A trip to Aran Island, Cliffs of Moher and Galway!

    Dia duit Avgeeks!, and that is a casual ‘Hello’ from Ireland. When we think of Ireland, then Irish music comes naturally to our mind complementing it with the night/pub life, evergreen (and I mean it!) nature, beautiful landscapes and the blue waters!
    Living here in Ireland for the past few months is indeed bliss. I could see all three seasons of rainy, sunny, windy or wintery in a single day and first, it was unusual for me, but now I am used to it. However, as we are all stuck inside our homes due to the pandemic, we all need a break from it. And we decided to take one!
    We started looking for possible destinations, and we never intended to stereotype our Irish trip. Hence, skipping Galway, Cork and Sligo from our trip destinations was a no-brainer. We looked out on Google, scrapped the trip advisor website, phone called a few friends and colleagues and even brainstormed within our group about possible destinations. We came up with a stunning plan(affirming it after a trip).
    We decided to visit Aran Islands on our first day of the trip, then Roundstone and Dog’s Bay on the second, and Cliffs of Moher on the third. We visited various other places with apparent detours. We took our major detours with Dog’s Bay, Aillwee Caves and Bishop’s Quarter Beach.
    So let’s dig in more with the details of the trip.

    Reservations and Shopping

    We started our shopping a week prior. We bought a tent from Decathlon costing around 65 euros for three people. On the evening of Thursday, two days before the trip, we purchased our food items, including some spreads, bread, tortilla wraps, chicken, biscuits, and many more. We booked our ferry from the Aran Islands Ferries website. The ferry starts from Rossaveel. The ticket rates are as follows (as of 12 June 2021), For Adult, 30 Euros each, Students (13 or over, must have valid ID during travel) and Seniors (above 65 years), 25 euros each, children over five years, 15 euros each and Children under 5 travel free. We booked our rental car from Sixt which cost us around 300 euros including the rent of the car 33 euros a day, the insurance of 113 euros in total (for a car and the travellers), prepaid fuel (60 euros with a full tank) and taxes (30 euros). The best part about prepaid fuel is that you can return a vehicle with almost an empty tank and I would highly suggest taking this option if your journey includes 500+KM. We had to book our stay for the second night in Galway city and we chose Galway because it was a central point for our journey. We stayed at a very spacious and beautiful hostel, Kinlay Hostel, Galway. It cost us around 30 euros each per night.

    Places we visited

    Day 1

    We started our journey from Dublin Airport(DUB), where we picked our rental car from T1. We started our journey around 9.10 AM and reached Rossaveel at 1.03 PM with a casual breakfast break in Galway city. First 200 KM were buttery smooth on M6 and after we left Galway City, we drove on a beautiful, scenic Wild Atlantic Way.

    We had almost missed our ferry which was scheduled at 1 PM but thankfully our friends reached there on time and requested the ferry captain to wait till we get there! Phew! We boarded on a ferry and it left the Rossaveel Port in Galway Bay at 1.07 PM. The ferry time was around 45 minutes and then we reached Inis Mor Pier. We rented our bikes for 24 hours from Aran Bike Hire on spot with no deposit amount and 15 euros for each cycle. You can book a cycle beforehand on their website as well. We rode our bikes on the west side of the island and settled at one remote location to set up our tents.

    Day 2

    We started our second day at 8 AM in the morning and rode our bikes first to the Dún Aonghasa, (On Google Maps). This beautiful stone fort is a treat for the eyes with its beautiful location and the crystal clear blue water of the Atlantic Ocean till your eyes can see. We were fortunate to see some dolphins playing around in the good morning. The views from the cliffs were just amazing.

    We then headed to The Worm Hole immediately due to the time crunch. It is a nature’s marvel if you ask me to describe it. We rode our bikes almost 13 KM on the second day. Then we arrived at the Aran Bike Hire around 11 AM. We submitted the bikes back on time and took one parcel of big sandwiches from SPAR for our breakfast on our way back to Rossaveel.

    We arrived at Rossaveel at 1 PM and got our cars from the parking lot. We paid 7 euros for the paid parking near the port. Then with some discussion, we headed for our next destination before starting our journey back to the hostel in Galway. One of my friends suggested Dog’s Bay, where you can see three beaches adjacent. This is no wonder nature’s miracle. We took the no-brainer decision and started our journey to the Roundstone first and then Dog’s Bay. We ate homemade ice cream at the local fair arranged by the people of Roundstone and drove to Dog’s Bay. It is around 7 KM from Roundstone, and I would suggest parking your cars on the main road if it is crowded else; you can take your car down the hill to the beach and enjoy the crystal clear blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. By the time we reached there, it was around 12-degree celsius, and the water was too cold to enter. Yet to freshen up ourselves, we decided to forget the temperature and enter the waters. We took a nice 40 minutes bath in seawater and sat on a white sand beach for a while to take some sunbath and make ourselves comfortable with the outside temperature. We got ourselves ready and left Dog’s Bay around 5 PM. We took the N59 to reach Galway faster.

    After returning to Galway City at around 7 PM on Sunday, we checked into our hostel. The Kinlay Hostel, which we booked for 30 euros for a night per person. The cost included a bunk bed, access to shared bathrooms, access to iMac for students or working professional, access to a kitchen to cook your favourite food, a common dining area and a chill zone to chit chat or attend a meeting from the hostel. We wandered around Galway city at night, and it was such a beautiful vibe there. Music on the streets of Galway is genuinely an indicator that Galway is a city of music.

    Day 3

    On the third day, we left Galway around 11 AM. We started our journey to the Cliffs of Moher, which is around 76 KM. While driving to our destination, we found an excellent spot to have our lunch, Bishop’s Quarter Beach. After spending almost 45 minutes there and our homemade chicken sandwiches, we continued our journey to the cliffs of Moher. We started noticing one billboard constantly on our road to cliffs, Aillwee Cave. We decided to take another detour and set our Google Maps accordingly. We visited Aillwee Caves and bought our 11 euro discounted ticket for students.
    The following information is from Wikipedia, ‘The cave system consists of over a kilometre of passages leading into the heart of the mountain. Its features include an underground river and a waterfall. The remains of bears can also be seen inside the caves, and allusions have been made to it being the last bear den in Ireland.’ We skipped the Birds of Prey show due to the time limit and marched towards our final destination, The Cliffs of Moher. These are sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare. They rise above the Atlantic Ocean at 214 meters, and at most south location of cliffs at Hag’s Head, they are at 120 meters. Cliffs of Moher is 8 KM in total length from their northmost portion till the southmost tip. The location got a lot of attention when one of the iconic scenes from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth instalment from the franchise. We descended the cliffs at 6 PM on Monday and started our journey back to Dublin around 6.30 PM. We arrived in Dublin around 10 PM and submitted our rental car at 10.45 PM on Monday, just before our 11 PM deadline.

    Trip Statistics

    We rented a car for two days, 15 hours to be exact and travelled 762 KM. We paid 307 euros, including a complete protection plan for us, travellers and a car and pre-paid fuel. In addition, we filled a 30 euro petrol our way back home. Accommodation in Galway was around 150 euros that are 30 per person. We spent about 30 euros on our food over three days.

    Total Distance762 KM
    Rental Car Duration 2 Days, 15 Hours
    Tickets20 Euros
    Parking16 Euros
    Toll17 Euros
    Cycle90 Euros
    Accommodation150 Euros
    Car Rental307 Euros
    Trip Statistics for Galway, Aran Island, Cliffs of Moher.

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