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Cliffs of Moher and Galway Excursion

For months, I have had a photograph of the Cliffs of Moher as the desktop background for my laptop in anticipation of my Irish travels. Before coming to Ireland, I knew almost nothing about the country aside from information about the urban center, Dublin, and, the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most famous attractions in Ireland, drawing visitors even in the off season months such as January. Last week, my friends decided we were going to go to Galway on the western coast for the weekend, and on Saturday, we were going to see the Cliffs of Moher. 

We embarked early saturday morning and arrived at the bus stop on the Liffey at 7:30 to board an express bus to Galway. One of my favorite things about public transportation in Ireland is the use of two decker buses. This sounds like something mundane that should be expected on a trip to the British Isles, but there is nothing quite like riding on the top of the bus in the very front and watching the sunrise over the Irish countryside. I think that watching the sunrise that morning has been one of my favorite moments on my trip so far. I've seen so many different sights and places since I've been here, but nothing can quite compare to the sun rising on a clear morning over the fields of the Irish countryside. The photo doesn't do it justice. The peaceful and inspiring feeling of watching the sun rise at the beginning of an adventure. It's amazing how something so small, like watching the sunrise, can be so special. This is one of the things I'm realizing with study abroad--it isn't the big moments that matter the most, it is the small ones, because sometimes those are the most special. Something like watching the sunrise, or walking the city streets alone and wandering down alleys, can be moments that make the whole experience so meaningful. That is not to say that the big moments aren't special as well, as I found out later that day, it is those big moments that make the journey meaningful too. Standing on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher was absolutely incredible, but in a much different way than my quiet sunrise moment was. 

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After the bus pulled into Galway, we walked to our hostel just a short distance away to leave the majority of our belongings and prepare to embark on our bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. When we boarded the bus and set off, the bus driver started out with the question of whether or not anyone had anywhere to be on our way back. After no one really responded, the bus driver proceded to explain how his plan was to change up the traditional tour and take us to a few more places. The weather was going to be better in the morning he said, so we were going to head to the cliffs first. After a winding tour through the hills and some breathtaking views of Galway bay, we made it to a small and secluded Abbey on our way to the cliffs.

 

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After the Abbey we stopped again on an overlook on the way up to the cliffs, and then finally, we were there. There is no way with words to describe how beautiful the cliffs are. Even in overcast skies in the middle of winter the sight is remarkable. 

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After the spectacular views at the top of the cliffs, we were off to see them from below. Below the cliffs is the little town of Doolin, which according to folklore is where Doolin or The Black Sword, guards the gates to the underworld. 

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After Doolin and the pier we started our journey back, but stopped to take photos and stretch our legs at the location where they filmed part of the Harry Potter movies Pt. I of the Deathly Hallows. 

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We ended the day with dinner in Galway and then walked around next day despite some adverse weather conditions. 

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A misty beach in Galway.

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The mouth of the river flowing into Galway bay.

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Boats in Galway.

All in all it was an amazing trip, and I can't wait to go on more adventures outside of Dublin.