I got as close to the edge as I possibly could without falling over. 300 feet high, I was sitting on the cliffs of Aran Islands (Dun Aengus Fort). The wind was not as strong, but it still took me a while to trust it would not blow me away over the edge. Although the cliffs are not as impressive as the Cliffs of Moher, it is thrilling to be able to walk to the very edge.
The day was dark and cold; it is the first day I have had to wear gloves and as many layers of clothing as possible. But it was beautiful. The island has only 800 people, and in high season they get about 1,000 tourists a day! It is not too big, but it is divided by stone walls that are over 8,000 miles long. The stone walls were built over several generations, by hand. This is the one part of Ireland where people speak strictly Gaelic, which is sadly dying out (with about 4% of Ireland actually speaking the language).
We visited the beach, and an 8th century church ruins. Something that I loved about the Aran Islands is the love that its people have for their land and each other. It is part of their culture that when a family member passes away, it is the person’s family that digs the grave and takes care of the body. It is part of their healing process, and pretty much every household has lost one of its members to the rough sea. Their knitting is absolutely beautiful, their dedication to caring for their land and caring for each other is definitely something for me to incorporate into my own life. This is a unique culture rich place.
That same night I went to my first pub crawl (in Galway). It was so much fun! We played drinking games in different pub styles. My favorite pub was an old Irish one where you had to order your drinks in Gaelic (Irish). But the best part of the pub adventure was that I was there, thousands of miles away, having a blast with Germans, Spanish, Irish, Australians, Americans and more. I wish the solution to all wars would be to go to a pub, drink, and realize that we can all be friends.