On my quest for Ireland I have found the Cliffs of Moher. On our first trip to Ireland the visitors centre was pretty nonexistent. It had a little gift shop and when you went walking along the trail cliffside, there were no fences or safety rails to speak of. When we went to visit the cliffs again in 2007 we were pretty amazed at the new centre and the pathways and of course it was nice to see the railings to prevent falls. If you ever get the chance to go to Ireland, a visit to the Cliffs of Moher is a must!!
The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair, lit. cliffs of the ruin, also known as the Cliffs 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 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. 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.
O’Brien’s Tower is a round stone tower at the approximate midpoint of the cliffs. 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 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.
Building work at the Cliffs, November 2005
The site has been developed by Clare County Council to allow visitors to experience the Cliffs, without the distraction of overly-imposing man-made amenities or features. In keeping with this approach, the “Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience” is built into a hillside approaching the Cliffs. The centre is also intended to be environmentally sensitive in its use of renewable energy systems including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, and greywater recycling.
Officially opened in February 2007, having been planned and built over a 17 year period, the €32 million facility features interactive media displays. These explore topics such as the origin of the Cliffs in local and global geological contexts, and the bird and fish life in the area. A large screen multimedia display allows visitors to experience a bird’s eye view from the cliffs, as well as seeing the inside of underwater caves at the foot of the cliffs. The official Cliffs of Moher website features pictures and information on tours, school trips and other areas of interest.
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience won an award in the Interpret Britain & Ireland Awards 2007 awarded by the Association of Heritage Interpretation. Although the award was specifically for the Atlantic Edge exhibition, the AHI assessed the entire visitor centre and site. The citation states that the entire visitor centre was “one of the best facilities that the judges had ever seen.
You can learn more by visiting the Cliffs of Moher and website