Bunratty

After dragging ourselves out of bed after the medieval banquet, Riley and I walked back to the castle and climbed around in it, including to the roof. The castle also has a “folk park,” AKA tourist trap, that Riley really wanted to wander around in, including a little old village and some thatched houses. I met a couple more wolf hounds.

We headed out and stopped for lunch in Ennis, where there’s a 13th-century Franciscan friary (the picture on the right). We got Heritage Cards (10 euros for students!) that give us free entry into all of the country’s national heritage sites.

Next up were the Cliffs of Moher, the iconic west-coast Ireland destination. They kind of appear out of nowhere–you’re driving in this little coastal town on the beach and suddenly, the cliffs are staggeringly high. There are no guardrails or handrails, and the path is packed dirt. Someone put up some vertical stones but people hop over them.

We hung out at the cliffs for a while, then drive over to Caherconnell stone fort, this medieval ring of stone where people would gather for protection from Viking raids, among other dangers. This is at the start of the Burren, which is a barren-looking spread of land with stony ground and hills made of bare rock. The landscape was like nowhere I’ve been before. We walk out to Poulnabrone Dolmen, a neolithic portal tomb in the middle of nowhere that served as a tomb for thirty people. Thirty!

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