The Cliffs of Moher can be found looming over County Clare in the West of Ireland. These majestic vertical cliffs extend for eight kilometres along the Atlantic coast and at their highest point they are an impressive 214 metres, they are without a doubt one of Ireland’s most incredible sights. The cliffs were formed more than 300 million years ago, they are comprised of sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and shale composite that were compacted over time into solid rock. Similarly they have been carved by time, the weather and the ocean to the impressive shapes and formations visible today.
A variety of coastal landforms can be seen both from the top of the cliffs and from offshore. Below are sea caves formed along the foot of the cliffs, over time these turn into sea stacks and sea stumps. The great sea stack, Branaumore, at the base of the cliffs of Moher measures over 67 metres above the foaming waves. This column of rock would have at one time been connected to the cliffs but has been severed over time by coastal erosion.
The cliffs have played an important role over the years, serving as a place of lookout, for quarrying, fishing, collecting eggs and feathers. Today their main purpose is as a premier tourist destination, with more than a million vistors a year, be prepared they can get busy during the summer season.
There are 750 metres of official path, these are secured pathways that are walled off and viewing platforms along the cliff edge, providing a safe environment where visitors can walk safely and enjoy the spectacular views. However, along the unofficial seaside trail, much of the cliffs are open with no safety barriers and are crumbling in some areas, care is needed here. O’Briens Tower, is a round stone tower, built by a local landlord in 1835, it stands by the highest point of the cliffs and from here there are the most amazing views along the coastline and out to sea. If you stand on the towers viewing platform the views are incredible, amazingly on a clear day you can see the five surrounding counties and the Aran Islands. If you come later in the day you can witness one of the magical sunsets, simply spectacular.
Unsurprisingly the Cliffs of Moher are thought to be a natural wonder of the world. They provide the ideal habitat for birds, plants and other wildlife. They are home to Ireland’s biggest mainland seabird colony, with more than thirty species of bird living here.
There is an eco-friendly Visitor Centre set in the hillside, it is open throughout the year. Visitors can call in to get information pertaining to the cliffs and the local area. There are interactive media displays providing details on the geology, history, flora and fauna of the cliffs. A large screen shows a bird’s eye view from the cliffs, in addition to a video from the underwater caves below. Also located here are toilets, a cafe and gift shop.