Kilfenora and the Burren

Lisdoonvarna Travel Blog

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Stone wall still standing the test of time ~ without mortar

After we left Ennis, the Irish weather started to change quickly, as it does so often.  Des had already told us, "Don't count on the weather, but don't give up on it either."  The blue skies were turning gray and the calm winds were starting to really blow things around.   We were entering a special corner of Ireland called The Burren.  This is a 62-square mile area of bleak limestone outcroppings and exotic wildflowers.   Twenty-two varieties of orchid grow here and I was lucky enough to pick one of these delicate flowers as a souvenir for my scrapbook.

The small village of Kilfenora is famous for its high crosses.  As luck would have it, they had all been taken down for renovation, leaving us terribly disappointed.

Catholic Church destroyed by Cromwell's army in mid 1600's
   We were able to walk through the churchyard among the crumbling walls and headstones and actually feel the passing of time.  No, the high crosses were not there but the graves and footstones had not been disturbed for hundreds of years.  The old church with its timeworn stone exterior had withstood years of cold western winds and biting rain.  Today that same wind was blowing and the cold was chilling us to the bone.  Leigh was able to snap only a few pictures before we ran to the warmth of our vehicle.  We quickly learned that a "castle" is simply a fortified house.   The landscape was littered with ruins of these castles as well as dozens, perhaps hundreds, of churches.  Blown into eternity.  All courtesy of England's Oliver Cromwell and his army.
Cliffs of Moher and brain-dead tourists

Our next stop would be the world-famous Cliffs of Moher.  These awe-inspiring cliffs rise a dramatic 705 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and stretch five miles along the West Clare Coast.  That nasty west wind was really blowing on top of the cliffs and we had to wrap up our heads to prevent a bad earache.   I was content to obey all the "Danger" signs and stay far from the edge.  There were a number of tourists, however, that I would probably classify as "brain dead" because they ventured out past the barriers to snap that "perfect" picture.   I saw some of them actually lie down on their stomach and peer over the edge with their camera.  From my vantage point on top of the hill,  the fissures in the rock shelf were very obvious and I couldn't help but wonder, "How many deaths a year from stupidity?" 

It had been a full day of riding and touring.

Stone-age dolmen amid barren landscape
  We were all very tired, so we started towards our room at Gregan's Castle Hotel in Ballyvaughan.  Des told us that tomorrow he wanted to take us to the Dingle Peninsula.  It is considered by the Irish to be the most beautiful part of the entire island.  Actually, it is where the movie, Far and Away, with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman was filmed.  We would have to get an early start in the morning, so we all fell into the bed and were soon fast asleep.

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Stone wall still standing the test…
Stone wall still standing the tes…
Catholic Church destroyed by Cromw…
Catholic Church destroyed by Crom…
Cliffs of Moher and brain-dead tou…
Cliffs of Moher and brain-dead to…
Stone-age dolmen amid barren lands…
Stone-age dolmen amid barren land…
OBrians Tower stands on highest …
O'Brian's Tower stands on highest…
Cathey sitting on wall above the C…
Cathey sitting on wall above the …
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Well-worn path atop Cliffs of Moher
Well-worn path atop Cliffs of Moher
DANGER sign for the brain-dead tou…
DANGER sign for the brain-dead to…
Local man playing for pocket chang…
Local man playing for pocket chan…
Lisdoonvarna
photo by: kingelvis14