Ireland: Cliffs of Moher- County Clare

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Blarney Stone, Ring of Kerry, and Cliffs of Moher were places I truly wanted to visit, and the Fellow, as much as he disliked driving, made sure that I made it to them.

Cliffs of Moher moonshine in a teacup

The Princess Bride, with its cheesy plotholes and loveable characters, is one of my favorite movies. For those of you who love the story of Butter Cup and Westly, you recall the scene at the Cliffs of Insanity. Westly scales the cliff side to rescue his true love. What you may not have known is that those cliffs were actually the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland.

The drive to the Cliffs of Moher from Killarney was half the fun. You go from motorways onto the tiny countryside roads that you imagine when you think of rural Ireland. These roads are lined on either side by shrubs and stone walls and are tiny and winding.

One thing that we passed on our drive that stuck out was the golf courses. Golf originated in Scotland, so it makes sense to see it in nearby Ireland, but these courses looked nothing like the golf courses we have here. They were like the “Tough Mudder Competition” of golf. You are playing around crumbling towers, deep hills, rocks, and (that day) in the whipping wind and rain.  No, thank you. I played mini golf in the rain at the beach one year and that was enough for me.

We kept winding our way up to the cliffs, and as we got closer, the Fellow’s drive got more nerve-wracking. As we were headed up to the cliffs, there were tour buses coming back down which we had to let pass.

Once we finally made it to the top, we bought our tickets. The lady at the ticket stand was none too happy with us Americans. As she put it, “You all come over here and always bring a storm and rain, never any of that American sunshine.” (I think I’ve mentioned it, but a common theme on our trip was people assuming all of America was California or immediately telling us they liked John Denver.)

She was right though; it was grey and misty and foggy. The Cliffs of Moher is a heavily trafficked tourist area, so they know this is an issue for people. When we got there the sign said, “Visibility Level: Low.”  As we walked out of the visitor center towards the cliffs, my heart sank. The sign was right. I could barely see the stone steps in front of me, let alone the cliffs. It was like sitting and staring at a grey wall.

The Fellow tried his best to make me feel better, but I was so upset I nearly cried. Around us, people were voicing their own frustrations and leaving to get into their warm cars and head back to their hotels for dry clothes. I’m a bit more stubborn and wanted to wait around as long as I could because maybe, just maybe, the fog would clear. Not even twenty minutes later, it did! Let me tell you, the cliffs were worth the wait.

Just a little at first, and then it was pretty clear! It. Was. Breathtaking. I could’ve stood there forever.

Cliffs of Moher moonshine in a teacup

We were up at the top near O’Brien’s Tower, and then walked out a bit to the left. At the end of the walkway and stone observation wall, there is a monument to all those who have lost their lives on the cliffs. It marks the end of the official tourist spot and has a big warning sign letting you know the road beyond the gate is “Enter at Your Own Risk,” and they recommend you don’t go any farther. Of course,  everyone wants to go farther. So, over the barricade onto the red mud path we go. The Fellow went one step farther and went over that low stone wall as well to stand on the edge of the cliff.

Cliffs of Moher moonshine in a teacup

Why is it we humans always want to go just a little bit into the danger zone? In the comments section, let me know where on vacation you’ve stood just a little too close to the edge!

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