Thoughts of Ireland can evoke strong color imagery for anyone who has ever visited the country and even for those who only dream of stepping foot there one day.
There’s the golden brown of a fresh plate of crispy Irish fish and chips which some people claim is actually tastier than their British neighbor’s version of the classic dish.
There’s the dark mocha color of a perfectly poured pint of Guinness with a thin layer of cream-colored foam that tops off this unofficial national drink of Ireland.
There’s the bright blues, reds and yellows that paint the facades of Ireland’s numerous pubs. They signal to locals and visitors alike that an inviting atmosphere where the music is lively and the people are friendly is waiting for them inside.
Above all, the clearest colors in anyone’s mental image of Ireland are the greens that earned the country its nickname as the Emerald Isle. The color green makes an appearance in the country’s flag and on the suit worn by its favorite mythical creature, the leprechaun. Most notably, however, the various hues of green can be admired in Ireland’s vast supply of natural beauty.
From the seemingly endless fields of fertile green farming lands to the impressive cliffs that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, natural wonders are easy to come by in this island nation.
Although many first-time visitors use the eastern capital city of Dublin as a home base for exploring Ireland, the west coast of the country offers unparalleled opportunities to experience the sights and sounds of the beautiful Irish culture and landscape.
When planning a trip to explore the wild west of Ireland, visits to the counties of Clare and Galway are a must. This three-part series will feature just a few of the sites to see and activities to do that are worthy of adding to any Western Ireland itinerary.
For a break from the city life and a taste of the Irish countryside, visitors need to look no further than the seaside village of Doolin, which is the perfect blend of tranquility and excitement. To the east, Doolin is surrounded by hill after hill of open green fields and small, colorful homes and shops that line the one main road that runs through the town. Visitors can relax in a café with a hot cup of tea, try their hand at a round of golf with a course that overlooks the ocean or simply take in the scenery with a walk around the village.
This peaceful environment is disturbed only by the phenomenal natural beauty that awaits further west. Kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding and even cave exploring are just a few of the activities to be found within this small coastal village. A quick bus ride or a short scenic hike, however, leads to the main attraction that Mother Nature has to offer: the Cliffs of Moher.
These rocky cliffs with their fuzzy green tops of plush grass tower above the Atlantic Ocean. The waves roar as they crash into the cliffs and send white ocean spray flying hundreds of feet into the air. It’s as if the water is demanding the attention of the cliffs but to no avail. The cliffs, which have formed over thousands of years, remain unmovable, stoic and majestic despite the ocean’s power.
Standing at 702 feet at their highest point, the well-pronounced Cliffs of Moher are the highest cliffs in all of Europe. This breathtaking landscape is Ireland’s most visited natural attraction and draws in up to one million visitors a year to walk along its edges and admire its natural beauty. A trip to Ireland would be incomplete without a visit to these awe-striking cliffs that are iconic to the natural wonders found in the Emerald Isle.
After a full day of enjoying time with Mother Nature, the excitement continues well into the night as locals and visitors come together and partake in an ancient Irish tradition: drinking. As the traditional music capital of Ireland, Doolin is also never short on opportunities to enjoy a live Irish jig while downing a pint (or two) of beer and cider.
As if live music and great beer aren’t reason enough to venture out into Doolin’s small but lively pub scene, the friendly locals will seal the deal. With a beer in hand and a smile on the face, anyone is welcomed with open arms.
As one Doolin native put it, “We’re all related through drink.”