The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair) are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O’Brien’s Tower, eight kilometres to the north. The cliffs receive almost one million visitors a year.
O’Brien’s Tower is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien to impress female visitors. From the cliffs and from atop the watchtower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south.
The cliffs take their name from an old fort called Moher that once stood on Hag’s Head, the southernmost point of the cliffs. The writer Thomas Johnson Westropp referred to it in 1905 as Moher Uí Ruis or Moher Uí Ruidhin. The fort still stood in 1780 and is mentioned in an account from John Lloyd’s a Short Tour Of Clare (1780). It was demolished in 1808 to provide material for a new telegraph tower. The present tower near the site of the old Moher Uí Ruidhin was built as a lookout tower during the Napoleonic wars.
The cliffs consist mainly of beds of Namurian shale and sandstone, with the oldest rocks being found at the bottom of the cliffs. It is possible to see 300 million year-old river channels cutting through, forming unconformities at the base of the cliffs.
There are an estimated 30,000 birds living on the cliffs, representing more than 20 species.These include Atlantic Puffins, which live in large colonies at isolated parts of the cliffs and on the small Goat Island.Also present are hawks, gulls, guillemots, shags, ravens and choughs.
The cliffs are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and topped the list of attractions in 2006 by drawing almost one million visitors. Since 2011 they have formed a part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, one of a family of geotourism destinations throughout Europe which are members of the European Geoparks Network.
The site has been developed by Clare County Council to allow visitors to experience the cliffs without the distraction of intrusive man-made amenities. 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 grey water recycling.
Officially opened in February 2007, having been planned and built over a 17-year period, the €32 million facility features interactive media displays which 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 below them. The official website features pictures and information on tours, school trips and other areas of interest.
There is a charge of €6 per adult, and children under 16 are admitted free. This charge includes access to the visitor centre building, entry to the Cliffs Exhibition – Atlantic Edge, parking, and a contribution towards conservation and safety at the cliffs. Discounts for seniors and students are available.
Cliffs of Moher Cruise
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 stated that the entire visitor centre was “one of the best facilities that the judges had ever seen.”
The Cliffs of Moher have appeared in numerous media. In cinema, the cliffs have appeared in several films, including: The Princess Bride (1987) (as the filming location for “The Cliffs of Insanity”), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), and Leap Year (2010). The cliffs are mentioned in the Martin Scorsese film Bringing Out the Dead (1999), and are noted in the 2008 documentary Waveriders as the location of a large surfing wave known as “Aileens”.
In music, the cliffs have appeared in music videos, including Maroon 5’s “Runaway” video, Westlife’s “My Love”, and Rich Mullins’ “The Color Green”. Most of singer Dusty Springfield’s ashes were scattered at the cliffs by her brother, Tom.
In television, the cliffs appear in the episodes of Father Ted called “Tentacles of Doom” and “Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading” (1996).
In literature, the cliffs are an important location in Eoin Colfer’s The Wish List, as one of Lowrie’s wishes is spitting off the Cliffs of Moher.
Free WI-FI,tea/coffee facilities,hair dryer,tv's in rooms,non smoking.
Extensive breakfast menu,home baking. Central heating and turf fires.Free car parking..
Dunroman House is a large family run B and B in the centre of Doolin Village. All rooms furnished to the highest standard and all bedrooms have private bathroom with shower.
At Kate’s Place B& B we enjoy welcoming and meeting new people. We strive to make our guests as comfortable as possible in our home and we wish to make your stay in Doolin an enjoyable experience.
Smart contemporary rooms situated a few mins walk from local pubs. Operated by husband and wife team. Also has highly rated Restaurant. 2 bedrooms self catering house. Free parking and WiFi.
Located on a hillside overlooking Doolin and the majestic Cliffs of Moher on the horizon. Panoramic view of the village, the sea, cliffs and Killilagh Church ruins.
Doonmacfelim House is a family run 3 star bed & breakfast in Doolin village.
Rooms ensuite with free Wifi,Tea/coffee,Tv,Hair dryer, Ironing facilities,& off street Parking.Walking distance to Pubs Restaurants. Centrally located.
Comfortable accommodation with views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands centrally located in Fisherstreet Village. Walking distance to Pubs, shops, restaurants and Ferries.
