Ireland's Cliffs of Moher
Each year thousands of people come to Ireland, particularly to the West, to see some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world -- including the Cliffs of Moher.
These cliffs are arguably the most breathtaking sight in all of Ireland. Each year, the cliffs draw over one million visitors from all over the world. This region is also the most photographed locations in all of Ireland.
Tourists are allowed to walk around the cliffs for some of the most beautiful and unspoiled views in the world.
The cliffs span nearly five miles of the Irish coast and offer beautiful glimpses of many of Ireland's famed tourist spots.
The View from the Cliffs
On clear days, visitors can look out into the Galway Bay and see the Aran Islands (Oileáin Árann) off in the distance.
The Twelve Bens mountain range (Na Beanna Beola), located in Connemara, can also be seen from here. If you want a great view of the Aran Islands and the Twelve Bens, head off to O'Brien's Tower (and the immediate area) as this is the highest area of the cliffs.
The view of the cliffs themselves is absolutely stunning with the steep limestone and shale rock face and beautiful green moss growing in small crags. The top of the cliffs, where visitors can walk around, offers views of sections of the cliffside and is a great place to (carefully) watch an Atlantic storm roll in.
The hidden secret of the cliffs hold is the huge Atlantic Puffin population as well as small populations of other cliff-nesting birds. To protect the numerous bird colonies here, the European Union designated a large area of the cliffs as a Special Protection Area and a Refuge for Fauna.
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience was created in 2007 to accommodate the tourists that visit the area. The Visitor Experience allows visitors to learn about the origin of the cliffs and learn about the area's wildlife.
A variety of multimedia displays within the 'Atlantic Edge' area of the center allow visitors to see how the cliffs look from above the Irish landscape as well as rare views of the underwater caves that run through the base of the cliffs.
One of the most critical aspects of the project was to allow tourists to enjoy the area without the facilities ruining the unspoiled beauty of the natural setting. The center also aims to reduce the impact tourists have on the local environment with the use of geothermal heating, solar panels, and even greywater recycling. Because of the environmental efforts that County Clare put into the development of the facilities, the Visitor Experience has earned many awards.
Cliffs of Moher Facts
There are many interesting facts about the cliffs:
- The cliffs are one of 28 global finalists in the "New Seven Wonders of Nature." The winners of the contest will be announced in November 2011.
- The Cliffs of Moher are located in the southwestern corner of a particularly rocky area of Ireland known as The Burren.
- Many movies have scenes filmed at the cliffs which include: Leap Year (2010), Princess Bride (1987), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), and several others.
- The cover art for U2's album "No Line On The Horizon" is a photo of the Atlantic taken from the cliffs.
- The waves near the cliffs make this area a favorite place to surf. The waves here are often called 'Aileens' among the surfer crowd.
Would you like to visit the cliffs?
Where to Stay
Visitors to the Cliffs of Moher often stay in hotels in Liscannor, Ennis, or Bunratty. If you want to check out the Aran Islands, there is a nearby ferry that can take you to them. There are some small hotels and B&Bs there allowing you to stay overnight on the islands. Be sure to pick up a handmade Aran sweater during your trip to the islands!
There are also inns and hostels that dot the area. The Shannon Airport is the nearest major airport and is an accessible airport for tourists on the western side of Ireland. If you're traveling throughout the western part of Ireland, you need to see the Cliffs of Moher.
© 2011 Melanie