Trip Report: Galway To Doolin, The Burren, Castles & Forts

Dungaire Castle

Dungaire Castle

TRIP REPORT INDEX

PartTitle
1Trip Report ✈ 15 Days – Ireland & Poland on Miles + Points
2Trip Report ✈ 15 Days – Ireland & Poland Daily Highlights
3Review: Aer Lingus Lounge – New York City – JFK
4Review: Aer Lingus NEW Business Class – JFK / DUB (Dublin)
5Review: Aer Lingus Revival (Arrival) Lounge Dublin Ireland
6Review: Sheraton Athlone Hotel (Ireland)
7Trip Report: What To Do In Athlone, Ireland in 24 Hours
8Trip Report: What To Do In Galway, Ireland in 24 Hours
9Review: Aran Islands (Inishmore) + A Wormhole That Could Kill
10Trip Report: Galway To Doolin, The Burren, Castles & Forts
11Trip Report: Majestic Cliffs of Moher & Doolin Cave
12Review: Hilton Dublin Hotel & 6 Hours in Dublin
more to come

SUMMARY

Castles, Cliffs, and the lunar landscape of The Burren.

Next stop: Doolin. From Galway, we drive to Doolin. We booked one night at the Cahermaclanchy House B&B (which has one of the best Booking.com ratings in the area in Doolin, Ireland (thank you if you use my affiliate link to book lodging!). The drive takes you through The Burren area, which means “great rock”. The road there gets pretty narrow and we had to pull over many times as buses sped in the other direction. There were many worthwhile stops on the way so be prepared to stop several times.  I would have liked to stay 2 nights to be able to explore the area more.

DUNGAIRE CASTLE

Dungaire Castle (pictured above), a 16th century tower on Galway Bay, is one of the very first stops. There were many tour buses also stopped here briefly for a view from the outside only as the castle was closed (they open at 10am). Definitely worth a 5-10 minute stop for a look!

Right before entering The Burren:
The Burren

Near Doolin:

Doolin

 

The Burren’s coast line. These cliffs are just a fraction of what’s to come (Cliffs of Moher).

The Burren Cliffs

 

The “Blackhead” viewpoint (you’ll see it on the tourist map) with wild horses walking freely. With more time, I would have loved to walk out along the coast here.

The Burren
LUNCH/DESSERT

Our B&B hostess recommended stopping at the Tea and Garden Rooms in Ballyvaughan for “The BEST cheesecake”. It’s so good that Steven Spielberg made a special trip there just for the cheesecake, so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Ballyvaughan is on the coastal road that most people drive around exploring The Burren so it’s easy to find. Unfortunately, our hostess couldn’t remember if they were closed on Tuesdays or Wednesdays — just our luck. They were closed. Check in advance to avoid disappointment. We went next door to Monk’s Seafood Restaurant & Pub and had a nice lunch – fish and chips!

Monks Restaurant

CAHERCONNELL FORT

The Caherconnell Fort is a very quick visit and I don’t think it was worth the stop or the fee to enter. The sheepdog demonstration might have been interesting but we didn’t want to wait until the next show. The fort itself takes less than 10 minutes to walk and there is not much to see. There is currently an archeological dig happening at the fort, however, it is roped off and you can only watch from a distance (I did see a tour guide take a small group closer to the dig site). We read the guide book but it would have been nice to hear about the dig which was happening live.

 

Caherconnell Fort

This is the main part of the archeological dig. I’m standing at the edge of the rope and it’s difficult to see what’s going on.Caherconnell Fort

We parked the car and wandered onto a trail. As we stepped through some gates, we found this field of sheep that looked like they just finished playing paintball. This might be private property but there are no signs and we were respectful of the land (though I was tempted to hug a sheep for a photo).

The Burren - Sheep

The cows here can roam free in the fields… unlike the cattle farms in the States. I wonder if that’s how all cows are raised in Ireland. There is a discussion on Chowhound if you’re interested.

The Burren

 

DINNER

On a totally unrelated topic from the photos above, we had dinner at McGann’s Pub in Doolin. It’s rated as the #5 Restaurant by TripAdvisor. The food is not bad but I think it’s better to go for drinks and music. The place gets packed so went early to secure a table. There are not that many places to eat in town. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and sweet potato fries / chips – which was good enough.

MCGANNS PUB Doolin

We also ordered a burger and fries / chips. This was better than the pulled pork sandwich. The beef in Ireland is LEAPS and BOUNDS better than in the US!
MCGANNS PUB Doolin

Don’t order the crumble dessert. It was TERRIBLE. This is not a real baked dessert. It was just a scoop of hot fruit, a scoop of crumbles (like from a cereal box) topped with a scoop of ice cream and sauce. I was expecting something more like this.

MCGANNS PUB Doolin

My Cameras: These photos were taken using my Canon S110 Digital Camera (which has been replaced by the S120) as well as my larger Nikon D50.  I love the S110 – it’s tiny, fits in my pocket, and takes amazing pictures/videos.

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Comments

  1. I think it’s a little much to say that beef in Ireland is better than US beef. Beef in the US varies by region. It’s very good in the Midwest but not so much in many other places.

    Great posts by the way. I’m headed to this area in March 2016 so very interested in your travel reports. Thanks.

    • I agree it varies though I’m just wary that I don’t really know what I’m getting here. It seems that the overall process over there and many other countries is better, though I have not thoroughly investigated that. Here I’m checking out labels looking for things like organic and grass-fed. Have you had beef in Argentina? Also very good. Here’s an interesting conversation on the topic: https://www.paleohacks.com/meat/is-irish-beef-veal-grassfed-495

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