It’s time for me to rave about Finn McCools Tours again – I know, you’ve all been on the edge of your seats waiting for this blog post! If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that my parents and aunt recently came to Dublin for a visit. It was my parents’ first time to Europe and my aunt’s second time in Ireland, so I wanted to come up with some cool things to do to make sure they had a good time while they were here. I put together a pretty rad to-do list, if I do say so myself *pat pat* (see my Dublin to-do list), and a day trip with Finn McCools was an absolute must.
I didn’t mind that I’d be going back to Giant’s Causeway since I had such a great experience last time, but when I searched for the Groupon I found out that they had added a new tour that heads to the Cliffs of Moher. On my first visit to Ireland Alex and I visited the Cliffs but I knew my parents would love it so I didn’t mind.
On the day of the trip I was obviously late to the pickup point (it was 7am, give me a break) and I had no way to get a hold of my parents to let them know that I was running late so I just had to hope they could stall the tour guide until I got there. When I pulled up and didn’t see the huge coach bus like we’d taken on the Giant’s Causeway tour, I was sure they’d gone without me. Lucky enough, I spotted my dad waving me down a few seconds later. I got on the 16-seat mini bus to a round of applause from everyone on-board (thanks mom and dad), and we took off on our adventure.
I thought the tour guide on the Giant’s Causeway trip was great but this time our tour guide Brendan absolutely blew her out of the water. Sorry, Tara! On the way to our first stop in Galway, Brendan shared a ton of fun facts about some of the destinations and things we passed on the way, recited a poem in Gaelic and even sang us a song. You know when people are trying too hard to be funny and you have to politely laugh? This didn’t happen once. I mean it when I say that this guy was hilarious. Because the trip started so early, most people slept for the first stretch but my family and I were so interested in everything that Brendan had to say that we managed to keep our eyes open the entire way.
Stop #1: Galway City Centre
Though it was relatively early, the streets of Galway were still bustling and full of life. For some reason I had a picture in my head of an old city with not much going on but it was completely opposite of that. It’s a colorful, beautiful town full of modern shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs and sits right on the water. We didn’t have a ton of time there but it was enough to get a feel for the town and long enough for me to snag a new pair of sunnies, scooooore!
To get to the next stop, our driver literally had to travel off the beaten path. I’m talking barreling down narrow roads that are probably supposed to fit a clown car. Forget regular cars, every time a coach bus came our way I was literally gripping the edges of my seat. We were actually so far away from a major city that we got stuck in a traffic jam because a herd of cows was crossing the road.
Stop #2: Kilmacduagh Abbey
I’m sure Brendan told us a great story about the Kilmacduagh Monastery and why it was so important but I have to be honest, I’m blanking here. Regardless of my poor memory and/or selective hearing, this was still a great stop. We were the only ones there, aside from a local walking his dog, and it was cool to be able to get out and explore without being overwhelmed by a big crowd. We were only here for about 20 minutes but any more time probably would have seemed excessive.
Stop #3: The Burren
If I’m being totally honest, The Burren was the stop I was looking forward to least on the itinerary. When I looked at photos beforehand all I saw was a bunch of rocks. Yeah, suuuper exciting. Look, I don’t like admitting when I’m wrong as much as the next person does but here we are… I was wrong about The Burren. Expecting to see a pile of stones, what I saw instead were interesting rock formations with the beautiful blue sea as a backdrop. We were able to roam the rocky terrain for a good 25-30 minutes and see all the views that could be seen and what I’d predetermined as my least favorite stop of the day turned out to be my second favorite.
Stop #4: Cliffs of Moher
With gorgeous sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, the stop at the Cliffs of Moher was the perfect way to end the trip. Though I’d been here before, I was still blown away. It’s hard to properly describe how incredibly breathtaking everything really is. At heights of up to 700ft. and covered in green grass, the cliffs are surrounded by bright blue water that stretches as far as the eye can see. If you like having your heart in your throat, there are points where you can walk ridiculously close to the edge – just don’t look down. Even though the signs advise against it, you’ll see plenty of people quite literally risking their lives for an Instagram photo. I know I’m doing a shitty job of describing this, but it’s something that you really have to see for yourself.
With another wonderful trip with Finn McCool’s under my belt, I’m now a huge advocate for these kind of mini-trips more than ever before. No, I’m not getting paid to say that, I wish. If you want to get out and explore Ireland and don’t have a car, don’t want to spend a ton of money, or don’t want to waste time getting lost because you have no GPS signal – this is the perfect way to do it. Lace up and get ready to explore!
Until next time…