Day 10: Ballybunion to Doolin

Monday July 21, 2008, 96 km (60 miles) – Total so far: 797 km (495 miles)

It was a late start today and gone 10.30am when we hit the road. This was due to a number of factors: Firstly it was the beds, these were the first beds we’d slept in since Cork. Secondly, the place we stayed at had a kitchen/diner so we were treating ourselves to bacon and mushroom baguettes for breakfast. And thirdly: there was a TV in the kitchen/diner and we somehow got hooked on an early 70’s Disney film starring a very young Kurt Russell alongside a chimpanzee who was able to predict whether a TV show would be a ratings winner or not. It was strange – we had to literally drag ourselves away from it.

Once on the road, we headed North West out of town towards Tarbert to catch the ferry across the River Shannon. We got there just after midday and were in luck, the ferry was just pulling in. We were quickly loaded, paid our €5 fee and were quickly transported the couple of kilometres to the other side.

We were now in County Clare and carried on north using the country lanes, which rolled nicely up and down for around a dozen kilometres or so. We had lunch in a pub in Cooraclare: soup and toasted sandwiches for Darren and Agata and a mixed grill for Justin.

Back on the road we continue north eventually joining up with the coast road and follow it all the way to the Cliffs of Moher. They are amongst the most impressive places to see in Ireland, and are widely considered to be Ireland’s top tourist attraction, drawing almost one million visitors in 2006. A few kilometres before we reach the cliffs after a yet another long climb, this time in the drizzle we stop at Murphy’s Pub for some welcome Vitamin G. A short while later we reach the cliffs, they are indeed an impressive sight.

We pause for some photos and get back on the road for the final leg today’s journey to Doolin. It’s generally downhill all the way to the campsite. We take a few wrong turns in the last few kilometres, the drizzle turns to rain, but we get there eventually.

Once the tents are up and we’re fed it’s off round the corner to McGann’s Pub to sink some tasty pints of Guinness and enjoy the famous Irish music.

The Cliffs of Moher, looking south towards Hag's Head

The Cliffs of Moher, looking south towards Hag’s Head

Lahinch, another seaside town

Lahinch, another seaside town

Most of the thatched cottages date from the 18th century

Most of the thatched cottages date from the 18th century

O'Keeffe's pub, Cooraclare, county Clare

O’Keeffe’s pub, Cooraclare, county Clare

We stopped in Cooraclare for lunch. Where we discovered that there is very little difference between a mixed grill and an Irish breakfast

We stopped in Cooraclare for lunch. Where we discovered that there is very little difference between a mixed grill and an Irish breakfast

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