Tuesday, August 25, 1998
I decided to spring for another bus ticket ($15) to get to the Cliffs of Moher. The bus trip went by fairly slow. We got to take a car ferry for 20 minutes too. It turned out that the bus changes drivers (and has a layover of 1 1/2 hours) at the cliffs. This ended up being the perfect amount of time to explore. When I got there, the weather (not the sky) was clear. Then, fog and clouds covered up the cliffs, and then it cleared a half hour later. As I was leaving, the visibility was less than 100 feet. I thought this constant change created an interesting effect.
Though I was a little weary, I decided to walk along the edge of the cliffs. It was very exhilarating, and I was proud of myself! It was the first chance on my trip that I got to climb around/up and down rocks. The scene reminded me of Friedrich's “Monk by the Sea,” a very spiritual painting showing man's insignificance in relation to the size and power of nature. I took several pictures, but there is no way they will be able to convey what it felt like to be engulfed in the mist of the Atlantic.
I ended up hopping off the bus in the lower village of Doolin, the unofficial trad music capital of Ireland. I walked down to the shore where I got my first glimpse of the small ferry I would be taking to the Aran Islands. It was being tossed all over by the sea. At this point, I seriously considered changing my plans. I decided to think about it. Then I decided that if I never got the chance to come back, how could I skip these islands. Plus, if I didn't go, I would have to leave Doolin because there would be nothing to do during the day.
On the way back from the coast, I stopped at O'Connor's Pub. This was the first of the two venues for the “world class trad” music I would see. It was populated with a good mixture of locals and tourists. I decided to check out the other pub in the upper village (15 minute walk). McDermott's had about ten to fifteen people (including staff). The decor included signs like “if I wanted to hear an asshole, I would have farted.” The other bar had foreign currencies and police/fire badges on the walls. At this point, I decided to hit O'Connor's for the night. I ended up not getting a seat, as it was crowded, and I was kind of bothered by the fact that they didn't do any singing. I left early, though the music was good (and original too).