The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most awe inspiring natural attractions. They stretch for five miles along the western coast and at their highest point, stand nearly 700 feet tall.
The cliffs regularly attract over a million visitors per year. You can see some fabulous scenery including the Aran Islands, the Burren, the caves, O’Brien’s tower and of course the cliffs themselves.
The cliffs are a designated UNESCO Geo park and are home to several species of bird. Two hundred hectares of the area including parts of the cliffs, grassland and open water were also a designated Special Protection Area for birds.
Shortlisted for New Seven Wonders of Nature
The cliffs were one of the sites shortlisted to be named as one of ‘The New Seven Wonders of Nature’. The ancient cliffs have inspired several artists over the centuries. They have also captured the imagination of the modern day film and entertainment industry.
Harry Potter fans will recognise them from the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The British singer Dusty Springfield was such a fan of the cliffs that she had her ashes scattered on them.
The Cliffs – 300 million years in the making
The cliffs are made of sandstone. Some of the river channels that cut through the rock are 300 million years old.
The cliffs are on the coast of County Clare just south of the village of Doolin. A good way to view them would be to take a cruise. This gives you a chance to see the splendour of the cliffs from the water.
O’Brien’s Watchtower overlooking the Cliffs
Sir Cornelius O’Brien (an Irish politician) built the O’Brien’s Tower in 1835. There are two theories why the O’Briens’ Tower was built. The first says he built it so visitors to the Cliffs could see the stunning views of the Twelve Pins of Connemara to the north, and to the south, Loop Head at the southern tip of Clare with the Kerry mountains in the background.
The second reason is that he built it to impress his lady friends.
He also had the flagstones laid by the edge of the Cliffs. He believed bringing visitors to the Cliffs would help to bring money to the local area and help ease the poverty of the locals.
The Burren – shrouded in mystery
The Burren is close to Doolin village. It is a beautiful area of jagged rock that is shrouded in mystery. It has fascinating archaeology, history, wildlife and geology that has intrigued visitors for generations.
It covers 100 square miles and contains countryside, ancient stone structures and an incredibly diverse range of plants. It has been described as a place filled with paradoxes that make it a fabulous place for explorers to visit.
The Aran Islands – where people speak Irish
Three beautiful islands, Inishmore, Inishmean and Inisheer make up the Aran Islands. They are near Galway Bay and are the one of the few remaining parts of Ireland where the locals still speak Gaelic as a first language.
Inisheer is the smallest of the islands and is the closest to the cliffs. The largest is Inishmore which is the closest to Rossaveal port in Galway.
There are several ferries that take tourists across to the islands.
Move to page 2 to find out about the wildlife and caves around the cliffs.