“You’ll be blown away” promises a leaflet about the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare. There’s supposed to be something for everyone – for passionate adventurers, history geeks, nature boys (or girls), family, couples or singles. Of course we wanted to get to the bottom of this promise on a day trip, especially since the peninsula is only a stone’s throw away from our home base.
Previously we went to our favorite beach in Lahinch to try my newly acquired wide-angle lens for the first time, though. The weather was wonderful, the temperatures springlike mild, the sky blue with fleecy clouds. In the end we had a delicious ice cream. 🙂
Then we started in the direction of Loop Head Peninsula, at the beginning of which we arrived after about an hour’s drive. First, we stopped at a coastal stretch in front of Kilkee, called George’s Head. The long green grass was shattered by the wind, the waves bounced noisily against the rocky cliffs and the sun kissed us gently. We sat down here for a while and enjoyed the forces of nature. In the distance we could see a steep rocky island in the sea.
After a short stop in the sleepy Victorian town Kilkee and its town beach, we went to the so-called Bishop’s Island, which we had admired from afar previously. It’s a mystery how the small, high island with cliffs all around, which is about 100 meters off the mainland and looks very inaccessible, could ever be inhabited by bishops. At least it’s only visited by numerous seabirds nowadays. A wonderful view together with the pink flowers that bloomed like weeds all over the Irish coast at this time of year!
We drove further on the winding narrow coastal road, the Wild Atlantic Way, to the Kilkee Cliffs. Once they served literary legends in Victorian times, more precisely around 1891, as “the finest bathing in Ireland”. The novelist Charlotte Bronte, who spent her honeymoon here, described the area around the cliffs with the following words:
„Such a wild iron-bound coast with such an ocean view as i had not yet seen and such battling of waves with rocks as i had never imagined“
– Charlotte Bronte (1854)
Not only then but also today, the narrow headland in the southwest of Clare thrilled Hollywood stars like Richard Harris or Danny DeVito, who spent their childhood days here or have relatives here.
And indeed, the Kilkee Cliffs are almost as spectacular as the neighboring famous Cliffs of Moher, only less known and therefore much less crowded. We basically had them all to ourselves! Since we discovered them, we show them to all our guests. They are (almost) still a real insider tip 😉
Our next stop was much further south at the last of three Atlantic nature bridges, the Bridges of Ross. The battering of the waves finds weak spots, e.g. in caves, and wears away the rock in these places more and more. The other two gradually collapsed over time by the raging forces of the Atlantic and even the third remaining existing bridge isn’t immune. As old bridges crumble, new bridges are being formed again. In a few hundred years’ time, there could be three bridges again.
Then as now, tourists love to be photographed on these naturally created bridges. And of course we did it too! To go over this bridge was a bit strange. The ground under the feet seemed to swing a bit and to sag more than usual. I got slightly dizzy and didn’t have to be on it longer than necessary. The danger of collapsing is somehow always there, even if the bridge is still very stable. Yeah, I’m not exactly an adrenalin junkie…
Now we drove to the place after the entire peninsula was named – the Loop Head. As with most peninsulas in Ireland, there’s a lighthouse on the tip of it. In the parking lot we met a couple of Germans, who vacationed here with their caravan, and talked a little with them about our stay abroad, which was still at its beginning at this time. Typically German, it was almost the first question, what we’re doing here and if we’re working here too. We explained to them that we consider this year as a break, but wouldn’t rule out to work here someday. Somewhat derogatory the older man answered “Well, you have a life” or something. So many are doing a year abroad or a sabbatical today. However, some people don’t seem to understand this, especially the older generation who worked their entire lives without a break, because they have learned to do so and to serve the community.
Anyway, we explored the landscape around the lighthouse first extensively and let the fresh sea breeze blow around our noses once again. The sun was already quite low, it was early evening. Falk had his drone circling a few circles as the lighthouse couldn’t be approached because of the high wall around it. We discovered the word “EIRE” at the very tip of the head, which can only be seen from the air. You can see this writing again and again around the entire island of Ireland. Only recently we have learned that during wartime, thereby airmen were able to see from afar that this was a neutral area and not the enemy. So these EIRE writings aren’t just recently created for drone pilots and tourists, but relics from less peaceful, long gone times.
With a growling stomach we headed back. On the way back we arrived in Kilkee – punctually for the sunset. Right in the restaurant on the seafront promenade we enjoyed seafood linguini and a slice of Baileys cream cheese cake – yum!
It was an almost cloudless, starry, nearly summery night, rarely found in Ireland. One last stop before returning home was still necessary. Back in Lahinch I really wanted to capture the starry sky over the beach. Unfortunately the promenade is quite bright and thus light-polluted. I had to “pimp” the result a bit, so that one of my first astrophotography tries is something to show to the public.
And so a successful day filled with new discoveries came to an end.
See you soon,
Verena & Falk