I’m almost as wistful coming to the end of my Ireland posts as I was to actually leave Ireland. This country welcomed me with open arms and I embraced her right back. I asked Cory the other night if we could just go to Ireland every break for the next two years – I was kidding, but only a little bit.
Our last day in County Clare was a short one since we needed to be back at the Shannon airport by 4pm. I mentioned earlier that we almost missed that flight, and the reason we were cutting it so close was because of this – the Loop Head Peninsula drive, a scenic coastal route along the Atlantic Ocean from Kilkee to the end of the peninsula at Loop Head. The drive itself isn’t very long – only 45 minutes if you don’t make any stops, but the stops are the whole point of the drive!
It all begins in Kilkee, a charming seaside resort town on the bay. I found in Kilkee what I was hoping to find the previous day in Galway – a tranquil place to relax by the sea. The waters here are calm thanks to the protection of the Duggerna Reef, and during the off-season (September through April) much of the town closes up shop so other people were few and far between. Literally, the only sounds we could hear other than ourselves were the calls of the seagulls flying overhead.
If you ever feel like you take bad photos, just remember this one of me. Cory asks me to smile for a photo and somehow I end up looking like I’m in bad need of a bathroom break. I suck at taking photos by myself. But in all seriousness, I was probably being a goofball because we were having so much fun. We had the whole beach and coastline to ourselves, giving us the freedom to run and jump around and be as loud as we wanted without disturbing anyone else, except for the birds.
We took a walk down the rocky coast – Lexie jumping over every crevice between the rocks, and me falling behind because I was stopping to take a photo every three minutes. (I’m not exaggerating!) We stayed in Kilkee over an hour, which in retrospect is probably what made us nearly miss our flight, but I’d do it all again the same way if I had the chance. We just had to break the land speed record on our way back to the airport. No big deal.
Because I took over 200 photos from our last day in Ireland, I have to split the Loop Head Peninsula drive into two parts. I’ll have part two with pictures from the actual drive ready on Monday. That’ll be my last post about Ireland.
Here’s a picture of the Loop Head Peninsula map we used to plan our drive in case you’re interested in checking it out yourself. They were giving special Loop Head maps away for free at the Shannon airport when we arrived, but just in case, it’s probably best to print your route out on Google Maps before you leave. There are two scenic routes you can take, of which I can only vouch for the one along the western side of the peninsula, but I hear the eastern side is just as spectacular!
Also, if you’re looking for a place to get lunch, there’s a great little cafe in Kilkee with a view of the beach called The Strand Bistro where we got soup and sandwiches on our way back through to the airport. We were lucky to find something open during the off-season, but during the summer months I’m sure it’s much easier!
Click Here For Part Two: The Loop Head Peninsula Drive
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