There are several fascinating aspects to the area surrounding the Cliffs of Moher.
Visitors can enjoy the wildlife and caves and also historical monuments before settling down and enjoying some live music in the local village.
O’Brien’s Tower – fabulous view
O’Brien’s Tower is on the headland of the Cliffs of Moher. It offers a great view of the cliffs. The tower was built by Cornelius O’Brien in 1835. Back then the cliffs were just as popular as they are now and O’Brien realised that the more tourists came to visit the cliffs, the better it would be for the local economy. He built the round stone tower to encourage more tourists to visit and so help the local community, many of whom were living in poverty.
It was and still is a perfect observation point with fabulous views of the cliffs.
Bird populations flourish
There are more than 20 species of wild birds living on the cliffs. Birdwatchers will be in their element among the 30,000 birds including hawks, razorbills, gulls, ravens, choughs, guillemots and Atlantic puffins.
The population of a lot of these species is decreasing in most of Europe but along the Cliffs of Moher they continue to increase.
If you visit in April or May you might see the Atlantic puffins as they come to shore to nest in the cliffs.
Visitor Centre with interactive multimedia displays
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre is a €32m facility that is built in to a hillside near the cliffs.
It opened in 2007 and contains several viewing platforms, interactive multimedia displays and a restaurant and retail area. The multimedia displays give information about the origin of the cliffs and the wildlife that lives on them today.
The interactive screens take the viewer on a journey along the cliffs and the water below. You get to see the bird’s eye view of the area and the view from underwater in the caves at the bottom of the cliffs.
In keeping with the tone of the area it is environmentally friendly and uses renewable energy systems such as solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling and grey water recycling.
There is a charge to enter the Visitor Centre. The charge covers parking and also grants you access to the Atlantic Edge exhibition. It also includes a contribution to the conservation and safety of the cliffs.
Caves – home to prehistoric bears
In Doolin Cave you will find the Great Stalactite. At 23 feet long it is one of the largest stalactites in the world.
It is a great sight to behold but the ecosystem in the area is fragile. Therefore, to protect the ecosystem, there are only a limited number of tours per year. It means that if you wish to visit you need to plan ahead.
Aillwee Cave is located at The Burren and is two million years old. In prehistoric times, bears used to roam the caves. You can take a guided tour through the Aillwee Cave system throughout the year. For more information about Doolin Caves visit doolincave.ie.
Doolin Village – renowned for its music scene
Doolin Village is the place to stay when you are visiting the Cliffs of Moher and all the surrounding attractions. It is the nearest village to most of the tourist attractions and has plenty of hotels, restaurants and bars.
Doolin village is actually made up of two smaller villages, Fisherstreet and Roadford. It is renowned for its traditional music scene and several bars have live entertainment every night.
The Cliffs of Moher are home to some fabulous natural landmarks, as their status as finalists of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ would suggest.
A great time to visit would be in the spring when the weather is starting to get warmer and the wildlife comes to the shore.