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Sacred Ground

The time I discovered…

Elizabeth Unseth


Grey covered the sky from end to end – not a patch of blue anywhere. My friend and I almost questioned the wisdom of a November trip to Ireland, not to mention the wisdom of a bus tour to County Clare on this stormy day. As we broke away from the other tourists to walk the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, I caught my breath. Foaming seawater plunged away from the jagged cliff face.
The next moment we found ourselves laughing as a gust of wind nearly knocked us off our feet. The gust slammed us against the wall at the edge of the cliff before it calmed enough to let us make our way along the precarious path – further and further until all we could hear was the hiss and crash of the waves breaking against the cliffs.
We didn’t speak expect for a few gasps of, “That’s breathtaking!” We stood at the cliff’s edge and devoured the sight of the water and the rock formations opposite us – topped by an almost laughably small stone observation tower.
The sea flowed relentlessly – undeterred by cliffs – and its insistent roar reminded me of how insignificant I was. This was wild country. It almost seemed as if it was allowing me to walk on its stones, permitting me to stare at its crashing waves. The wind, too, practically tore through my body, warning me of my unsure footing with every gust. Even so, I felt curiously grounded.
I’ve heard that Ireland has a strange magic to it. It hooks a person. Dublin has passion, but with the wind and the drops flying up from so far below, it seemed as if Moher were trying to make me one with itself. I felt an indefinable something. Like I stood on sacred ground.
I’m used to finding sacred spots in churches and temples I’ve explored – the hushed atmosphere and grand architecture creating that sense of something greater, a sense of peace. The Cliffs of Moher showed me that in a way architecture couldn’t.
As I sat next to my friend on the bus back to Dublin – soaked to the bone from the saltwater and rain – I knew I would never again be so close to heaven.

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