Last weekend some friends and I went for a camping trip out to the Cliffs of Moher. It wasn't a completely spur of the moment idea, so you would think that there would be some planning behind it. But there wasn't. It was planned so far as saying we would go camping that weekend. I looked at the weather forecast but was assured that it would all be grand. So we went camping. We left late, because some people take forever to be ready. We stopped at Fanore, which is the nice beach that you see below. Always reminds me somewhat of Oreti beach. And before we had even finished at the beach let alone arrived at the cliffs it had started to rain somewhat. As the forecast said it would. Why did we go camping in the rain? I am not quite sure.
Now before arriving at the cliffs we saw a donkey in a field and for some reason it is required that when tourists (which three of us were) are in Ireland they must make a fuss over donkeys. So we did so. It was an incredibly quiet docile animal, so somebody said that they bet it would let us climb on its back. So I did. The picture is not below. It looks rather silly. Instead I will just show you the donkey on it's own. And after I got off of its back the others all had a go. It was a bit pointless really but you would be surprised at the things that can amuse us PhD students.
So driving up the road toward the cliffs I could see this old stone tower, so I said let's try to make our way towards there. We found a road and that led into some farmer's paddocks, and next thing you know we were there at the tower. It was big and dark and mossy. The walls were all intact but the roof was gone, and inside was muddy. By this stage it had gotten quite wet, so I had to keep drying the lens of my camera off. I don't think it likes getting rained on, it always plays up on such wet days.
Below the tower we made our way down the more gentle slopes amongst the cliffs so that we could climb around the rocks. Climbing around the cliffs was actually how a large part of the evening was spent. Even when we thought we had gone so far down we were still far above the ocean.
There were gulls circling below, they were just small specks. Perhaps larger than specks. But still very small and far below us. Once you get down the slope there are huge stacks of stone towering above you. In the rain and wind they are dark and oppressive, but there is more here than a photograph shows. The ground is not just grass but all sorts of alpine plants, and the rocks when you are close to them look to be made of many layers.
Even in the rain the view is amazing. Now I have been in the sun and the rain, and while rain can be miserable in some ways, except for the drops on my lens, the view is better. When it is sunny you can barely see for the glare. And no matter season it is always insanely windy up there.
I guess it was something to do with the rain but there were little black things all over the grass. On closer inspection - they were huge slugs! Big fat ones. I guess they liked the rain. They were everywhere. So I took photos of them.
Here is the view of the cliffs from the other side of the we spit of land that we climbed down. I liked this side better. It was more sheltered from the rain, and there were gulls nesting below. The water swirled into shallow caves in the cliff and you could hear the wind crying around the rocks.
And finally, here below you can see the impressive location of our campsite! If it hadn't been for the rain it would have been an amazing trip. It was still good in its own way. But not so much fun as it could have been. We had a campstove for cooking dinner but could not have a fire. Of course there was no relaxing outside in the late evening sunshine, but you can't really expect that in Ireland. One of the tents got flooded and by the end of the trip most everything was soaked through. All in all, it was surely a typical Ireland experience. But what does it matter, we got warm and dry on the ride back in the car.
Did everybody notice that now I can make the pictures on this thing even larger? Isn't it cool?! So that was my weekend, and it wasn't really very relaxing so perhaps that is why I didn't do a heck of a lot of work this week.