Galway Bay and the Romantic Cliffs of Moher

Our next destination were the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher, but to get there from Corcomroe Abby we traveled along the coast past Ballyvaughan, a delightful little coastal village on the southern shores of Galway Bay.The road running along the coast from Ballyvaughan to the Cliffs of Moheris really spectacular!This area is where the unusual  karst landscape rises and fallsas it tumbles into the sea.I found out later that we could have taken N-67, which is a more direct route,but the unique landscape and brilliant sea made this drive unforgettable. The roadsides were also dotted with inviting bed and breakfasts, and if I ever return, I would love to spend one night at a B’n’B along Highway R-477 or R-479.Having just spent the night in an outstanding B’n’B, we didn’t feel too sorry for ourselves! Instead, we basked in the morning sunshine, cool May breezes,and imaginative seascapes.It wasn’t long before the majestic Cliffs of Moher came into view, and we could see why they are one of Ireland’s top tourist sites, attracting nearly a million visitors each year.The Cliffs of Moher rise 702 feet from the sea, and on a sunny day, you can spend hours meandering through sheep pastures along the cliff tops.However, this turned out to be a rather typical spring day in Ireland…moody, with several rounds of alternating cloud bursts and sun bursts, which left the terrain much too slippery and wet for us to really want to wander along the cliff edges away from thecarefully paved and fenced areas that are part of the European Geopark Network.We did take a bit of a stroll just to get proper perspectives on everything. They say the best views are from the top of O’Brien’s Tower, a round stone building erected in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien in order to impress his visitors (specifically, as the story goes, the lovely female ones…maybe he was single?).There are an estimated 30,000 birds nesting along the cliffs and represent some 20 different species. We could identify lots of ravens and seagulls, but there are also hawks, puffins, and many other less common species. Inside their informative multimedia center, there were many displays and a video explaining more about the cliffs…the perfect way to spend an hour during a downpour! 🙂 We also savored lunch in their pleasant, bustling tea room.

At the most distant point of the Cliffs of Moher is a formation known as Hag’s Head because it resembles a woman looking out to sea. According to Irish legend, a decrepit witch named Mal fell in love with the great Irish hero, CĂş Chulainn, although he didn’t return her affection and ran away from her all over Ireland until she finally had him cornered at Loop’s Head. However, CĂş was very nimble and escaped by jumping from sea stack to sea stack (rocky formations) back to the Cliffs of Moher. Mal pursued him, but being old and not superhuman (I guess being a super witch didn’t count for much), she lost her footing and fell into the sea at Hag’s Head, where she stained all the water blood red.I’m not too sure if there’s an obvious spiritual parallel in this story, but practically speaking, maybe the lesson is that women—young and old—should refrain from chasing their heroes all over the countryside. The only person really worth chasing all over creation is our precious Savior, Jesus, but He won’t let us fall to our death, he will receive us into glory, just as our heavenly Father received Jesus!

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).

“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27(Yes, the sun came out again, just as we were leaving! 🙂 )