By Lynn Strough
The famous Cliffs of Moher are one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland, with almost a million visitors a year.
After taking the car ferry over the channel from Troger — and before driving to the Cliffs of Moher — I headed for Loophead to check out the lighthouse and walk the loop around the peninsula head. What breathtaking cliffside views! The drive on the peninsula is on some of those quintessential Irish roads — two-way streets, only really wide enough for one car, with grass growing right up out of the asphalt in the middle — with quaint cottages to stop for scones, jam and clotted cream with tea along the way.
When I first pulled into the parking lot at the Cliffs of Moher and saw the hordes of tourists and tour buses, I almost left. But as long as I was there, I decided to check it out. It was late in the day and there were more people going than coming. Hiking up to the cliffs, I realized it’s part of a long-distance walk, not just a place to peek over the edge and leave. You can do however much of it you want, up to the whole town-to-town trail that takes about 10 hours.
I spent about three hours walking along the cliff edge — the scenery was spectacular! It was gray and gloomy but with great visibility; you could see the Aran Islands in the distance and just a small bit of sun peeked through all of the clouds, creating a bright white spotlight far out on the ocean. It wasn’t the best light for photography — very flat — but I photographed anyway. It wasn’t wind, and my fleece and rain jacket kept me warm, and warning signs helped keep me safe.
The path meanders high up on the cliff’s edge, muddy rocky trails between sea and fields of cows. It can be a dangerous place, intentionally or not, and there is a marker in memory of those who never left.
The Cliffs of Moher are made up mostly of shale and sandstone, and there are more than 20 species of birds living there, including Atlantic puffins and razorbills. An eco-friendly visitors’ center built into the hill provides interactive exhibits giving lots of information about the geology, flora, fauna and history of the area, and there’s a tower you can visit as well.
Even on a gloomy day, take time to hike the Cliffs of Moher. Just watch your step!
Lynn is a 50+ free spirit whose incarnations in this life have included graphic designer, children’s book author and illustrator, public speaker, teacher, fine art painter, wine educator in the Napa Valley, and world traveler. Through current circumstances, she has found herself single, without a job or a home, and poised for a great adventure.
“You could consider me homeless and unemployed, but I prefer nomad and self-employed, as I pack up my skills and head off with my small backpack and even smaller savings to circumnavigate the globe (or at least go until the money runs out). Get ready to tag along for the ride…starting now!”
Reprinted with permission