Taking the Coast Road in the area called the Burren of Ireland is stunning. Mix vast expanse of Atlantic Ocean and the almost surreal rocky terrain with many the interesting sights and no doubt about it, it’s a Wow. A continuous Wow.
We were lucky to do this on a sunny, blue sky “My Irish Eyes are Smiling” kind of a day. The Burren, which means rock, is the area of Ireland almost directly west of Dublin on the opposite coast. It is south of Conmarra (also wonderful) and Galway. The top part of the road borders on the Galway Bay and then swings around to the south along the rocky coast to Doolin and the Cliffs of Mohr.
We loved stopping at a little town called New Quay for the freshest lobster possible. So sweet and tender. We ate outside, right near the water, enjoying our feast. This funny little sign next to the pub/restaurant is clearly a reminder that drinking too much Guinness can get you in trouble.
We drove through pastures, past the marvelous stonewalls with frequent cow and sheep sightings. The hills bloomed with wild flowers and these yellow bushes the farmers hate because they take over but I loved the splashes of gold against the many shades of green.
The locals and tourists mixed and mingled in the little town of Ballyvaughn at a arts and crafts show, ice cream store and in welcoming pubs. We went back to this town another day for the Farmer’s Market—an event with only a half dozen stalls but then it is pretty early in the season. As you can imagine, the cheese produced in this area is delicious. Everything here is Farm to Fork.
Then the really dramatic scenery started. As we rounded the curve of the coast of the Burren and headed south, the ohs and ahs began as did the number of times we pulled over, trying to find a slight widening of the road, so we could stop to take pictures. Along the way we saw rock climbers, cows by the edge of the water (don’t you think they must produce happy milk grazing in such a setting?) and many ruins of churches and old castles.
Farther down the coast we came to a well-known little town called Doolin. With three pubs and a deserved reputation for being the center of Irish merrimaking, the tourists, folks with second homes, Irish weekenders, backpackers buy CD’s and jam these lively spots for a foot tapping time.
The best way to see the Cliffs of Mohr is by boat. Takes about an hour and is well worth the ride. After that experience we continued on the Coast Road south to the spot where at least 50 surfers were out catching waves. Surfing is a big sport here. Hard to fathom. Such cold and miserable water but a lovely young Irish lady in a pub told me they surf year around.
In addition to the dramatic and gorgeous scenery, the route is filled with lots of cute and silly stuff. Whether designed by nature or by human hand, this part of the world is a visual feast.