Yarn bombed stones in Kilkee along the cliff walk

The Cliffs of Kilkee on a Broccoli Kind of Day

  |   Ireland   |   19 Comments

So I am a travel writer. I do a job that many people dream of. I travel the world, visit exciting places, then I sit down and write about my experiences. Live through the moment once again in front of a computer screen, to bring back to life the sounds and smells and colours of a destination. My job is to make you want to go to new places.

It’s a glamorous job, one that you have to describe to strangers at dinner parties because sometimes for them it’s hard to wrap their head around it. A job that is so exciting that I always feel the need to justify it because it just sounds too good to be true.

If only we had ice-cream every day

If only we had ice-cream every day.

But being a travel writer is not just about lazing in a hammock by the beach with your laptop on your lap. Truth be told, it’s hard work. In particular when you go to a destination that people want you to write about on a day where you should have better stayed in bed.

You see, being a travel writer is like dancing a waltz with a partner. If your partner is not a good dancer on the day, you have to cover for them. You have to pull the weight for two to ensure you stay in the rhythm and don’t ruin the dance.

On the day that we visited the Cliffs of Kilkee in Ireland, I found myself in exactly this kind of situation. The Cliffs had broken a leg, so to speak, and I was trying to dance for the two of us.

But that was ok, because it’s my job. I didn’t expect sunshine to suddenly appear to make it easy for me. This was Ireland in October, after all, and I am aware that everything else would have been out of character for this country. It was a challenge but when you know how you can easily find happiness even in situations like this. Let me show you.

Ain’t no Sunshine in October

Kilkee in rain on an October day

It was autumn in Ireland, and that’s the season where you have to be very lucky to get clear skies and some sunshine. So don’t expect it. Prepare for rainy weather. Ditch the umbrella, it won’t work here. The coastal winds might tear it to shreds anyway or send it flying over your head. Put on waterproof shoes and a windproof jacket with a hood with strings that you can pull tight under your chin. Brace yourself, and take the first step.

I know it’s a broccoli kind of day but trust me, it’s going to be alright.

The Cliffs of Kilkee were a bit of an off-the-beaten-path destination on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Most people would want to visit the Cliffs of Moher, even though you had to pay and you would have to share the views with lots of other people.

However, just a couple of kilometres further down the coast, Kilkee offered just the same jaw-dropping views, all for free and without the crowds.

The Stunning Cliffs of Kilkee

Stunning cliffs on a rainy day

The easy cliff walk led by Martina from Emerald Irish Tours took us past a small beach and up the cliffs to some of the best views of Ireland. Even if the sun wasn’t out, the appeal was there. And believe it or not, it was as Irish as it could be.

On most days, Ireland was not a country of blue skies. It simply wasn’t. You might have gotten a patchy day of clouds and sunshine, but this was not the Mediterranean.

Instead, it was a country where a walk along the coast would feel like a baptism of some sort. It was invigorating, cleansing for your soul.

As we began our guided walk from the outskirts of town and to the Cliffs of Kilkee, the forces of nature were in full action. The tugging and pulling of the salty air. The shrieks of the seagulls, as they held onto dear life in the steep rocks. The gushing and foaming Atlantic Ocean, as it washed around the stone with brutal force.

An open-air Theatre

The skies were dark and hazy, a big rainy cloud that stretched from here to the horizon. Rain was our constant companion on this walk, slowly draining us from head to toe. The cold water seeped through my sleeves and around my hood into my sweater’s neck.

I was trying to take pictures, but the lens fogged up or got wet, blurring the vision. Inclines were so slippery that we all needed to hold onto the rails to pull us up the hills.

Happiness is all About the Mindset

The Cliffs of Kilkee

Where to find happiness in a setting like this? You are cold and wet, you can’t hear the guide as you keep on falling behind, battling to keep the water out of the camera. Deep inside, all you want is to go home and back to bed with a nice cup of hot chocolate. Truth be told, if it hadn’t been for the job I wouldn’t have been here in the first place.

I started to feel cold and miserable. And with a sigh I wondered how on earth I should write about this place in a way that others would still want to come and visit.

But there was one thing I learned about life. It was all about the mindset. You had to embrace situations like this and flip them around. See the positive things. Notice the details.

The details: The colourful guerrilla knitting attempts of the locals, for example. They warmed my heart and made me smile.

