Sometimes you can get a little bored of painstakingly beautiful greenery. All those perfect fields and cute little sheep can really get on your nerves. When this psychosis hits, get on your bike to the Burren where the colour of the day is grey.
The Burren is a trippy landscape to the south of Galway City predominantly made up of miles upon miles of limestone plateaus. Where there should be fields there is just grey rock with shipwrecked boulders punctuating the landscape. The clichéd adjective is 'moonlike' and I'm going to run with that.
The highlight of the moonlike Burren is undoubtedly the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. These dramatic cliffs rise 200 metres (700 foot) out of the Atlantic Ocean and continue for 8 kilometres (5 miles). As I've repeated ad nauseum on this site, they're REALLY busy most of the time as they are most visitors go-to attraction but still very worth the visit.
It would be a shame to just hot foot it to the Cliffs of Moher and back from Galway or, god forbid, Dublin. A full day should be taken to explore a region that throws up some crazy photo opportunities.
En-route to Galway on the coast road, Dunguaire Castle perches dramatically at sea-level on a bay and on a good day reflects beautifully off the water.
The most well-known is the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a tricky little beggar to find which would leave you cursing its name if it were easier to say. This portal tomb is reminiscent of an Imperial Walker from Star Wars made out of huge slabs of stone and is quite an impressive site when captured against the rising or setting sun. Nearby there's also Caherconnell Fort - a cool climbable stone ring fort which blends into surroundings. Finally for the inland mini-stops is the prison-like Leamaneh Castle which is good for a quizzical opened mouth drive by kind of sightseeing.
A really niche visit and only really for those from Ireland and the UK is Father Ted's house. For those not in the know, Father Ted was an Irish comedy series revolving around three feckless priest who had been exiled to the fictitious Craggy Island parish. Essential viewing before coming to Ireland, this series is the perfect example of glorious silly Irish comedy with a hard edge. Much of the series - despite being set on an island - was filmed around the Burren with the most famous site being the Glanquin Farmhouse as the parochial house. Afternoon tea is available on appointment but this really is in the middle of nowhere so come prepared with directions down to the nearest tree.
Although most people will day trip to the Burren, there are some really lovely towns and villages that offer enough for the tourist at night. Doolin is a village with a number of pubs and is well-known for it's live music. A special mention to the Doolin Music House where you can enjoy a session inside the home of Christy Barry and his fellow musicians for around €20.00, Lisdoonvarna and Ballyvaughan also offer busy high streets with nice pubs and restaurants.