratty Castle. We had read reviews that weren’t the greatest. People stated that it gets very crowded, to the point where it’s not enjoyable at all, that it’s not authentic, and that it’s a big tourist trap. As with most things we do, we got there right when it opened so it wasn’t crowded at all, and we found that everything from the period pieces to the “actors” was believable and tastefully done.
Our Ireland roadtrip proved to be just what we needed; a mix of outdoor activities filled with amazing scenery, and a flexible schedule that allowed for the much needed down time that we were craving.