Ireland – Cliffs of Moher – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
[The view of O’Brien’s tower and the cliff that it sits on from the long path]
They say that on a foggy day you can’t see much farther than a foot ahead of you at the Cliffs of Moher. Luckily for us Saturday February 11th was one of the clearest mornings my classmates and I have seen since being here in Ireland. That morning all sixteen students, both of our two professors and their family loaded onto Owen’s big diesel coach bus to take a ride out to scenic County Clare. It was a short hour and a half ride from Galway to our destination but the amount of time the heat took to begin to warm up the bus left us feeling like our feet had turned into icicles.
As we pulled up to our destination, the first thing that I was struck by was the attractions information building. It was built into the side of a hill, with huge light welcoming windows from floor to ceiling. As we walked into the building we were slapped by the delightful smell of espresso brewing in the coffee shop. Chatter also filled our ears, mostly coming from the huge gift shop found to the right of the entrance.
Because we were still unthawing from our long, cold bus ride, a few of us decided to check out the exhibit inside before exploring the cliffs. The exhibit was clearly set up for younger kids because it had things for them to climb on and interactive screens to color on. It also had an informational video that restarted ever twenty or so minutes. Another interactive screen allowed us to email postcards to our friends and family back home.
After ten short minutes sending E-postcards to our family members and friends, we were finally ready to face the cold and head out to the Cliffs of Moher. When we first started out on the path were left with a decision, do we turn right and go look at the Castle like building on the cliff or do we turn left and take a long walking path along the side of several of the cliffs. We decided to head to the right first.
[A view of the remainder of the path and the stone slabs that separated me from the cliffs edge]
We walked up several flights of stairs and down a path that lead us right up next to a big castle like structure that I later came to know as O’Brien’s Tower. Looking up at the tower invoked memories of listening to fairy tales as a child. O’Brien’s Tower looked like something that had come straight of a fairy tale. And then of course there was the fact that this tower had one of the most stunning views in all of Ireland. It looked out over the remained of the cliffs proud to still be standing there after 182 years of looking over that Cliff.
After taking many pictures and a few more selfies than I would like to admit, we turned our sights away from O’Brien’s tower and embarked on the long walk along the cliffs. The official paved path of the Cliffs of Moher doesn’t go much farther than a half a mile or so. At the end of a path you come to a sign that says something to the effect of “Danger; Stay on the Marked Path”, but much like every other tourist we ignore the signs warning and continue on the path.
[O’Brien’s tower that sits on top of the Cliffs of Moher]
This path is much different from the official path. It isn’t paved and on the left-hand side it is marked by an electric fence that happened to be turned off. The right side of the path keeps people in with large rock slabs but there are places where the slab has broken off and one can jump over it. On the other side of the rock slabs is an even more dangerous trail that lies right against the cliffs edge. One wrong misstep and you could end up in the rocky bay below.
We continued on this path for a mile before we have to step up to the path that has no protection between us and the cliffs edge. The view that spot was stunning. If you were daring enough you could even walk right to the edge and pier down at the hungry waves below, just waiting to swallow its next victim whole. From this side of the cliffs you had a picture-perfect view of O’Brien’s tower as well as small cliffs below. It was clear that at one point in time these smaller cliffs had been attached to the mainland but after thousands of years of erosion they now stood on their own.
The beauty of the cliffs was unnerving. As we continued to walk down the path we continued to gaze out at the view with amazement. We could feel our time there quickly slipping away. We wanted to continue down the path, we wanted to make it all the way to the end, but we knew if we continued on we would be stranded there. Defeated we turned around and made the walk back to the tourist center.
Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu
See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports
The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu