Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher are amazing, beautiful, and terrifying. They peak at 702 feet above the water, and almost a million people visit them a year, making them one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. At the peak there is a path that’s lined with a stone wall, keeping visitors a good five feet from the edge. It winds up to O’Brien Tower, which offers an astounding view out over Galway Bay.
If you look at this photograph, though, you can see the grass on the left hand edge give way to flat grey rock. That section is beyond the wall. It is nominally closed to tourists, and there is a sign warning of high winds and the possibility of the edge crumbling into the ocean far, far below. It’s very dangerous.
Which, of course, is why so many people hop that wall.
When my husband and I were in Ireland on our honeymoon, we hopped the wall. It was a beautiful day, bright blue skies, no wind. We took turns crawling to the very edge on our bellies to peek over, the other holding onto our ankles (as if that could save us if the edge gave way). We looked down, so far down, at the sea birds wheeling in the air well below us, at the crash of the waves, blue green water turning white on impact with the rock. Even from over 700 feet above, I could feel the salt spray on my face.
Thinking of this gives me goosebumps, even now. It was stupid. I would never do it again.
But I can’t say I regret it.