One of the Emerald Isle’s most renowned natural attractions, the Cliffs of Moher are rightly included amongst a ‘must-see’ list for many visitors to Ireland. The Cliffs are located on Ireland’s western coast in County Clare, about three-and-a-half hours from Dublin and a little over an hour from Limerick. Daily bus tours operate from both cities, and are a fine way to see the Cliffs without the stress of driving on the left and navigating unfamiliar roads.
If any place in Ireland can lay claim to being the eighth wonder of the world it is undoubtedly the Cliffs, which span some 10 kilometres between Doolin and Liscannon on the Wild Atlantic Way. Rising to more than 200 metres in places, the Cliffs offer visitors breath-taking views of the rugged coastline and the untamed ocean far below.
Running right along the Atlantic edge, the cliffs vary between 120 metres and a staggering 214 metres. Be sure to bring a camera, as you’ll want to capture the stunning scenery in all directions. From the top of the cliffs, and O’Brien’s Tower near the visitor centre, holidaymakers can see Twelve Pins and Maumturks mountain ranges of Connemara in County Galway and the fabled Aran Islands in Galway Bay. To the south, visitors may spot Loop Head jutting out into the sea.
Of the one million visitors a year to the Cliffs of Moher, many take the opportunity to walk along the cliff-tops and make their way to O’Brien’s Tower, built where the Cliffs reach their highest point. There’s plenty of wildlife to spot along the way, with many animals and species of sea bird thriving along the Cliffs thanks to the area’s protected status. Some of the sea fowl you can expect to see during a visit to the Cliffs include kittiwakes, puffins, fulmar, razorbill, and guillemot. From the top of the Cliffs it’s also possible to see whales and dolphins in the waters below. Looking below you might also spot surfers and tour boats.
O’Brien’s Tower, which acts as a focal point for many of the visitors who travel to the Cliffs, was specifically constructed in 1835 with the purpose of attracting tourists to the region. Named for its builder Cornelius O’Brien, a local landowner and one-time member of parliament (who was also descended from the high kings of Ireland), the tower was built to act as a viewing platform for visitors. Today the tower welcomes visitors from around the world and affords those who climb it stunning views of the landscape – 180 years later, the tower continues to serve its original function.
There are other manmade constructions along the Cliffs, including the early 19th century Martello Tower, one of many built along Ireland’s coastlines when it was feared Napoleon would launch an invasion of the island as a back door into an attack on Britain. The invasion never materialised, but the tower still stands. Nearby is Moher Tower, for which the Cliffs were named, or what’s left of it at least, as the fort was pulled down in 1808 to provide materials for a new telegraph tower.
Aside from the scenic views and fresh air of the Clare countryside, most visitors also stop in the new visitor centre, which was designed to meld with the natural landscape and makes use of the latest eco-friendly technologies to leave minimal impact on this stunning area. Officially known as the Cliffs of Moher New Visitor Experience, this attraction boasts numerous facilities within the one underground complex for a truly atmospheric visit.
The award winning Atlantic Edge exhibition provides visitors will all the information you might need on how the Cliffs came to be, the diverse array of wildlife living in the area, and the surrounding region. Aside from the range of interactive displays, the highlight of the exhibit is a virtual tour of the cliff face which transports visitors right to the edge of this iconic precipice using state-of-the-art computer generated imagery.
Those staying in the nearby area who want to want to explore other County Clare attractions may be interested in watching The Clare Journey movie, which is also shown in the centre and highlights attractions in the surrounding area, as well as other natural beauty spots such as the Shannon Estuary and Lough Derg.
It’s no surprise that the Cliffs of Moher are among Ireland’s most popular attractions. Of the million visitors each year, over 90,000 travel with us to experience the best tour of the Cliffs of Moher there is.