Our adventures today include Cliff of Moher then Tourmakeady. You may be asking, “ Why Tourmakeady?” Robert Shaw, who starred in Jaws as Quint, the hired shark hunter, ended up living there and died there after his Hollywood debut. He loved visiting the local pubs and was an avid golfer. He died at the age of 51 from a massive heart attack while driving home from playing golf. There is a memorial inscribed rock in his memory near the place he died. We did take a look at that and the tavern/pub that he frequented.
While traveling we happened upon Bunratty Castle in Bunratty. It is named after the river Raite which runs alongside this strategic battlement. The spot on which this castle stands has been occupied for over 1000 years. From the Vikings to the Normans, great Irish Earls and noble Lords and Ladies. Now, on to The Cliffs.
Cliffs of Moher did not disappoint! It is very overwhelming and majestic to say the least. The sea breeze is very cool against your skin, but refreshing. You are able to see the white waves crashing against the jagged rocks. Ireland’s largest surfing wave is here and called , “Aileen.” Named by the local surfers here. She is featured in a couple surf movies, Sea Fever and Wave Riders. The Cliff’s are also featured in Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince, Ryan’s Daughter, The Princess Bride, Macintosh Man, Into the West, Hear My Song, and Father Ted. The Cliffs are a special protected area. It’s home to Ireland’s largest mainland seabird nesting colony of 20 species including 9 species of breeding seabirds and up to 30,000 breeding pairs. There are Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars, Kittyhawks, Choughs, and a pair of Peregrine Falcons.
On site is O’Brien’s Tower, which was built in 1835 by CorneliusO’Brien, for visitors to view the cliffs. I did not take a picture due to scaffolding surrounding it as they were doing repairs. Cliffs of Moher has many things to offer such as many walking trails, a few shops, a restaurant, and a visitor’s center. There is a huge parking area and be prepared to pay $8 per person. You can literally spend at least half the day if not a dull day at the cliffs. We did witness a couple people going over to the edge to get pictures. Very very unsafe. However, it’s at your own risk. As you can see from the picture, there are no rails, fences, or walls. This is a must see!!!
We happened upon Shrule Castle in Shrule, County, Mayo, Ireland was built in 1238 by by the de Burgh family. It was given to John de Burgh in 1308 by his father Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster. The castle was captured in 1570 by a strong force led by Sir Edward Fitton, President of Connaught and Vice Treasurer of Ireland and consisting of McDonnells of Knocknacloy gallóglaigh. Mac Uilliam Ochtair, Lord of Thomond, the de Burghs of Mayo and McDonnells of Mayo led a force to retake the castle however the castle was not retaken. The chief of the McDonnells of Knocknacloy Calvagh McDonnell was killed on 18 June 1570 and during the battle Edward Fitton was unhorsed and severely wounded in the face. William Burke occupied the castle, and passed to his son John Burke in 1574 and in 1610, Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde leased the castle and lands.
Next, we saw Christ Church, Church of Ireland ruin built somewhere around late 1700 from what we can find. There are many graves, but a lot of headstones were missing. It’s great for photography. Then there was the graveyard that is still being used today. I unfortunately failed to get the name. After researching it may have been the Ballovey Graveyard in Tourmakeady. The Celtic crosses, I think, are so cool looking. We needed a break so we stopped at The Brewery Cup and had a shot of espresso before moving on. It’s the only place we’ve seen that has lumps of sugar. reminds me of the Bugs Bunny cartoon, “ One or two?” If you don’t know this reference, you are missing out..lol After driving for awhile it was time for dinner and boy did we pick the perfect place, Finnegans. They serve real Irish meals. We got Urish Stew and Shepherd’s Pie and split them. We also had Irish cheesecake with ice cream and Black Forest Cake with sweet cream. It all was to die for!!! I cannot believe how good it all was!!! We left with full bellies and felt all warm inside…lol We found a campground in Salthill called Salthill…lol It sits right on the Atlantic, so we pitched for the night.