The Cliffs of Moher and other adventures

By Joycelyn Fish

Lumen Reporter

As a junior studying Organiza­tional Communication at Viterbo, I spent last semester studying abroad at the University of Limerick in Lim­erick, Ireland.

Besides the obvious “studying” part of study abroad, I was lucky enough to meet amazing people from all over the globe, try some of the local fare, and travel to the Ring of Kerry, Cork, Galway, Dublin and even London for a weekend. No matter how corny it may sound, it was truly the adventure of a lifetime and I cannot wait for the day I re­turn to Ireland.

A salty aroma drifted through the air, accompanied by the distant rolling of waves as our group made its way out of the hostel for our trek to the Cliffs of Moher. Decked out in layers of weather defensive gear (leggings, skinny jeans, T-shirt, sweatshirt, windbreaker, hat, gloves, two pairs of socks, hiking boots) and carrying a heavy-duty backpack covered in a rain shield filled with snacks and supplies, I was ready to embrace “postcard” Ireland with open arms.

We started up an unmarked path, trespassing without a care, on a gently sloping hill as a soft mist fell from the sky. To our left were quaint houses and a castle with horses, cows, and sheep roaming around crumbling rock walls.

On the right, the Atlantic Ocean roared, attacking the cliffs over and over again, showering us with sea foam. The spray from the ocean formed rainbows before our eyes. We stumbled over waves of lush grass as we jogged to the edge, de­vouring and capturing the beauty with blink.

“Is this real life?” replayed over and over in my head. I was sur­rounded by what seemed like a vivid dream. We were reluctant to begin the journey back.

We maneuvered over broken walls, electric fences, manure piles, and streams that trickled through the green, rocky ground until they dropped off of the steep bluffs.

After eight miles, our feet were soaked, fingers numbed, and faces wind burned, but we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher. With only an hour to explore the famous rocks, we scam­pered up to a small castle tower, ran to another, paying no attention to the “Do Not Go Beyond this Point” sign, and posed for various photos.

Even though I had seen countless pictures of the notorious rocky bluff, nothing compared to seeing it in person. Every so often the sunlight would shift, revealing a new, glori­ous aspect of the cliff. The hour came to a close too quickly, so we climbed onto a coach bus that whisked us through the narrow countryside roads back to our hostel.

While others took time to rest and dry off, my friends, and I decided we would take a little journey of our own.

We ventured down the tiny main street of Doolin, with its pubs, sou­venir stores, and coffee shops. We met a friendly donkey and other ex­plorers along the way.

We stumbled upon a rock beach at the end of the lane with a sparkling, never-ending body of water laid out in front of us. The sea-carved rocks made for the perfect frolicking quest as we tried to discover every cleft and crevice. Simply standing in the glow of the late Irish sun, among new friends, with an ocean in front of me, emerald fields around me, and the final realization that I was truly in Ireland finally sinking in, a smile spread across my face.

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