I love being awake in the mornings. I love experiencing the stillness of a usually loud and busy area, I love the silent acknowledgement of others in passing, and I love watching the sky slowly brighten with morning light. Competing in horse shows has allowed me to experience the early morning quiet more often than many of my other college-aged counterparts. This Saturday I found myself walking through Cork; awake before the sunrise, but instead of crawling into my usual minivan to a horse show, I boarded a bus that would take me to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.
I have never experienced something quite as awe inspiring as visiting the Cliffs. I’m not usually afraid of heights, but looking out over the edge of these cliffs made me respect nature just a little bit more. The water below seemed to go on forever, like I had reached the end of the world. I saw an orange buoy; a small pinprick in the water below. A little while later, I saw a boat down in the water; the only one I saw the entire day. From the tops of the cliffs, the boat looked as if it was the size of a single person kayak, just a small speck in the seemingly unending water. I wondered if their view looking up at the Cliffs was as magnificent as my view looking down. The sheer vastness and beauty of the cliffs is more impressive than any picture can possibly show. I took over 200 pictures and none of them compare to being there in person. I wish I had been able to see more (Moher? 🙂 ) but time only allowed me to see a fraction of what the Cliffs had to offer.
After the Cliffs, we took the bus to The Burren, which proved to be equally as breathtaking and twice as eerie. It honestly felt like you were walking on the moon. The ground is mainly rock, broken up with small tufts of grass and mysterious looking holes and cracks. There are long straight areas where the rock looks like someone had taken a knife and cut a straight edge. There are also single boulders that seem completely out of place in the middle of the flat land. These boulders were actually left behind by moving glaciers during the last glacial period. The cliffs we visited were called the Baby Cliffs. These were significantly shorter in height than the Cliffs of Moher, but the edge dropped right down to the water. At one point I climbed up a hill, only to find the rocky landscape extending for miles on every side. Even though there were many people around my general area, standing there in the middle of nothing made me feel very alone. We saw a group of people taking wedding pictures along one of the stretches of rock. It was interesting to think about the juxtaposition of the harsh, barren landscape in contrast to the warm, happy time the couple must have been experiencing.
There are many times I feel small. I feel small when walking behind people much taller than I am. I feel small in large crowds and cities, and standing next to skyscrapers. I even feel small in my lectures of over 100 people. But I have never felt smaller and more insignificant than I did while looking out over those cliffs. Nature is so large and powerful and amazing, and it’s easy to forget that in our day-to-day lives. So if you’re ever feeling a little too proud and need to be knocked down a few notches, go visit the Cliffs of Moher. They’ll be sure to humble you.
Meet the Author!
Hi there! My name is Emily Stakem and I am currently a junior at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. This semester I have the wonderful opportunity to study abroad at UCC, so this blog will follow my trials and tribulations while trying to navigate the many new and exciting situations abroad. I’m an English major, equestrian, vegetarian, feminist, baker, and knitter, among many other things. Enjoy!