But if I could do my college years a bit differently, I would have studied abroad. In fact, sometimes I think that this opportunity to live in England is my second chance at having that experience (albeit with two little kids instead of a carefree college lifestyle...)
When my husband returned home from his own study abroad experience in Ireland, I spent a lot of time looking at his photos. Of all the amazing places he went, I got completely fixated on the Cliffs of Moher. We hadn't been able to travel to this spot on the west coast of Ireland when I visited him because the logistics just didn't make sense. But ever since, I have longed for the chance to see it.
As we began planning our family trip to Ireland this summer, he and I each picked one thing as a "must do" while there. Cliffs of Moher was mine. The Connemara region was his (more on that to come).
As we drove from Adare Manor to the Cliffs, the sky got heavier and heavier with fog. There were times we couldn't see beyond a few feet in front of our car. While my husband concentrated on navigating our car through it, I selfishly sat in the passenger seat wondering if after all this time, I still wasn't going to really "see" the Cliffs of Moher.
The view didn't change at all upon arrival. We got to the Visitor's Entrance and we couldn't see past the building. I slapped a smile on my face, forcing myself to be positive. I didn't want the kids to feed off me sulking and start whining themselves. I think my husband could see right through that fake smile though.
He wisely suggested we grab an early lunch first, so that the boys would tackle walking up to the top with full bellies. Turns out, he was really hoping that the old Irish weather advice "if the weather isn't good, just wait 30 minutes" would hold true for us.
Indeed it did. After steamy bowls of Irish stew, we ventured back out. And there before us, in full view, were the Cliffs of Moher.
They look as I had always imagined them. Only better... because instead of just snapshots printed on paper, they were accompanied by wind whipping through my hair. A slight drizzle in the air. The smell of the sea. The dizzying heights. It was a place I just had to see for myself and here I was.
I'd like to say my children learned a lot about patience that day. About never giving up on a dream. About the beauty of the world around them. But during our time at the Cliffs of Moher, they were often doing this:
Just keeping it real, folks.
That's ok. I have no doubt that someday they'll look at these photos and want to see this place again. And I bet they'll find a way to get there... but I can't promise clear skies for them.
Interested in learning more about visiting the Cliffs of Moher, especially with kids? I found these posts helpful. We decided not to do the "Visitor Experience" at the welcome center, mostly just due to time constraints that day, but it certainly sounds like fun if you have more time.
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher at IrelandFamilyVacations.com
The Cliffs of Moher at DoChara
Cliffs of Moher at FamilyFun.ie
This post is a part of Friday Postcards at Walking on Travels.