Being on the coastline of Ireland is a surreal experience. The smell of the salty air rushing onto your face. The sound of waves crashing on the cliffs from below your feet. Cliffs so high, you feel like an ant in this small world. The sound of seagulls and puffins chirping in the distance. The water being so blue, that it’s as if you are on a tropical island. All of the features of Ireland’s coastline make you feel like you are in a postcard. These beautiful yet monstrous coastlines remind you just how talented Mother Nature is and how small you are in comparison to the rest of the world. Before I arrived in Ireland, I imagined beautiful views, but I only imagined the country views—endless hills and fields carrying off into the horizon. I never really thought about the coastline views that we would encounter.
The Wild Atlantic Way gives people the perfect view of the west coast of Ireland. Turning that first corner onto the first breathtaking view, it felt like something from a movie. From the top of the cliff, the waves look small and harmless. The closer you venture to the shoreline, the more you can feel the vibrations from the waves crashing on the shore, and hear them crashing onto the sand or the cliffs to the side. From far away you forget how powerful these waves are. The closer you get the more your realize how powerful a wave can be. Climbing on the rocks you can look into the crevasses and see small sea anemones clustering and catching their food. The mussels are congregating into large clusters in various locations of the rocks. Making the rocks look like pieces of cookie dough.
If you are lucky, you can see a pod of dolphins in the distance. Looking at these outstanding views, you try to capture the beauty with your camera. However, cameras only get the framed version, and not the whole picture. Leaving each view, you want to wrap it up and take it home so it will last forever. At each site we visited, I was the last person to leave because I wanted to soak up all the views I could get so when I went home, my mind would remember the full picture, and not just the framed version I have on my camera.
Dearbhaill Standún and her husband Charlie live and work in some reclaimed and restored cottages out on the Wild Atlantic Way. They lead a lifestyle that includes not interfering with nature. Instead they, “Let nature run its course,” by letting everything around them grow naturally. Lifestyles like Dearbhaill’s and her husband’s, are a step in the right direction to keep the habitats of Ireland whole. With Earth’s balance becomes unhealthier day after day, Dearbhaill tells us, “the future is through them,” meaning, young people. The young people are bringing their technology to rural areas and are beginning to merge the two worlds, to create an environment where changes can be made quickly. Hopefully these healthier lifestyles will spread from town to town and habitats like the coastline will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.