Family run Bed and Breakfast offers guests friendly service. All rooms are en suite, ground floor and first floor level.
Rick Steeves recommended B&B located in the centre of Doolin village. Family run, offering single, double and large family room options. Free WiFi and off street parking. Room only rates also available.
Charming National/Regional Award winning 19th century farmhouse. Noted for its comfort and tranquillity. Adjacent to Doolin, Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands. Ideal location for walking tours of the Burren region.
Seascape; a family run bed and breakfast in Doolin Village. Panoramic views of the Doolin countryside with the Cliffs of Moher and Atlantic Ocean on the horizon. Two minutes walk to pubs with live traditional music; private parking; free Wifi. Seascape offers 6 en suite ground floor bedrooms. Come and enjoy!
Central location - ten minutes from either end of Doolin. Extensive breakfast menu including two fish & two vegetarian options. Family friendly! WiFi Available.
Number 4 in the Top Ten Hostels in Ireland (Hostelworld.com Awards 2010)!
The Burren Hostel which opened in March 2007 is situated in the spa town of Lisdoonvarna where it boasts close proximity to some of Ireland's most famous areas of natural beauty. The world-renowned Cliffs of Moher, towering 200m above the ocean, and The Burren region – 400sq miles of limestone terrain, are both only minutes away.
This fantastic location, in its own gardens, was formerly a 3-star hotel. Now a 124-bed hostel, it has the following great features:
22 Rooms - All En suite
Cosy Residents' Lounge
Spacious Guest Kitchen & Dining Room
Laundry & Drying Facilities
Free Private Parking
Free Internet (open access PC and Wi-Fi)
The town of Lisdoonvarna is the ideal base from which to explore many of Ireland's historical & geographical sites of interest, such as dolmens, stone forts, medieval castles and award-winning parks where history comes to life. The Aran Islands are just a short boat-trip away - passing the foot of the Cliffs of Moher.
Aillwee Cave (Also known as McGann's Cave) is a show cave located in the karst landscape of the Burren in north west County Clare, Ireland. The name Aillwee is derived from the Irish Aill Bhuí which means "yellow cliff".
The cave system consists of over a kilometre of passages leading into the heart of the mountain. Its features include an underground river and a waterfall as well as some large stalactites and stalagmites. The remains of bears can also be seen inside the caves and allusions have been made to it being the last bear den in Ireland. Roughly 300 metres (980 ft) of cave passage is open to the public, one third of the total length of the cave. The tours end at a point called the Highway and exit the cave via a 250-metre (820 ft) man-made tunnel. The cave is typical of the Clare caves, consisting in the main of stream passage and ending in a sump. The general direction is east–west but turns due south some 600 metres (2,000 ft) into the cave.
The cave is considerably older than most of the Clare caves and originally contained a large stream. The cave is now largely deserted of the stream and is heavily backfilled with glacial infill. The formations visible on the show cave tour are rarely more than 8000 years old but calcite samples in the recesses of the cave have been dated to over 350,000 years old.
Discovery and exploration
It was discovered in 1944, when a farmer named Jack McGann followed his dog who was chasing a rabbit. The farmer did not explore very far into the caves, and did not tell anyone of the find for nearly 30 years. He told cavers of the cave in 1973 and that summer the cave was explored as far as a boulder choke. Show cave development began quite soon after. The boulder choke was removed in 1977 and access was gained to the rest of the cave. The Marine Blast tunnel was completed in 1992 to allow a circular trip.
The caves appear in the Father Ted episode "The Mainland" under the name "The Very Dark Caves". They are also mentioned in a story in Part II of The Basset Chronicles by June J. McInerney.
The modern parish of Kinvara is roughly with coextensive with the slightly larger late medieval territory of the Uí Eidhin clan Coill Ua bhFhiachrach ("forest of the descendents of Fiachra") which was an ancient sub-district of Aidhne stretching from Garryland to Doorus. The Uí Eidhin / (O Hynes) clan who were also chiefs of Uí Fhiachrach Aidni. The modern parish of Kinvara contains the civil parishes of Kinvarradoorus and Killinny or the medieval parishes of Kinvara, Doorus and Killinny(Killina). Kinvara developed around an Ó hEidhin (O Hynes) towerhouse (now completely demolished) close to the main pier and the medieval church of St. Colmán or St.Caimín (now in ruins) which is situated between the main road through the village and Céibh a' Chéile (the oldest part of the quay). The church of St. Caimín dates to the early 13th century but is built on the site of Saint Caimín's original early medieval church. It belongs to the style of architecture known as the School of the West which was a style of building in use in Connacht before the Anglo-Norman invasion of the kingdom in the early 13th century.
