“Oh la la! Careful! Careful!!”
Those are the words that came from the French women passing by as I sat on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. This seemed rare to me since most people are too caught up in finding their own level of comfort while standing 700 feet above the Atlantic to comment on others (yet fitting since I was visiting Ireland while I was studying abroad in Paris). I’ve seen grown men tiptoe their way to the edge, their cameras outstretched in front of them with the look of pure fear on their faces (one of the funniest sights I’ve seen to this day). At most, people look at you like you’re crazy and hey you might be but did
you really go to the Cliffs if you didn’t sit on the edge?
The first time I went to I see the Cliffs of Moher, I was backpacking with my best friend. We started in Dublin staying in hostels and exploring the city the cheapest way we possibly could. We spent our days walking around only stopping for the occasional donut or food from the markets that lined the streets. One night, we even got lucky enough to go on a music pub crawl thanks to a couple that was traveling and had friends cancel.
We “fangirl-ed” our way to Belfast to see the filming sites for Game of Thrones (if you haven’t seen it yet, binge watch it). Thankfully, we were granted a sunny day and the coast was overflowing in green and turquoise ,it was beautiful to say the least. Giants causeway (pictured below) is actually mind-blowing. To this day, I’ve never been more impressed by rocks.
Even after all that, I didn’t fall in love with the country until I stepped foot onto the Cliffs of Moher. I was not prepared for how absolutely breathtaking they are.
It’s almost impossible to understand what standing on those cliffs looking out over the Atlantic is like unless you actually go and do it. No matter how many gasps or worried looks I got, I continued to find every edge to stand on or look over. There is something about the adrenaline that pumps through me when I look over the edge of something, stories above ground, that makes me want to get closer. Some like to say it’s insanity, I, however, see it as fun…. To each their own.
My love for the country only grew when I went back a second time. At first, I was skeptical, I kept asking myself if I really wanted to go somewhere I’ve already been, but the minute the plane landed I knew I made the right choice. This time around I made an effort to see new things. My first time in Galway was filled with amazing friends and a new favorite whiskey (the two essentials to a happy life). Quick tip: Don’t ask an Irish bartender for a Scotch whiskey, save them the insult and you the embarrassment and go Irish instead.
What really made this trip, was the hike from Bray to Greystone. I am telling you all, pay the 7 euro for a train from Dublin to Bray and hike it. It was incredible. You start in Bray by climbing what is basically a very small mountain and look out over the Atlantic with the city on your left and rolling hills on your right. From there you can walk back down or continue to Greystone. My friends and I turned to the hills and started walking to the neighboring city. We walked on dirt paths occasionally running into other hikers and even a few cows, stopping only to take in the sites (and photos). Our path changed from climbing rocks to being surrounded by flowers and before we knew it we were walking through farms just outside the city.
Greystone was full of families and travelers that did the same thing we did. Everyone was happy to be outside by the harbor just hanging out. As my friends stopped for the necessary post-hike ice-cream, I went to a cafe I have been following for over a year now called The Happy Pear. I forgot all about it being in Greystone until a man passing us on the hike told us to stop by. Being the food-obsessed person that I am, I lost my cool for a second and got overly excited. Of course, when I got there I forgot to take pictures and spent so much time deciding what to get I almost missed the train back to Dublin. ( I got the Buddha Bowl and Caramel Slice incase you were wondering, and I highly recommend them)
That was our last day in the country. The next morning we were up and out of the hostel by 6:30 am on our way back to France. That flight home had me thinking, when I first started traveling everything was new, everything was gorgeous, interesting and exciting. After going back, I realized that the places we travel to actually give off a certain feeling. Sometimes it can be simple, like how my grandparent’s house on Lake Michigan feels like another home to me or how Charleston feels like my city. Other times, the feeling we get is harder to place. I sat on the plane searching for how I could describe traveling through Ireland and suddenly, it came to me.
It’s full of the feeling that gets you excited to explore, the feeling that pushes you to step a few inches closer to the edge no matter how many gasps you get while doing it. It gives you a little more encouragement to just go out and experience life.