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The Second Day: The Cliffs of Moher

So you know how when you learn about another country ( hear about it through other blogs and StumbleUpon photos) there are those certain things about it that you hear about repeatedly?  Well, for me, one of those things about Ireland was Moher.

Lucky for me, Day 2 in Ireland was our trip to Cliffs of Moher.  
Not so lucky for me, that meant getting up at 4:30.  Yeah, you read that right.  And that was pushing it...we had to be at a previously unseen part of Dublin to meet the bus by 6am.  We left at 5am.  

But let me tell you, 4:30 int he morning looks beautiful when you're in a different country, getting ready to see one of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world!

We started our journey to the "wild wild west" as our tour guide called it at Saint James Castle.  
It was only a 15 minute stop in Limerick County, but it was a fun first look at another part of the country.  Up till that point, we'd only seen Dublin, and the view outside of our bus windows.  

Yes, by the way, those are American flags.  I think I mentioned this in my post that night...according to the tour guide, Ireland learned a while ago that if they stroke America's pride (ie. hanging out flag near the 4th of July), tourists from the U.S. will spend more money.  
a church across from Saint James Castle

Finally, a few hours later, we made it to the Cliffs!
By that point, it had started misting (and...within a few minutes, pouring).  
Either way, the cliffs were still incredible.

We had an hour and a half to explore the cliffs and the surrounding area, so we started by climbing to O'Brian's Tower.

O'brian was, according to my brother's memory, a "Feudal Lord"who knew that in the future, the Cliffs would be a huge tourist attraction.  So, he had a tower built for people to climb to the top of and look out over the Cliffs and the surrounding ocean.

Lunch at a neighboring town: ham and cheese sandwich, vegetable soup, and brown soda bread.  Let me tell was all delicious!.  
This meal was my first experience with Irish butter since our tour guide had told us that America's butter is "anemic".  I was curious as to what healthy butter must taste like.  
Seriously.  Try it.  I'm currently trying to figure out whether it's possible to have Irish butter delivered to my home in Pennsylvania.  

After visiting the Cliffs and eating lunch, we stopped at this gorgeous little cliff along the road home to Dublin. 

Next, we stopped at an abandoned church, left behind in the famine so many years ago.

At some point, graves were moved inside of the dilapidated church to respect those people who they were meant to honor.

And finally, we spent a half an hour at the small ocean-side town of Kilmanaugh (I hope I'm remembering that name right...), where we met this adorable kitten and expounded upon our Grand Cat Theories.

Thirteen hours and a few cliffs later, we found ourselves back in Dublin.
And just in time for dinner at what would become our favorite local pub, Madigans.