Oujournalist’s Blog

The blog of a freelancing journalist in Arizona

Cliffs of Moher make magnificent misty meanderings June 27, 2011

Filed under: green — Candace Hughes @ 6:40 pm

Moher’s misty paths make a great hike

By Candace S. Hughes
The sun was shining when we parked at the Cliffs of Moher so we left our rain gear in the trunk.

Halfway to Hag’s Head, a mist began sweeping westward from the Atlantic Ocean and over Ireland’s coast . By the time we reached the ruins, one side of our bodies was wet. On the way back from the three-hour round trip, the other half was dampened.

But how could we be in a bad mood? We were hiking at the Cliffs of Moher. In Ireland. We had on good hiking boots. It was 60 degrees.

Our inexpensive digital camera caught the fog rolling in just before the distant castle was obscured.

We watched in awe as gulls circled the cliffs and landed to feed nestlings in homes built on the sides of steep dropoffs. And then, of course, there was the sound of waves crashing 650 feet below.

We had heard on the flight from Philadelphia that several people fall from the unfenced areas of the cliffs each year and the bodies are never found. The warning from the natives of Limerick stayed with us as we trod carefully but steadily on the slippery path.

Rain and mist continued the next day as we went on Doolin Ferries’ Happy Hooker to the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.

We laughed as our faces and shoes were splashed by waves. Arriving at the island of Inisheer, we climbed through mist to the castle ruins. We combed the beach and were rewarded with some beautiful shells.

Before long, we boarded the boat to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands where we had a reservation at the Man of Aran Island Bed and Breakfast cottage. A taxi took our luggage while we biked the three-mile trip from the dock to the thatch-roofed home.

We again went beach combing and wading in the tide.

Wandering through the mist, we enjoyed the gardens of organic flowers and vegetables fed by compost. The islanders have used sand and seaweed to provide their own soil over the years of settlement.

A rainy day began again shortly after getting the bikes back to the dock the next day and we sheltered in a pay telephone booth to call relatives and check messages. While checking our luggage at the visitor center, we heard the strains of a Johnny Cash song and chuckled while our daughter bought a tin whistle.

Reluctantly we boarded the boat to return to Doolin and then headed on to Dublin, where warm, dry weather reigned. After being back for several weeks, we agreed that the rainy West Country was the best.