[Cliffs]

Ireland, in some ways, reminds me of small-town Nebraska.  There are little towns dotting the landscape, intersected by fields and pastures, where cows and horses graze on wild grasses.  The people are sincere and helpful, no matter the time of day or the problem at hand.  The weather is unpredictable, and at best, the wind is always throwing my hair into my face.

Ireland is not Nebraska.  The land is not flat—instead there are hills and rocky cliffs.  The fences are built from stone, not barbed wire, and the highways are narrow.  The grass is green and lush, and it rains nearly every day.  The air is always wet, and I can hear the sea from my bedroom.  I can walk to the nearest town, and the entire country is smaller than half of my home state.

However, no matter the similarities and differences, I am fully embracing my time here in this country.  It’s close enough to home that I am not wholly out of my element, yet different enough that I am still a tourist.  I like being a tourist—everyone’s much nicer when you mess up (like mispronouncing a word, looking the wrong way when crossing the street, or getting lost).

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

This is the outside of Davy and Chris Spillane’s house.  They have the most amazing view from their windows.  And the house itself used to be an old cottage, now renovated into an incredibly unusual residence.

We visited Davy today for our first lesson: archaeology with Danny, a part-time professor at the University of Galway.  Super interesting stuff, for those of you interested in ancient Ireland.  There are over 1600 registered Neolithic monuments in Ireland (by that, I mean that they’ve been registered and at least partially excavated).  The Poll na Brone in my post a few days ago is one of the portal tombs raised by people nearly 4,000 years ago.  Like I said, pretty cool stuff.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

This is their front room, a beautiful sunroom with wonderful light.  We’ve been fed twice now in this room (Chris’s cooking is amazing).  Davy also has two old (very complicated-looking) coffee machines in this room—one is visible at the far end.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

Completely unintentional, but all of our shoes made it into the picture.  Try and guess who has which shoes.

Davy and Chris fed us before sending us off on our way.  We made a stop at the Cliffs of Moher and snuck our way in (apparently, it’s free admission if you walk in, but €6 if you drive in).  I’m glad we took advantage of the beautiful weather.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

These are the Cliffs of Moher, completely worth the capitalization.  The views are magnificent.  Also, as a side note, these cliffs are also the Cliffs of Insanity in The Princess Bride.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

Megan has made lots of these faces over the last few days, and this one is completely representative of her sense of humor.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know this crazy girl better.

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom
Courtesy of Kaitlyn Baucom

I’ve never realized just how big the Atlantic Ocean really is.  Now that I’m here, it’s awe-inspiring (and terrifying).  Imagining the crossing on a boat is just…there are no words for it.

Tonight, I no longer feel like I’m falling off a cliff, although I’ve seen some pretty awesome ones today.

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