The statue of late actor Richard Harris as a young tennis player along the way. He used to live in Kilkee, and his statue had also been yarn-bombed by the local community.

Yarn bombed Richard Harris statue

Then the scenery: The beauty of the rocks, as they formed natural auditoriums and deep channels. The majesty of the spectacular cliffs, making us all feel so incredibly insignificant in the great scheme of things.

What you made of it: Find humour in this situation too, because there was plenty. The green grass that covered the black rocks. It looked like an unruly hairdo. The way we all appeared in the gale winds like oversized Teletubbies. The warm feeling of companionship as we all grinned into the camera for a group selfie in the highest spot where the winds were the worst.

Delicious Rewards in Front of a Warming Fire

Warm Irish whiskey in front of a fire

And here is another way how you can enjoy a situation like this. Reward yourself. After all the cold and the rain that washes away your stress and your worries, treat yourself to some warmth and comfort and food and sweetness.

Find a place that is as welcoming as a home, such as award-winning Long Dock in Carrigaholt. A gorgeous country pub with mugs hanging from the ceiling, each one of them with the name of its owner on the bottom.

Take off that jacket, stretch your feet out in front of the fire and warm yourself up on the inside with a drink.

The hostess greeted our soggy group and immediately welcomed us with a glass of warm whiskey, watered down and spiced with an orange peel and a clove. Perfect to get the chill out of our bones and to ease us into the festive meal that awaited us a few minutes later.

Delicious seafood at Long Dock, Carrigaholt

Even here at the Long Dock, the Atlantic Ocean was never far. Seafood and fish dominated the dishes, hot and cold. Salty and fresh, bursting with flavour. Chowder, creamy and sweet, served with a buttered slice of Irish soda bread. Big mussels, juicy and soft. Crab salad, the claw with a delicate coconut taste.

The dishes kept on coming and in the end we needed to declare defeat, dried up, warm and content.

We finished off with an ice-cream from the backyard ice-cream parlour. As I had learned by now, the Irish love ice-cream. And if there was one food that really spreads happiness, even on a cold, wet and miserable day, it’s ice-cream.

In the end I think I danced the dance pretty well for the two of us. The Cliffs of Kilkee were gorgeous and are a must-do in the area, some might say even better than the Cliffs of Moher. Even if the weather was not cooperating, it been quite the experience, so don’t worry if you wake up to broccoli weather.

P.S.: Just so that you know, I adore broccoli, so this was just a lazy figure of speech.

Tomorrow we can eat broccoli but today is for ice-cream

You may also want to read this

The Magic of Beara Peninsula

Stories from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Ice-cream in Ireland, or a story of happiness through resilience

The Cliffs of Kilkee Walk in Broccoli Weather

The Cliffs of Kilkee Walk in Broccoli Weather

Silke Elzner

AUTHOR - Silke Elzner

Hello! My name is Silke. Happiness and Things is a travelogue about amazing European destinations and beautiful places around the world. I believe that beauty is even in the smallest things and I want to inspire you to see the world differently. Read more about it here.

  • Megan Indoe | Dec 2, 2017 at 3:21

    What a perfect description for that day! Such a beautiful place, even with the terrible weather! Haha I had never heard “a broccoli kind of day,” before!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 2, 2017 at 4:24

      Thank you Megan. I think we did a pretty good job that day. And you even gave the whiskey a try! Ah, the memories!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 2, 2017 at 4:33

      By the way, I like how Scott has four arms in this picture like an Indian goddess.

  • Danik | Dec 2, 2017 at 22:39

    I remember doing this about the same time as you and got soaked big time! I love western Ireland, the landscape is stunning. Wish the sun would come out more. 🙂

  • Maram Taibah | Dec 2, 2017 at 23:12

    Oh my gosh I was just in Ireland in June. I know how cranky the weather can get! Even though it was supposed to be summer already. I’ve never heard of the cliffs of Kilkee and now you make me wish I visited. They seem to be quite eerie. In a good way! I also liked your description of your job as a travel writer. I’m just starting out myself!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 3, 2017 at 2:06

      Next you come back to Ireland do try to visit the Cliffs of Kilkee. I don’t think the photos even begin to tell you how beautiful the area is.

