Monday, March 31, 2008

The Cliffs of Moher

The final stop of the day was the venerable Cliffs of Moher, one of the classical stops on any driving tour of Ireland. The view is truly remarkable, bolstered by the wonderful job they have done with the interpretive center that is built into the side of the hill, looking like a giant hobbit hole. Once concessionaire with a sense of humor named his shop The Gifts of Moher.

Perhaps you recall a previous visit when I got so mad at some guy driving a tour bus who could not manage to pay the parking fee without getting out of his boat that I in turn drove off in a snit. Well this time we had the problem with the parking fee as the auto-pay kiosk didn't seem to work judging from the hand printed sign taped on the front announcing as much. But we got through and headed across the road with a gale force wind at our backs. Thankfully it had stopped raining, a nice touch given the sub zero temperatures accompanying the stiff breeze.

We walked up and around, peering over the cliffs. The walks were composed of Liscannor limestone, a rock popular for its durability and the fossilized sea creatures covering its surface. It was a nice bit of environmental design. Sea birds wheeled about the faces of the cliffs. I stopped to talk to a birdwatching and chatted about the gulls, Kittiwakes and Fulmars easily spotted. No Puffins, sadly.

Up until a few years ago, people were allowed to wander right up to the edge, something now discouraged by the stone guard walls. The walls were a good idea, given the nature of many of the people I encounter in these places.

Once my hands had frozen into the shape of my binoculars, I figured it was time to head into the visitors center for some coffee and a cookie. Didn't take long to thaw after that.





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