Kinvara is home every year to two festivals, Fleadh na gCuach ("the cuckoo festival") an Irish music festival at the start of May and the Cruinniú na mBád ("gathering of the boats") in mid August. Anthony Moylan is credited as the person who came up with the idea for the Fleadh on the new bank holiday weekend to commemorate the festival of Bealtaine, around which time the cuckoo is first heard. The Cruinniú na mBád, also largely the idea of Anthony Moylan, is the larger and longer-running, it celebrates the traditional sailing craft (Galway Hookers) and the trade they once did between Kinvara, western County Galway and the north of County Clare. Turf was imported into Kinvara from the west of County Galway while barley, lime, and timber was exported from Kinvara. Turf, the main fuel used here prior to coal and oil, had to be imported as Kinvara is in an area without bogs. The festival started in 1979 and features a series of boat races as well as a variety of other events on the pier. The Fleadh na gCuach (started in 1994) is a festival of Irish music that celebrates the old Irish festival of Bealtaine (the First of May), which in Ireland marks the start of Summer.
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 stated that the entire visitor centre was "one of the best facilities that the judges had ever seen.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark was the third Geopark to be designated in Ireland, having gained membership of both the European Geoparks Network and the UNESCO-assisted Global Network of National Geoparks in 2011.
The Burren comprises dramatic karst landscapes on Ireland's Atlantic coast which have been fashioned in a variety of limestones, sandstones and siltstones originating during the Carboniferous period. The nearby Cliffs of Moher are vertical sandstone and shale sea-cliffs which rise to a height of 200m in places and which have long drawn sightseers to the area.
Doolin (Irish: Dúlainn) is a coastal village in County Clare, Ireland, on the Atlantic coast. It borders the spa town of Lisdoonvarna. It is a noted centre of traditional Irish music, which is played nightly in its pubs, making it a popular tourist destination. There are numerous nearby archaeological sites, many dating to the Iron Age and earlier. Doonagore Castle and Ballinalacken Castle are also in the area.
Doolin is one of three places (Galway and the village of Rossaveal on the northwest shore of Galway Bay are the others) with ferry services to the Aran Islands, which are visible from the town. Doolin is also close to the Cliffs of Moher, and a bus service between Galway and Limerick/Ennis calls at both Doolin and the cliffs in each direction. The area is at the south-western corner of the Burren region. Recently, a ferry service has begun bringing tourists from Doolin Pier to the base of the Cliffs of Moher.
The Aille River runs from the hills of the Burren down past Doolin to meet the sea. The small Crab Island is a short distance out from Doolin Harbor, barren except for the remains of a 19th-century stone constabulary outpost.
O'Brien's Tower marks the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland, located a short distance from the village Doolin, famous for its traditional Irish music. The tower is also near Liscannor a coastal village famous for its slate flagstones which were used for fencing purposes.
The tower was built on the cliffs in 1835 by local landlord Sir Cornellius O'Brien as an observation tower for the hundreds of Victorian tourists that frequented the cliffs at the time. Another version tells of O'Brien building the tower in order to impress women he was courting. On a clear day the view can extend as far as Loop Head at the southern tip of Clare and beyond to the mountains of Kerry. Looking north from O'Brien's Tower on clear days, the Twelve Bens in Connemara (also known as the Twelve Pins) beyond Galway Bay can be seen, and typically the Aran Islands to the west.
O'Briens Tower is just visible in this panoramic view of the Cliffs of Moher.
Folklore holds that Sir Cornellius O'Brien was a man ahead of his time, believing that the development of tourism would benefit the local economy and bring people out of poverty. O'Brien also built a wall of Moher flagstones along the Cliffs and it is said in the locality that he built everything in the area except the cliffs. He died in 1857 and his remains lie in the O'Brien vault in the graveyard adjoining St Brigid's Well.