The famous Cliffs of Moher on the Clare coast provided the backdrop to an international musical performance this weekend, when a choir of up to 200 gathered there as part of the Limerick Sings International Choral Festival.
The steps overlooking the cliffs provided a natural amphitheatre for a performance of the Guns N' Roses classic 'Sweet Child o' Mine' sung with gusto against the elements of strong winds and some light rain.
The singers were members of choirs from across Ireland and Europe, who are taking part in the three-day festival organised by Limerick’s University Concert Hall, which includes a series of workshops, concerts, performances and choral trails.
An integral part of the festival is the ‘Outdoor Chorus’ in which members of the choirs undergo a choral workshop and then travel to an iconic location to perform.
This year's outdoor chorus was at the cliffs, with the performance specially arranged by Irish conductor David Brophy, known widely for his work with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra and who also established the High Hopes choir, the country’s first homeless choir.
Mr Brophy said it was wonderful for choirs to be back singing again after two years of Covid-19, particularly in the wonderful setting of the Cliffs of Moher.
"It's been a difficult time for choirs during the pandemic. The Limerick Sings festival give choirs from across Ireland and Europe the chance to get together for workshops and performances and then the opportunity to sing here at the cliffs, to give what might be a once in a lifetime performance in a special location," Mr Brophy said.
"It's been a crazy day, but a fabulous day."
Samuel Eisenmaier is a member of the Neuer Kammerchor, based in Heidenheim in Germany.
He travelled with 70 of his choristers to take part in the festival, who, despite the difficult weather conditions at the cliffs, very much enjoyed the experience.
"We could hardly hear each other as we sang with the strong wind and then it started to rain but we had such fun, and it’s a beautiful place," Mr Eisenmaier said.
Sinead Hope, Director of University Concert Hall in Limerick and also Artistic Director of the Limerick Sings Festival, said that part of the three-day experience is to bring the singers to iconic locations to perform.
They have in the past sang in the courtyard of historic King Johns Castle in Limerick city and at the famous Lough Gur in Co Limerick.
"We have a lot of international choirs attending the festival and we also want to showcase some of our lovely locations," Ms Hope said.
"What better place that the Cliffs of Moher located on the Wild Atlantic way?
"Singing here gives the choirs an opportunity to do something they would never get to do themselves," she added.
The choirs arrived in several buses and their performance presented an unexpected but lovely treat for the hundreds of tourists who were visiting the cliffs.
Husband and wife Bill and Jay Shaff from Atlanta in the USA said they were just delighted to hear the choir sing in such a beautiful location.
"Another great surprise in a country that keeps surprising us," Mr Shaff said. "But this one was a pretty special one.
"It was just so beautiful, it moved me to tears," Ms Shaff said.