On Ireland’s national day celebrating the life of Saint Patrick the world paints itself in emerald green. This most vibrant green matches the incredibly rich and lush countryside of Ireland. However my most abiding memory of Ireland (outside of the famed hospitality) are the haunting Cliffs of Moher.
The lady running the quaint bed and breakfast promised spectacular sunshine. Go and see the Cliffs today, it’s so clear that you’ll see North America she gasped excitedly in her lilting, choral voice. Her generous spirit made her an ideal accommodation manager but she rarely stopped for breath, talking incessantly about Irish tales, past guests, the beauty of the local area and the cold of the winters.
Among her extraordinary gifts, weather forecasting is not one. Almost on completing the sentence, a thick syrupy fog rolled in making seeing the tiny Aran Islands (less than 10 kilometres offshore) unlikely, let alone North America.
Even shrouded in mist, the Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking. The sheer rock face of layered black shale give a dark, foreboding spirit, the savage North Atlantic beating incessantly into the rocky walls below. The coastline runs as if crinkle-cut, the silhouetted headlands merging into the murky greyness. The gusting ocean winds whistle their dominant tunes through the narrow inlets adding to the ghostly setting.
Photos on a clear day show this wild coastline running for miles, the enveloping haze on this overcast day giving an endless feel to this inspiring landscape. Small seabirds dart skilfully in the powerful gusts towards their nests perched precariously on narrow ledges.
Little yellow warning signs demonstrating people slipping to a watery grave symbolically remind people to be careful near the unprotected slippery edges. Reports indicate the strong winds, blowing unsuspecting visitors from the cliff, along with errant video takers engaged with their viewfinder taking a step too far.
As the world bathes in emerald on Ireland’s day of pride, seek out the naturally stunning Cliffs of Moher and the harsh beauty of nature. While sunshine is typically ideal for panoramic vistas, in many ways, the murky greyness of an Irish fog is more suited to this wild western coastline.
Photo Credit: Clear Day