Monday, September 25, 2023

Embrace the Spontaneous

Wikipedia Commons

One of the most memorable attractions we saw on our 2014 trip to Ireland was the result of a spontaneous decision. A conversation in passing at dinner one night pointed us in the direction of the Cliffs of Moher. (Although taking the word of a stranger who you’ve only conversed with for five minutes is an interesting basis for a day’s unplanned outing.) Located on a western coast of County Clare, these cliffs erupt from the Atlantic Ocean to a height of 702 feet and are within sight (on a clear day) of the Aran Islands. The day we visited was cold and foggy. Seabirds love the uneven surfaces of the rocks to roost, and visitors can spot puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars (all species I’d never seen before). An interpretive center contains displays that describe the geologic makeup of the site, as well as show a video that displays an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the cliffs from ocean wave to grassy top. After viewing everything in the center (in hopes the fog would lift), we trekked outside and walked a portion of the path that runs along the top of the cliffs.

Fulmar--Wikipedia
Kittiwake--Wikipedia

Puffins--Clare Birdwatching

An interesting fact we learned was the site was visited so often in the early 1800s that Cornelius O’Brien built a tower in 1835 for visitors to view the cliff’s natural beauty. The site has been featured in a wide variety of movies: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, Ryan’s Daughter, The Princess Bride, Mackintosh Man, Into the West, Hear My Song, Father Ted. Ireland’s biggest wave for surfing called “Aileens” happens at the base of O’Brien’s Tower and is featured in Sea Fever and Wave Riders. In addition to tourist visits, the cliffs are often the site for engagements, weddings, and renewal of vows ceremonies.

My husband loved the environmental practices inherent in the interpretive center which opened in 2007. The grass-roofed center is built into the hillside, uses geo-thermal energy, wastewater treatment, and sensor lighting. Artisan gift shops are also built into the hillside with only the front fa├žade showing, which minimizes the impact so visitors can enjoy the natural beauty.

As a writer, what I took away from the visit was not to pass up experiences that might fall into your lap.

BIO: As a child, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about characters having exciting adventures in places far away. In later years, she started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Now Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical romance, often with humor and always with determined heroines and strong heroes.

Find Linda’s stories on her Amazon Author page.

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