The colossal cliffs of Moher

They say it’s Ireland’s most spectacular coastline and I see no reason to counter that. The cliffs of Moher are a stretch of 8 kilometer stone giants, rising 124 meters above the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t second-guess it as soon as you realize how big of a tourist attraction it really is – it’s Ireland’s most visited natural landmark – just go! 

If you are visiting the West of Ireland, I bet the sheer limestone cliffs of Moher are on your bucket list and in case they aren’t, the tourism offices around County Clare will make sure that they are added. Nothing wrong with that because the cliffs are definitely worth a mention or two. Or three. These photos give you an idea, but nothing beats the live experience: climbing up the steps while the wind is playing with your hair, the sound of gushing waves crashing against the rocks and – most likely – dramatic rain clouds gathering above your head, making the stunning views all the more intense. And it goes on for about 8 kilometers (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast! It’s one of those sights that your eyes are drawn to, like iron to a magnet.

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Why are the cliffs named Moher? It’s said that there used to be an old ford on the southernmost point of the cliffs and that ford was called ‘Mothar’.

 

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The cliffs are located a short distance from the village Doolin.

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Yes, there will be tourists. But sometimes it’s good to have people around. In this case, it motivates you to keep on walking – the views are rewarding but the weather can be very discouraging! Also, the people walking on top of the cliffs give you an idea of the scale of things: they’re nothing but tiny little dots on top of the rocks.

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One of the pathways near the visitor centre leads up to O’Brien’s Tower, a round stone tower, built in 1835 by an Irish politician and descendant of the last high king of ireland. The man himself never went to visit the watch tower after dark – he claimed it was haunted after one night he saw a white creature crawling up the sheer face of the cliff … Don’t worry though: the site is closed after sunset these days! The cliffs reach their highest point just north of O’Brien’s tower.

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The ‘Rocky Needle’
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The Irish aren’t very obedient… 😉
Every year people go missing or fall off the cliffs, which makes the Doolin Volunteer Coast Guard unit one of the busiest units in Ireland! Their website shows that the Doolin unit responded to over 40 call outs in 2012. Apparently, people even ride with mountain bikes up on the cliffs! If you do want to get close to the edge on foot and look down into the Atlantic Ocean, it’s advised to crawl… And even that is dangerous because of the erosion that is constantly taking place.

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A great view from the ‘forbidden pathway’. Since my visit, several walking paths around the cliffs have been opened, including the 12km ‘Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk’.
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The weather changes rapidly around here!
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Can’t get enough? You can keep enjoying the view in the restrooms of the visitor centre 😉

The Cliffs of Moher have been featured in music videos and movies a few times, including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Oh, and remember these modest hits?

Also, musical performance in the open air at the Cliffs of Moher has been a long standing tradition. Here’s an example:

Another song! Oh I met her on the cliffs Of Moher, a lovely girl in a lovely land …

www.cliffsofmoher.ie