Road Trip: Ireland

3.3.2009

By Aefa Mulholland

Day Two: Glin to Galway

MORNING: Join the surfers on the Shannon Breeze ferry across the estuary. When they turn off for County Clare's rugged Lahinch beach, continue on the R478 to peer over the Cliffs of Moher, five miles of shale and sandstone cliffs that plunge to the moody Atlantic below. Stop in at the Burren Smokehouse (Ballyvaughan Road, Lisdoonvarna, +353-0-65-707-4432) for some local organic salmon or spiced apricot and orange chutney.

AFTERNOON: Don't be tempted to head directly to Galway. The detour through the barren Burren is one of Ireland's most memorable drives. Fields gradually give way to amazing stretches of limestone karst. It's only an hour's drive from this quiet wilderness to the boisterous heart of the west, Galway City, famed for its traditional music and lively bars. The vibrant college town's calendar is confettied with festivals. Top off your day with dinner at atmospheric Ard Bia (Spanish Arch, Long Walk, Galway, +353-0-91-539-897), where a contemporary menu mixes Irish ingredients with French cooking techniques in a medieval rough-hewn stone building on the riverbank.

SLEEP: G Hotel (Wellpark Road, Galway, +353-0-91-865-200). A trio of frivolous lounges, 101 stunning guest rooms, and the sexiest spa in the land were all impeccably designed by gay milliner to the stars Philip Treacy.

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