Our last day in Ireland was the only day it ever really rained while we were there. We know we got pretty lucky to only have one real day of rain, since it rains a lot in Ireland.
Our last day in Ireland was also one of our longest days. We left our hotel at 7 a.m. to board a bus to take us through County Clare and eventually to the Cliffs of Moher before dropping us in Galway to catch the train back to Dublin.
I was really excited to see parts of County Clare since that is where my mom’s family was from. It was actually really cool through out the whole trip to see my mom’s family crest on lots of different things.
While I was there I actually learned a good bit about where her family came from. Apparently her ancestors came to Ireland with Strongbow way back in the day and were one of the original 14 tribes of Galway.
I assume at some point that her ancestors spread from Galway to County Clare before they came to America. My uncle knows that family history really well so I have many questions to ask him next time I see him.
Anyway, back to our last day of the trip.
Our first stop of the day was Bunratty Castle, which was actually a castle in the O’Brien family. This made Alex super excited because those are her ancestors. (This trip was clearly all about seeing ancestral stuff!)
Bunratty Castle had fallen into disrepair years ago, but then a new family bought it and restored it. The tour we took was interesting, but much of the furniture there wasn’t from Ireland. The group that restored it did their best to find furniture that was authentic to the time period as possible, but lots came from England and France.
Still exploring the castle was interesting.
There were some nice views of the Shannon River from the lookout towers.
And we got to venture down to the dungeon — which was a really small, tight space and made me feel a bit claustrophobic.
We also got to walk around the castle ground and the village surrounding it.
By this point the rain had picked up a bit and lots of the animals were hiding out from the bad weather. That of course didn’t stop us from making friends with them.
This picture of Erin might be one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.
After the castle, we hopped back on the bus to continue on our way to the Cliffs of Moher. We stopped to grab a quick lunch (seafood chowder for the win!) and explore a tiny and adorable little town minutes from the Cliffs.
Then it was off to main event of the day.
The views of the cliffs were pretty spectacular. We spent a while hiking along the cliffs’ edge, which I won’t lie at parts scared the crap out of me because the path was pretty narrow and I didn’t want to plunge over the edge on the slippery rocks.
But as Emily pointed out, the rain and the fog actually sort of added to the ambience. The cliffs looked big and majestic and a little bit mysterious.
By the time I boarded the bus after the Cliffs of Moher, I basically looked like a drowned rat.
We also stopped to see the Burren — these old limestone slabs right along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It was cold and windy out on the Burren and I was glad we didn’t spend too much time there.
As we made our way to Galway, we passed lots of old castle ruins right along the coast. It was so crazy to me that there were so many old castles still partly standing. We also passed several small famine cemeteries, where people were buried when the potato famine hit.
As we approached the city of Galway, we make a quick stop to stretch our legs and grab some pictures near Galway Bay.
We didn’t get to spend much time in Galway itself before our train left for Dublin, which was actually kind of a bummer. Galway seemed like a really cute city, and I wish we would have had some more time there. But we did spend a little bit of time wandering around and catching some music in one of the pubs.
When we arrived back in Dublin we basically all passed out in our hotel rooms to wake up a few hours later for our flights back to the U.S.
And just like that our trip came to an end. It was a great week with good friends. I honestly wasn’t sure how a trip with seven girls would go, I mean that’s a lot of people to spend a lot of time with, but we all survived without murdering each other, and I feel like we came home with lots of good memories and stories.
And now, I’m so ready to start planning my next trip.
Here’s the Snapstory from my last day in Ireland: