We all had a wonderful restful night enjoying the comforts of the B and B. Breakfast was delicious, made even better because Alison catered to each of us, the vegan, the vegetarian and the carnivore. Kevin got to max out his meat consumption.
After eating our fill we loaded up our packs and headed down the hill to the port to return the bikes. We had been told to bring them back by 1000. We arrived just after 0930 only to be told that we really had until 1100. That was perfect for the kids as they had wanted to go off to see another stone fort on the other end of the island. They scurried off on the bikes while I sat on the port wall enjoying the unusual sunshine and warmth. We haven’t had much of that these past 3 weeks.
They returned sooner than I expected, turned in the bikes and we all walked over to the pier to await the return of the Happy Hooker. She came in right on time at 1130. We boarded, speaking with the deck hand to make sure they knew we wanted to alight on Inishmaan, the middle of the three Aran Islands. It wasn’t a long ride before we were there, with only two other passengers getting off with us. It’s a rather bleak and desolate feeling compared to the other islands. We began walking up from the pier when a gentleman in a van pulled up and asked if we wanted a taxi to the village. The kids looked at me, I looked at the road and hill and said yes. €15 later he dropped us at the far end and pointed. “The cliffs are over there”. Ok.
Over there we walked. Once the walkway turned more to rough stone fields I chose to have a sit while the kids explored. Meanwhile one of the women, from Switzerland, who got off the boat when we did came by and we had a nice chat. The kids returned telling me of the cliffs and the stone cairn that Kevin erected. There is no shortage of stones here. In fact, this is the most extensive amount of stone walls we’ve encountered yet. Wall after wall. Cows and horses sheltered behind them out of the incessant wind.
We found a very small cafe where we stopped for coffee and soup, chatting with another visitor, a woman from Quebec. By then we decided to make our way back toward the pier as we had only the one chance to catch the boat back to the mainland. We stopped along the way at the one shop we found which had beautiful, unique knitwear. But very pricey. Still, seeing it all is very inspiring to the knitter in both Mandy and me.
We carried on to the pier, waiting in the luxury of a wind shelter until the boat arrived. Once again the Happy Hooker was our transport back to Inisheer, where we moved from that boat to a larger one to carry us back to Doolin. We arrived earlier than we expected, just after 1700 and were happy to see our car still there in the lot…. When we had left it yesterday the parking fee was a tad confusing, so we hoped for the best. We were in luck. We had just a short drive to the hostel we had booked. We checked in, left our packs, made a few quick sandwiches with the food we still had to tide us over and we headed out.
It was to the famous Cliffs of Moher we went. We had an unusual good weather window, with the sun we had this morning showing back up here. Plus, we find that if we go to the major tourist attractions later we avoid most of the people. It was so this evening. Not many visitors, but great views even as we were being blown around by the strong wind. We walked along the cliff a bit admiring the view, watching the cliff birds soar on the wind. We later went into the visitor center and learned more about the area, including the geology, the flora and fauna. They also had a short video that was a mini version of an Imax showing the cliffs and the waters around it. Made me dizzy watching it.
We headed back to town and immediately went to the pub that our friend, Tony, recommended, McGann’s. It was crowded but we lucked out getting a table and ordered some food and drinks to supplement or meager portions from earlier. We were delighted when we saw a young English woman whom we had encountered on Inishmore walk in, so we asked her to join us. Made for a nice conversation as we enjoyed the pub atmosphere and live music.