The Cliffs of Moher (Aillte an Mhothair) stand at the edge of the Burren in County Clare and tower between 390 and an impressive 702 feet above the sea; the rocks that make up these cliffs are over 300 million years old. I suppose then it’s understandable that it seems anyone who has ever picked up a camera and been to Ireland has taken a picture of the Cliffs. I took it as a challenge to take a shot that is hopefully somewhat memorable among so many others.
I’ve been here a number of times so I was able to shoot at a variety of times of day with different types of light. This particular picture was shot in my favorite type of light; clouds had covered the sun until the end of the day when it broke through from underneath as it headed towards sunset. This created some dramatic light that illuminated the cliffs and the ocean while the sky remained overcast. I won’t even mention how many shots I’ve taken of the cliffs over the years to get to this one; so I hope you find it memorable and worth publishing as well!
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
~The Wild Swans at Coole, W.B. Yeats
I will be returning to Ireland in a few weeks and I’m already trying to prepare myself for the emotional impact. Ireland will always be a place I inextricably link with my mother; not only because her, our, family is there but because of the sheer joy my mother felt being there.
She loved Ireland, loved the trips we took there and spoke often of visiting one more time, even when she knew it would no longer be possible. But even then, just talking about a dream of making the journey inevitably led to reminiscing about favorite places and things and retelling of stories that made her feel connected with her family and quite simply made her happy.
My mother’s recollections were often accompanied by a quote from Joyce or Yeats, and so then mine is as well.
This is the view of Ashmount, the family farm in Leenane, Connemara Co. Galway. This is where my family on my mother’s side, the Joyces, come from. One of my cousins created a family tree and I think he got back to the 1400’s and the Joyces were still right here in Connemara. This is a view from the look out rock on the mountain behind the farm. There is a clear view from the Killary and Leenane village all the way to Lough Corrib. It’s quite a climb, but the view more than makes up for the effort!
I head back to Ireland at least once a year and always end up spending a lot of time in Leenane. My mother’s cousin Vin still runs the farm and I’m sure he appreciates all the “help” I provide. One of these days I’ll head over to Leenane, find a nice cottage and just stay. It always feels like home.