  • Sarah | Dec 2, 2017 at 23:43

    A broccoli kind of a day is so descriptive 🙂 The cliffs look beautiful, but the meal and warm whiskey at the end look and sound even better! Loves me a bit of fresh crab. Man, that Irish weather though… good job the locals have such warm personalities to balance it all out! Great post, very evocative of your day!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 3, 2017 at 2:08

      The food was amazing at Long Dock. It looks so unassuming from the outside, so what a pleasant surprise to be served first-class dishes in this cosy pub atmosphere. And the ice-cream at the end, delicious!

  • Nathalie | Dec 3, 2017 at 3:38

    Okay, I love your intro and I was trying to figure out where you were going with thie blog. Back to reading the rest. Okay, the ditching the umbrella had me laughing. During the autumn and winter, I never bring an umbrella with me either in Europe. It serves no purpose. You had me with the mussels and drink. This is such a great story about your trip to Ireland. I can’t wait to visit.

  • Danijela | Dec 3, 2017 at 18:04

    A hammock by the beach with your laptop on your lap? I don’t think I’ve ever done any work on the beach actually. I usually stay in my room or at the local cafe to work, instead of being on the beach! 😀 And I know you can relate. 🙂
    This is one interesting adventure. Love how you’ve compared it to the baptism experience. But you’ve said it yourself, it’s not the blue sky and sunshine here, the weather is always gloomy. And you wouldn’t even be there if there wasn’t for you work, so that makes it even more exciting – now you have a true interesting story to tell, right!
    And I bet that that ice-cream to end up the tour helped a lot to recover! I know it’d help me for sure! 😀
    Lovely, honest post! 🙂

  • Indrani | Dec 4, 2017 at 2:06

    Whoa a magical place! I was hovering over the food pic for a long time. 😛 🙂
    The cliffs look most romantic! Ireland is going up in my bucketlist in a steady manner.

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 4, 2017 at 2:35

      Yes, the food was amazing. Before I came to Ireland, everybody told me to prepare for the worst but the food throughout has been amazing. So much delicious seafood!

  • Rachel Elizabeth | Dec 4, 2017 at 8:09

    The Cliffs of Kilkee are so rugged and beautiful! I’m not surprised autumn has a lot of rainy days. Ireland really isn’t a country of sunny skies. You gotta prepare for the weather, which seems to change every five minutes. When I visited Ireland in March, I was super lucky and only had one day of rain – which happened when I kissed the Blarney Stone!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 4, 2017 at 19:25

      It’s a very different rain than what I am used to. A constant drizzle, on and off. But you get used to it. As they say, there is no bad weather, just wrong clothes…

  • Kim-Ling Richardson | Dec 4, 2017 at 22:22

    I must admit, I’ve never heard the term, ‘broccoli kind of day’, but I assume it means good/bad? The Cliffs of Kilkee look incredible, regardless of the grey, wet skies! I love that the Richard Harris statue was yarn-bombed; it certainly adds some character! Your writing is lovely and descriptive, Silke, so much so that I felt like I was there with you, getting drenched and cold (and subsequently warmed up by the lovely food and drink!). Sounds like the broccoli turned out to be a good day after all!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 5, 2017 at 1:17

      Hi Ling, It means just “bad”. Check out the photo of the sign at the bottom of the post, I think this explains it quite well. Personally, I love broccoli but I know that many people detest the bitter flavour. Thanks for your kind words, I am happy to hear you enjoyed your read.

  • Mei and Kerstin | Dec 5, 2017 at 1:43

    Thank you for this very honest post, Silke! The job of a travel writer is certainly not fun at all times, and you’ve shown it pretty well through this story. But like you say: the mindset is everything. How you experience a day or a place often depends on how you take it or want to take it. I think you really did the best you could to write about your experience at the Cliffs of Kilkee. And guess what: your honesty and care for details even make us want to visit it, even if it was a rather bad day! 🙂

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Dec 5, 2017 at 2:26

      That’s great to hear. I really think that the cliffs are a wonderful destination, even when it’s raining. I am glad this came through in my writing.

  • Kate | Dec 5, 2017 at 13:00

    I’ve been dying to visit Ireland, so now it’s tugging at me even more. I love that your way of finding the beauty in even a bad weather day was to focus on the details. I definitely need to slow down and focus on the details of each new place I experience so that even if things aren’t perfect, you can still find the beauty.

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