Starting off the post with this picture because a stranger walked past while I was taking it and yelled “SOMEBODY PUT THIS GIRL ON THE UNIVERSITY WEBSITE” so here we go:
Ever since I found out that visiting the Cliffs of Moher was part of the Plus3 program, I constantly found myself looking up photos, videos and traveler reviews. My favorite was a video showing the overhead view paired with slow and dramatic music. It looked absolutely astonishing and it quickly became my most anticipated visit. Today was finally the day to see this beauty first hand and I can honestly say that it was above and beyond all of my expectations. After about 3 hours of driving on a tour bus, we began to approach the visitor area. The roads were narrow and the scenery was stunning. There were stone walls running along the entire roadway that we later learned are also known as “Penny Walls.” This name came from a time when the Irish were under British rule and they were forced to work to build this wall for over 10 hours a day and got paid only a penny for their labor.
When we finally reached the cliffs, I was blown away. I’m not quite sure how to put into words how overwhelming it all was. We got extremely lucky and we were blessed with blue skies which gave us the optimal visiting experience. We began our trek to the left path up the cliff which had a wall separating travelers from the actual edge of the cliff. After only a few minutes of walking, we came across a sign that warned of “Extreme Danger.”
At this point, it became so real. I’ve read stories and articles about people jumping off these cliffs or falling off after getting too close to the edge. The wall separating travelers from the edge shifted so that we could choose to either stay behind the wall or go on the other side, allowing us to go closer to the cliff. We ventured as far as we dared before we got too nervous. I tried to balance my time between taking pictures and living in the moment in order to truly appreciate the absolute beauty of the cliffs. My only complaint about this excursion was that our time was limited to under 2 hours. I honestly could have spent an entire day exploring the trails and seeing every angle of the cliffs.
My personal opinion is obvious – I was so incredibly happy with this journey and I really do hope to return someday. Professionally, I learned that it is possible to turn a site with such natural beauty into a business without ruining the authenticity. I especially appreciated that they built the gift shops into the side of the cliffs instead of making them flashy and obnoxious.
This has been, without a doubt, my favorite day of the trip so far. I can’t wait to see all the other amazing experiences Ireland has to offer during our final week!