The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

When we planned our trip to Ireland, visiting the Cliffs of Moher was high on our must see list. Here’s some information on the Cliffs of Moher:

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Cliffs of Moher: The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair, lit. cliffs of the ruin, also known as theCliffs of Mohair) are located in the parish of Liscannor at the south-western edge of the Burren area near Doolin, which is located in County Clare, Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher rank as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and topped the list of attractions in 2006 by drawing almost one million visitors.

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The cliffs rise 120 meters (394 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head (Irish: Ceann na Cailleach), and reach their maximum height of 214 meters (702 ft) just north of O’Brien’s Tower, eight kilometres away.

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The views from the cliffs attract close to one million visitors per year. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay, as are the valleys and hills of Connemara.

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Be prepared to walk to get up to the various viewing platforms and O’Brien’s Tower. If you have anyone unable to make the walk up the stairs, there is a lower platform or they can wait at the visitor centre.

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O’Brien’s Tower is a round stone tower at the approximate midpoint of the Cliffs of Moher. It was built by Sir Cornelius O’Brien, a descendant of Ireland’s High King Brian Boru, in order to impress female visitors. From atop that watchtower, visitors can view the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, the Maum Turk Mountains and the Twelve Pins to the north in Connemara, and Loop Head to the south.

The cliffs consist mainly of beds of Namurian shale and sandstone, with the oldest rocks being found at the bottom of the cliffs. It is possible to see 300 million year-old river channels cutting through, forming unconformities at the base of the cliffs. There are many animals living on the cliffs. Most of these are birds, with an estimated 30,000 birds, representing more than 20 species.

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The visitor centre is built into the hillside after it was decided that all of the stores along the way to the Cliffs was distracting from its beauty. Inside are a number of stores, interactive media displays, and even a cafe. Out in front is a beautiful wood sculpture created by a local artist using only a chainsaw and represents the Cliffs of Moher.

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Off to the left is another viewing platform and just beyond it is this sign:

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Clearly they do not want you to go beyond this sign, but people do walk up for even more spectacular views and I guess to say that they did it.

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Between the wind, mud, and this sign – I started to feel a bit nervous:

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Add to that the lack of protection from where I was standing and the water below, I was skeptical about going on and stayed back to take this shot.

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You have to admit that the view is absolutely spectacular!

Some interesting notes in popular culture about the Cliffs of Moher:

  • As of July 2009, the Cliffs were named one of 28 global finalists in the “New Seven Wonders of Nature”. The “New Seven Wonders” winners will be announced on 11th November 2011 (11/11/11).
  • The Cliffs of Moher have been featured on film numerous times, including in The Princess Bride (1987), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Tentacles of Doom, and in the Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading episodes of Father Ted (1996). It was also at the cliffs that the majority of Dusty Springfield’s ashes were scattered by her brother, Tom Springfield. The cliffs are mentioned in the Martin Scorsese movie “Bringing Out the Dead.”
  • The album artwork for U2’s 12th studio album, No Line On The Horizon, was taken by Hiroshi Sugimoto and shows the Atlantic Ocean from the Cliffs Of Moher. Part of Westlife’s video for their 7th single, My Love, was filmed here too.
  • In the 2008 Surfing documentary “Waveriders,” the cliffs are the location of a famous wave known as “Aileens”, a noted Big Wave Surfing spot.

If you have the opportunity to visit the Cliffs of Moher, go! There is nothing like the natural beauty of it all and an appreciation for the world where we live. Pictures do not do it justice whatsoever. Make sure you take your hat off before you go and anything else that might get blown away. My son’s medal on his chain was ripped right off by the strong winds. Dress warmly and make sure you have your camera in hand for the once in a lifetime shots you will take.

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