Ireland scenes: The Cliffs of Moher, an acrophobic's nightmare
No visit to Ireland is complete without a visit to the fabled Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
So I was told.
This is actually a great place to visit. It's a scenic 4-hour drive from Dingle, or about 2 hours from Galway depending where you're coming from.
Confession: I am terrified of heights. During a visit to Paris I couldn't go any further than the second level of the Eiffel Tower without the risk of getting reacquainted with my lunch. I've always been that way to some degree but the acrophobia escalated on a trip to the Space Needle about six years ago. The observation deck has metal grates in places where you can see all the way down and I haven't forgotten it.
But when in Ireland, you do Ireland things and this is a fun place to visit. It starts with a trip inside the visitor's center which has any number of exhibits about the history of the cliffs, how they were formed and what kind of wildlife lives nearby. There's also a virtual reality film you can watch from the POV of a seagull that is a lot of fun.
Then it's out to the cliffs. On one side is O'Brien's Tower, built by Cornelius O'Brien in 1835 for Victorian tourists visiting the Cliffs. It's still open and you can climb it for an extra 2 euros.
On the other side is the more picturesque trail that runs from miles alongside farmland, some of which claims to have electrified fences to keep wandering tourists away. The trail is divided by a rock wall. On one side, is the safer path well away from the cliff's edges. On the other is a "get as close as you want" zone.
To my wife's amazement I was able to go outside the stone barrier on the trip back. It freaked me out a little. In some spots you're just a really bad stumble and fall from going off the well worn trail and over the edge, 650 feet down. But strangely, that just adds to the place's allure. What's a little danger when you're traveling? More unnerving than the actual height of the cliffs were those walking up and down the trail who weren't shy about getting up to the edge which admittedly horrified me to watch on some level. But fortunately nobody died on this day, but it has happened many times at the Cliffs.
At a cost of just 6 euros per person it's a fun place to spend a couple of hours. We visited late in the day and the crowds had thinned out. It was a highlight to be able to sit in silence as you looked out over the water, or watched the waves crash against the rock, the spray rising high into the air.