I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't heard of the Cliffs of Moher. They're the massive, beautiful juts of rock that meet in spectacular fashion where the west coast of Ireland ends abruptly in the ocean. They can be seen in the background of Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, Princess Bride, and have been featured in all sorts of commercials and documentaries. Why? Because they're amazing. Over here, Americans are slighted for using "big adjectives" such as amazing, but honestly these cliffs well deserve every last syllable.
The day we got to the cliffs was true to Irish form. It was damp, rainy, and very cloudy. It was also rather late in the day, as we had come in from Galway, and so we decided to head down the road and stay at a B&B so we could come back tomorrow. Luck was on our side for this. The next day was bright and perfect for seeing the cliffs.
We walked along a path that curved along lower portions of cliffs by the ocean. At any given time we were anywhere between a few yards and a few inches from the edge. It's a bit disconcerting when this is accompanied by many warning signs of poor stick men flailing their way into the ocean because the edge gave way from under their feet.
But that's part of why I love these natural wonders, especially how the places we've been presents them. There's no handrails, there's no ropes, just a few signs reminding people not to be complete idiots and with that you're on your own!
From Moher we went down into the small village of Doolin. A very small number of you might recognize this name from the PS3 launch title Folklore. I'll have you know that the facts of Doolin were quite fabricated for this game. There is in fact a cave, but it is not a link to the realm of faeries. In fact, this cave houses the largest free hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere.
The men who found it were two Englishmen who crawled around in caves for fun. I suppose life without Netflix was really quite difficult. They started their expedition by crawling on hands and knees underground for nearly three hours before they reached a huge cave. They were crawling in complete darkness to save the fuel for the lantern, and when they heard their voices echo they turned the light on to discover an amazing sight.
Later when the owners of the land were allowed to turn the area into free access for tourists, they carved the caves and tunnels to the stalactite entirely by hand so as to avert the risk of knocking the stalactite down.
The stalactite actually has two parts, one is off white and the other is white. The off white is referred to as "dead" because the flow of water that formed it has since dried up. The white portion, however, is still alive and well and growing ever so slowly. The formation comes from limestone, which is very plentiful in this part of Ireland. The minerals run down with the water, forming a long root system that collects in spectacular fashion.
We also found some goats. They were amazingly adorable, and far preferred the grass we stuck through the fence for them to eat over the grass they already had on their side. They were by the cave, and the fence that encased them was built taller and taller clearly over a few stages. Apparently the goats would jump the fence and find their way into the Doolin Cave. Maybe they just wanted a touch of adventure.
This was our last big stop in Ireland, and it was one I greatly enjoyed. We went from one of the highest points deep down into one of the lowest, darkest points us everyday people can visit in Ireland.