Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kelli: Final Destinations Bunratty and Shannon

The Majestic Cliffs of Moher
 I write from the city of Shannon, our final city in Ireland. We leave tomorrow morning, and even though we all are excited to share our adventures with friends and family, we have enjoyed these past few days. Yesterday we had the opportunity to take a coach from Galway to Shannon. Along the way we learned more about the landscape and history of Ireland. As well, we were able to stop at some amazing sites. One of these being the famous Cliffs of Moher, or known by fans of The Princess Bride, the Cliffs of Insanity! Yes, the Cliffs of Moher have been used in many movies, like The Princess Bride and Harry Potter. For good reason, these cliffs have fascinated, terrified, and ignited wonder from visitors for hundreds of years. The cliffs rise to 700 feet at the highest point and the range is five miles over the Atlantic Ocean. The waves below crash violently on the cliffs on a relatively calm day, like yesterday. But on most days when it is rainy and windy, the waves pound the cliffs with great force. Although we did not see much wildlife while we were there, wildlife like Puffins, Guillemots and Peregrine Falcons. As we left this destination, the mist and fog began to settle on the cliffs. It really is amazing that such a beautiful and magnificent place exists. It was definitely one of my favorite places on the trip.
The girls take a quick photo
Today we ventured to Bunratty Castle. The castle, used by the O'Briens for years, was built in 1425. It was given its name because it is located beside the Ratty River and the Ratty River flows into the Shannon River near by. The original walls and flooring still stand; however the other parts of the castle have been restored. Although the furniture is not the original furniture from the structure, the furniture is from the 16th century. Bunratty Castle, unlike the Conwy Castle, is actually a tower structure and, though built for defense, was used more as a house for the O'Briens. After King Henry VIII reign though the O'Briens moved out and soon no one lived in the tower. Today, the tower is still beautiful and stands as a type of symbol for Ireland. When it was restored to its current splendor in the 20th century, the Irish people began to see that if a structure from old could be restored, so could the country of Ireland. Instead of dwelling on their past history, they saw how it could empower them. They could use their past history to help them know where they had come from and where they were going, a concept we all should remember.
Bunratty Castle
We wake up early tomorrow morning and leave from the airport of Shannon! We will be home to all of you faithful followers soon!

-Kelli

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