Time for my last Irish muse. Let’s have Irish coffee,
and an eclair!
When we last left off, Cole and I had finally made it to the top of the Cliffs of Moher. On Sunday morning, we popped out of bed bright and early to drive what Cole promised was just a few kilometers to the cliff site. Nothing like a good night’s sleep to bring out a mom’s optimism. The day was cool enough to require hoodies and jeans, and it was overcast.
As we left Doolin, Cole pointed out the walls that were made by fitting rocks together without mortar. I loved the happenstance look of the walls and wonder about designing a planter for our backyard using this technique.
The Cliffs of Moher were just a short drive from Doolin, and as you can imagine, pretty easy to find. We pulled into an almost empty parking lot, arriving before most of the tourist buses.
Awesome is much too overused a word to describe the Cliffs of Moher as you walk towards them — you are overcome by nature at its very finest — too much, too big, too spectacular for words! Cole described the cliffs as the “harshest, most beautiful thing” he could ever imagine. The green, the grass, the yellow flowers, the foaming water of the Atlantic, the sharp edges, the sheer drops, and the jetting rocks are all part of the view. Even on a cloudy day from the top of the cliffs, you could see the Aran Islands, and Galway Bay as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara, and Loop Head to the south.
I am not afraid of heights, but I have an unreasonable fear of Cole falling off something. I realized this fear when Joe and I walked across the Great Gorge in New Mexico together when Cole was about 3 months old — it was the moment I realized I was a mom and my life would never ever be the same. The same fear gripped me when Cole was much older, and we saw the Grand Canyon. Naturally, Cole loves to be high and close to the edge. I was ready to be terrified at the Cliffs, which has a low rock wall and plenty of places to get much too close to the edge. Cole knows about my fear, and he also knows I try not to let it get in the way of his experiences. In exchange, he doesn’t push me much. As we stood together, looking out, over, and down from the cliffs, watching the gulls soar effortlessly, I could feel my son’s intense desire to move closer to the edge; and as he leaned towards the cliffs . . . and then stepped back closer to me.
We were silent most of the time we walked along the cliffs — lost in our own thoughts.
It was Father’s Day, and the cliffs majestically represented “Our Father,” “Our Universe.”
A harpist played Irish music along the cliffs’ edge, which made the whole experience just a little more perfect.
We meet this little guy along the way
Reluctantly, we left the cliffs behind and drove towards Galway, traveling by way of the Burren — an area of limestone rock covering imposing majestic mountains and tranquil valleys with gently meandering streams. There are beautiful flowers that weave themselves into a tapestry of color onto the limestone. We traveled along the limestone plateaux of the Burren, admiring its natural and historical riches. The Burren began during the time of glaciations. Another remarkable feature of the Burren is the large expanses of bare limestone called limestone pavements. These pavements are a legacy of the ice age that ended some 15,000 years ago in this part of Ireland. The drive was — of course — wonderful, beautiful and magical.
Frequently I would sing out loudly and badly: “Do you know the way to Galway.” Cole accused me of channeling his dad. Maybe . .
We did not have much time to spend in Galway but did drive through Galway City, which sits at the mouth of Galway Bay. It was very picturesque and busy, even on a Sunday. There were lots of wonderful local handcrafts, which included hand knits, pottery, glass and jewelry.
From Galway, we followed the big, green highway sign pointing towards the four-lane highway back to Dublin. Back in Dublin, we stayed at a trendy, little hotel close to the city and not far from the airport. We ate at dinner at McGillicutty’s Pub. Cole had been bugging me to order a Guinness stout for him to taste — and what better way to toast the end of a wonderful, beautiful, magical trip. The pint of stout was delivered to the table, and Cole was given the glass as a souvenir.