Arlene had loved her first day in Ireland ,and fortunately she was relatively pain free and slept soundly.The next day had been as forecast,windy but clear, and the vistas from the breakfast room were breathtaking .Michael was more apprehensive about today than yesterday.His research beforehand alerted him to the reality that the Cliff excursion would present challenges for Arlene. Finishing his breakfast, he urged Arlene to stay and soak up the views for the next fifteen minutes. He went to the lobby and was preparing to contact Fin by phone when he spotted him having coffee and reading a newspaper
“Good morning Doctor I believe we have the perfect day to see the cliffs. I would advise you and Mrs.McNally to put on every piece of warm clothing because it can be quite chilly at this time of the year.”Michael thanked him for the advice and said”Fin my wife is seriously ill ,and this has been her dream to see the Cliffs, but I am worried that it may not be possible because she is limited as far as walking.” Fin listened intently and responded.” Doctor my mother died last year from cancer, and she loved this area.A week before she died I took her to her favorite spot ,and carried her up the steps so that she could see the full view. That memory fills my heart on the days I most miss her. It will be my honor to make sure it works perfectly for your wife.”Michael was so touched by this response that he could not speak, and warmly shook Fin’s hand.
Bundled up with blankets Arlene and Michael were captivated by Fin’s running commentary on the history of the area.The road to the Cliffs of Moher was very scary with very sharp switchbacks and was very narrow. It was known as the wild Atlantic Way. The ride though somewhat hazardous was breathtakingly beautiful. Michael spent more time looking at Arlene’s beaming face than the phenomenal views. Patches of treeless rock mountains and herds of cows and sheep appeared around each bend in the road. Arlene said to Michael”It is too bad there is not a place to park because these scenes would make wonderful photos.” Fin turned and offered “Mrs Mcnally there will be great places for photos once we reach the Cliffs””Thanks Fin but please call us Michael and Arlene”
Once they arrived at the parking lot Fin assembled the wheel chair and handled Arlene a thermos. Wrapping the blanket around her he winked and said” The thermos is filled with holy water which turns into Bailey’s whiskey once you say a silent prayer. You can use a sip or two to warm you.”
Walking from the parking lot to the cliffs there was a beautiful green field with paths in several directions, and cows were grazing in the fields right up to the paths along the edge of the cliffs. There were steps that go to the left or right, and Fin chose to take the stairs to the right that climbed up to the O’Brien Castle. Fin locked the wheel chair lifted Arlene into his arms and said..” This is going to be a long climb, but you and I are going to the top”. Michael was exceptionally nervous about the climb, and very focused on climbing the steps, and when he turned around his mouth dropped. He had never, ever seen such an incredible site. The beauty was beyond imagination, but also he was frightened
when he realized that the ocean lay 700 feet below. There was very little space between them and the edge, just a very low stone wall. On the opposite side, which was even higher, there was nothing along the path, , just the edge.Once they reached the top Arlene spent a very long time taking photos.. Below there was a smaller rock formation covered in grass. This was Goat Island, home of hundreds of puffins. The ocean was quiet, despite the winds.and they were able to see hundreds of beautiful white birds perched on the edges of the rocks. They looked like little white specks from so far up above.
Along the paths there were many people playing their instruments, flutes, accordions, and harmonicas. In a short period of time they heard two different renditions of”Danny Boy” and “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” adding to their total experience.
When they returned to the parking lot Arlene kissed Fin on the cheek and said”You will never completely understand what this day means to me.”Fin smiled and eased her into the wheelchair. Arlene had no way of knowing that for Fin it was like a beautiful day with his mother.