Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Wilds of Ireland's West Coast

My favorite part of Ireland is the "wild" western shore where the Cliffs of Moher stand 702 feet high.  

On a clear day, views from the cliff tops include the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and the Twelve Bens mountain range. Located in west County Clare, the Cliffs are part of an archaeological hotspot, including the Burren that is home to 70 wedge tombs – some older than the pyramids – including the famous Poulnabrone dolmen, a portal tomb - one of approximately 172 in Ireland. This tomb was in use during the Neolithic and radiocarbon dates place its use between 3,800 - 3,600 BC.

The first excavation of Poulnabrone Dolmen was in 1986 and then again in 1988 by Ann Lynch. During this excavation, one portal stone was replaced, and the team excavated the chamber, portico, and cairn. The remains of up to 22 individuals from the Neolithic were found. Sixteen adults, six children, and one newborn (from the Bronze Age) were among the remains.

There are other treasures in western Ireland. Bunatty Castle, among them. A large 15th-century tower house, the castle in in the midst of Bunratty Village that displays thatched cottages where the people lived for centuries.

The present castle is the fourth structure, and it was built by the MacNamara family around 1425.

As much as I love the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and Bunratty Castle, my favorite place in County Clare is the coastal village of Doolin. Fisher Street has one of my favorite pubs in Ireland - O'Connors.
Know for its nightly traditional Irish music,  Gus O'Connor's pub offers old-style Irish dishes such as Shepherd's pie and Guinness stew. 

Coming up is the story of St. Brigid's Well, also in west County Clare.

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