In Ireland, a country which is known for its natural beauty, the Cliffs of Moher stand out as one of the highlights of this remarkable isle. Located at the southwestern edge of the Burren Region in County Clare, the cliffs run from just north of O’Brien’s Tower, 8km south to Nags Head.
The highest point is at O’Briens Tower which sits at 214m (702ft) above the Atlantic and drop to 120m (390ft) at Nags Head.
Whats in a Name
The cliffs take their name from an old fort, which once stood on the southernmost point, Nag’s Head. The writer Thomas Johnson Westropp reffered to the tower Moher Uí Ruis or Moher Uí Ruiden. In 1780, John Lloyd wrote “A Short Tour of Clair” which brought the cliffs a wider fame.
Unfortunately, the fort was destroyed in 1808 to provided building material for a lookout tower to provide warning in case of a French invasion in the Napoleonic Wars.
Geography and Wildlife
The cliffs consist primarily of a Namurian shale and sandstone, with the oldest rocks being found at the bottom.
It is estimated that 30,000 birds live off the cliffs which are divided into 20 different species including Atlantic puffins and razorbills. Many of these birds populate the Branaunmore Sea Stack, located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the cliffs
The cliffs today are one of the most popular sites in Ireland attracting more than 1.1 million visitors. In 2011, they were incorporated into the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopoark, which is one of a series of Geopoarks throughout Europe.
The cliff have appeared in several films including, The Princess Bride (1987) where they were the Cliffs of Insanity and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Music is also associated with the cliffs with Maroon % and Westlife both making music videos here. Dusty Springfiled, the British singer who died in 1999, had some of her ashes scattered of the cliffs by her brother Tom.
Without doubt, one of the must-sees on a visit to Ireland.