Baile na Sionnainne
Completing more and more places in the Republic of Ireland, it is difficult to go anywhere which is not nice. Merely for the incredible landscapes, their people and the food a trip is always well worth it. And considering in this occasion that July and August are usually the most quiet months we take in travelling because it’s high season and prices for a flight anywhere, even to next door, are really high, we managed to find a great deal to Shannon.
So what was all about coming to Shannon? Definitely not to visit the city, basically because there is absolutely nothing to see from the tourist point of view. The city was the first on-purpose planned city in Ireland built in 1960 mostly to accommodate the workers from the airport recently built by then. But it’s next door to Limerick and the world famous Cliffs of Moher, main reason why we came here.
For the time you will need, a weekend is more than enough to visit these three places, and even more around the area. Driving from Shannon to the cliffs is little over 1 hour, while from Shannon to Limerick is matter of minutes.But in between you have other nice villages and landscapes worth to take a detour and enjoy this very nice side of the truly rural Ireland.
So leaving aside Shannon where I don’t consider extra information is needed nor any need for visiting; and Limerick for what I will create a separate travel guide, I concentrate here on the most spectacular side of this trip: the nature and landscapes of the cliffs. By all means this is one of Ireland’s most visited attractions. A sign of identity. And yet those are not the largest, highest or longest cliffs found in Europe, they are still very impressive.
Rising as high as 214 meters over the sea level on the area north of O’Brien’s Tower, on a clear day it is possible to see Aran Islands and Galway Bay in the distance. Also if you are lucky and depending on which section of the cliffs you are you will be able to see Atlantic puffins. Climbing this tower costs extra 2 Euros, and if doing so then you can say you are at the highest advantage point of view. Trekking paths run along and parallel to the cliffs, a really great walk to admire the nature all around you and reaching the various viewing points along the way.
For more information about Shannon check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. For the cliff of Moher here is the link to Wikipedia. Ireland’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
How to get there
The nearest and most convenient airport to the Cliffs is Shannon, the second largest in Ireland after Dublin, offering flights within Ireland, Europe and even USA. It is one of the very few airports in the world with US border pre-clearance. From the airport there are very frequent buses to the city centre, service offered by Bus Eireann company. The same bus company offer routes across Ireland from/to Shannon.
From the airport you can get a rental car as the most viable option and drive towards Liscannor 60 miles away where the cliffs range start. If you don’t drive don’t worry, you can get a bus from Shannon, Limerick and even a tour from Dublin. Since we opted for a car I cannot tell you about the bus option but a search over internet will get you all this information.
The visitor centre is beside the cliffs designed to not disturb the landscapes around. It costs 6 Euros including car park, and even if you don’t want to enter the visitor centre the fee is the same. Once there by the cliffs there is only a one direction route where you can head west and east. It is much worth it to take the east path up to the end where you can get great pictures of yourself literally hanging sitting on the cliffs.
Getting a bed and breakfast around this region is very easy and won’t bee too expensive. In fact there is not really need for you to book in advance if you think your plans might change, this way you don’t fix yourself to a plan. The is not much choice in Shannon but a greater one in Limerick, where we decided to get our hotel. We also knew we would be spending Sunday in Limerick and around so made sense to get a hotel here, which is in any case only 24 kilometres away from Shannon airport. A good point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engines such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers.
We stayed at the Maldron Hotel, right in the city centre and perhaps one of the largest in the city, if not the largest. Really nice in all senses. Generous size bedroom, comfortable beds and all facilities inside the room. Friendly and kind stuff and great breakfast, not to mention a huge plus, it’s great swimming pool.