Ireland : The Cliffs of Moher
On the west coast of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are one of its most breathtaking features
In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs
Sir John Pentland
With this trip to Ireland and particularly by visiting the famous cliffs of Moher, I finally fulfill a childhood dream. As a child, I always admired the beautiful green landscapes, moved by the traditional Irish music composed by instruments such as the bagpipes, the banjo and the flute and enchanted by stories and tales I read in books or watched in films.
The Cliffs of Moher are located in the west coast of Ireland in County Clare. This is the best known and most visited attraction in Ireland and one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Vertical rocks of more than 200 meters height, above the Atlantic Ocean and extending about 8 km of the western coast of Ireland. In early June, Anna and I decided to visit this most majestic natural scenery during our holiday in Ireland and our impressions were more than positive.
Access to the Cliffs of Moher is easy from anywhere in the country, as Ireland is covered by a very good and modernized road network. We were staying in the beautiful city of Cork from which the Cliffs of Moher are about 177km (about 2 ½ hours) and chose to move in a rental car. If you are not familiar with the British driving system I advise you to do not hesitate to try it as well. As I have said, Ireland has a very good road network and Irish drivers are very attentive and polite.
The drive to the Cliffs of Moher was extremely interesting as all the beautiful pictures that I had created in my mind for Ireland emerged from the windows of our car and took form in front of our eyes. Fairytale landscapes, majestic castles, green meadows, farms and beautiful villages with traditional architecture. Personally I enjoyed so much the route that, if I could, I would stop every 2-3 minutes to photograph all these so interesting elements that compose the typical picture of Ireland. Also the weather was surprisingly good given that we were in Ireland since it was quite hot and sunny.
After a very interesting trip we finally arrived at our dream destination. The first images we witnessed did not in any way portend the majesty of the landscape that we would face in a few minutes. We had just come from the beautiful tourist village of Liscannor and having traveled small country roads, we faced a huge parking area with hundreds of cars and tourist buses. After we paid the price for entering the parking lot, which is also valid for entry to Cliffs of Moher, we moved to the entry point. Fun facts that worth mentioning, first the reaction of the kind employees of the parking lot, on hearing that a couple from Greece during the summer, chose Ireland for holidays. And second the close meeting with dozens of clever crows in the parking area, which without any fear or shyness by human presence were waiting for anything related to food to drop from the thousands of visitors.
Just across the parking area is the entrance to the Cliffs of Moher, where at the left there are some premises that include gift shops and the Visitor Centre. Visitor Centre is a large building where inside there are gift and souvenir shops, cafes, restaurant, toilets and information rooms related to the Cliffs of Moher. Particularly interesting is “The Cliffs Exhibition” in which, in a specially designed area, displayed a video with information about the creation of the Cliffs of Moher and the fauna on them. At the right there is a large field with a few benches and the characteristic sculpture with the inscription «Cliffs of Moher Experience”, a must for a commemorative photo.
Interesting Facts about the Cliffs Of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are 214 meters high and span across 8 km along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The cliffs are 320 MILLION years old.
These cliffs have made some film appearances, include Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ryan’s Daughter, The Mackintosh Man, and the Princess Bride.
The Cliffs of Moher are home to 40,000 birds from 29 different species including Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Chough.
The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction with more than 1 million visitors per year.
We were so impatient to admire the famous landscape that skipped the gift shops and the Visitor Centre, we took only one photo with the sculpture and decided to move straight to the Cliffs of Moher. We followed the path by which we had two choices, or move right to the O’Brien’s Tower or to the left and follow the long path along the coast. We decided to do the second. While the summer weather was favorable during the road trip, when we needed to go hiking along the rocks, tired us enough because of the heat and humidity. I would not advise anyone to take the path without carrying enough water. Especially if it comes to the summer period and in similar weather conditions.
The route is spectacular at every point of the trail. The size and vastness of the rocks cause great impression and you can enjoy great views from any point of the path. The first ten minutes of the path we walked safely within a fence until we reached a point where a sign warned us that we could continue with our responsibility. I can not say that the rest of the path was dangerous, nor to deny that I felt awe at some points that the distance from the edge, minimized about two meters. Besides the beautiful images composed by the Cliffs falling in the Atlantic Ocean, just as impressive was the view of thousand birds perch on the rocks and the vast lush meadows surrounding the landscape. We walked for about two hours, enjoying the uniqueness of the Cliffs of Moher, until due to fatigue and finishing water we decided to go back to Visitor Centre to rest.
Leaving the Visitor Centre we realized the phenomenon of living the four seasons in a short time. Just after ten minutes the weather had completely changed and the landscape was dominated by black clouds, light rain and strong wind. However since the rain was not so intense we continued to the O’Brien’s Tower. It is a tower which built in 1835 by Cornelius O’Brien, as an observation point for the hundreds of tourists who even then, visited the Cliffs. A small additional charge is needed to entry the Tower, but it is worth admiring the view from an even higher point. The view from the side of the tower was even more impressive since we saw the formation of the rocks and their repetition as they enter to the Atlantic. The fickle weather helped us as it made the view more dramatic. After we enjoyed the scenery on this side, we went back to the Visitor Centre, we did the essential shopping from the tourist shops –souvenirs and a few gifts- and headed to the parking lot. On the way back we were both so impressed by the natural wonder we just witnessed and we were already discussing the possibility to visit it again.
Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way and visit Dunquin