Frugally Traveling the Irish Coast

The Irish Coast lends itself to spectacular sights and experiences that one would think would cost an arm and a leg- not so! Start out at Kai restaurant, in Galway, which is a welcoming, cozy place headed by a New Zealand chef, Jessica Murphy.  Grab a coffee and a scone to fuel up for the day and you are only out a few dollars. Head towards Galway, considered by many the cultural backbone of Ireland to visit the Galway Cathedral. It’s free but paying the suggested donation of 2 euros won’t put you out…it’s a little over 2 American dollars. Explore the charming Galway by foot and when you get hungry, stop at Kai, a welcoming, cozy place headed by a New Zealand chef, Jessica Murphy. A delicious bowl of carrot and miso soup was only 5 euros and came with a thick slice of dense, multigrain bread, that probably would have sufficed as a small meal. Next, head over to the charmingly ramshackle bookshop Bell, Book and Candle and receive a quick lesson in literary history from the owner, Paul Deacy. For about 6 euros you can buy 2 books to read while on vacay. Quay and Shop Streets teem with pedestrians, shops and street musicians- all free entertainment and people watching!  After that, take off for a scenic drive. If you spend any amount of time driving in Ireland, you’ll be spoiled by the number of beautiful old castles you pass, but Dunguaire Castle, in the southeastern corner of Galway Bay, is one of the stateliest. After walking the grounds, it was onto one of the true natural wonders of Ireland: The possibly bewitched Cliffs of Moher. They’re easy enough to find: Just follow the road signs, pull into the big lot and pay the 8-euro admission (4 euros if you book online in advance like all the other tourists). But go beyond the tour buses and continue south, and you’ll notice signs for an alternate parking lot that claims to get you closest to the actual cliffs. It’s slightly tricky, but continue until you find Liscannor Walk and a small private lot, where you’ll pay just 2 euros to park. It’s a manageable uphill walk to the cliffs from there, along a stone wall and past curious cows as you make your way toward the water.  Watch the sunset from there, basking in your financially guilt-free day.

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