With all this fabulous weather in West Clare recently I decided to take the cruise from Doolin to visit the cliffs. I’ve been to the Cliffs of Moher many times but never before have I seen them from the water. I checked the forecast. Fine for the next couple of days. Brilliant. So I booked the late boat for the following day as I dreamed of perfect photos lit by the late evening glow.
The morning dawns and I open the window to the bay at Caherush shrouded in thick fog. I wasn’t worried and smugly congratulated myself at my foresight in booking the late boat. The fog will lift of course by midday and there will be blue skies. My optimism was rewarded as it did lift and by mid afternoon some blue sky appeared. A perfect plan?
So I drive the 40 minutes to Doolin. Around Lahinch the fog starts to roll back in, getting heavier as I drive across the bog and down the hill to Doolin until by the time I reach the Pier visibility is just a few tens of metres. My heart sunk. Visions returned of a trip to Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps many years ago. Up the cog railway in a total wipeout. I saw nothing of the roof of the world.
We set off nevertheless with, in my case, no real expectation. So much for all those dramatic photos I was going to take of walls of rock framed by skies of blue.
But for fleeting moments as we approached closer the fog would shift and you would get glimpses of green through the grey. You got a real sense of the powerful presence of these cliffs though you never saw them in their totality and could only imagine how high they actually were. The changing views were tantalising and somehow seductive. As the boat rocked and shifted, the angles changed and I snapped away but with no real hope of capturing this feeling.
I’ve stopped looking for explanations of the Irish version of the way of the world. An hour later the fog lifted. But never was the expression ‘go with the flow’ more apposite. Taking advantage of the extended daylight in June I spent the remaining hours exploring the rocky coast north of Doolin, in total thrall of the wonderful rock garden that is the Burren in spring. I forgot about the the Cliffs.
But when I got home that evening (early next morning I should say, after tunes in Doolin and Ennistymon) and looked at the photos and I was surprised and happy at what I had captured. I still have a lot to learn about photography but I think the images say just as much or perhaps more than if we were seeing every minute and vivid detail. Sometimes showing just a little reveals a lot.
Turns out that fog was a lucky break.