The Cliffs of Moher and the Savage Clan

Sunday, May 29, 2011 | County Clare, Ireland (map)

Sister Margaret and I posed at the top of the cliffs. (Photo: M. Graham)
En route to Galway, we made a detour past the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most famous natural sites. We saw the 200-meter high cliffs, famed for their ruggedly scenic views, but unfortunately did not spot the puffin colonies that are rumored to inhabit their base. By the time we left, a heavy fog was rolling in off the sea, rendering the cliffs' jagged dropoff yet more sinister.

At the gift shop in the cliffs' subterranean visitor center, I happened upon a map showing the traditional homelands associated with various Irish surnames. The Coloes were elusive, but all alone on a spur off the island's far northeast shore were the Savage clan, the other half of my mother's Irish ancestors. If I had been smart and looked that up in advance we might have arranged to pay them a visit!

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