Just my second day in Ireland, and already it was time to trek right to the other side of the country!
Ambitious travelers that my gracious hosts Izabela and Sabina and I are, we decided to head from Dublin (on the Eastern coast) to the Western coast along the Atlantic: to Ireland’s most famous natural wonder. And, to be accurate, it’s one of the greatest natural wonders in the entire world.
The Cliffs of Moher.
We joined an appropriately-named “Paddywagon” tour. En route, we passed through Limerick: the picturesque town along the River Shannon with a rough reputation… made famous as the setting for Frank McCourt’s memoir “Angela’s Ashes.” Limerick is also famous as the birthplace of the band “The Cranberries” (I could hear their song “Dreams” in my head while taking in the views from the cliffs. For full effect, you might want to listen to the song in a new browser window while you read this blog and view the photos).
Near Limerick, we witnessed a surprising and interesting example of “roughness” (I don’t mean it as a lack of sensitivity… just describing the fact that there is an unpleasant reality to the related theft and left-behind camp ruins): numerous camps either occupied or left behind by nomadic Roma people (Roma people are commonly called Gypsies). We saw several trailers and tents, rubbish-filled fields of left-behind camps, and even a government-organized shelter area that Roma people were encouraged to use. It was certainly fascinating to see – and also to contemplate the sprawling history of both the Roma people and the Celts… both of whom have had nomadic pasts and touch into the ancestry of so many Europeans and Asians from their origin in South Asia.
[Related note: that’s why you sometimes see red-headed Poles and Italians, among many other groups of people whose ancestry is blended into the long history of the Celts.]
Around noonish, we finally arrived at our destination where the island of Ireland rises out of the mighty Atlantic in the most dramatic way possible.
WOW! I think the Cliffs of Moher are definitely where the word “awesome” originated. It was a sight simply radiating the power of nature.
I won’t waste your time describing it in this blog entry – I know you want to go see the photos. I’ll simply say one last thing: Ireland isn’t exactly known for good weather. Izabela and Sabina said they’d seen nothing but rain and cold during their visits to the cliffs. And yet we were shedding our jackets and bravely going to the very edge of the cliffs because the ocean was perfectly calm and the wind completely still.
Maybe I bring “luck to the Irish?”