Ireland is beautiful, especially if you come from the dry Free State. When I hear the name Ireland, the first things I think of are a pint of Guinness and the green hills. My eyes often take a while to get used to all the green, especially in the countryside. There are different shades of green as far as the eye can see. And when the sun shines – something that doesn’t happen very often, even if it is summer – everything is extra bright. It seems as if every leaf and grass stalk is coloured with a highlighter.
One place you must visit when you come to Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. It is located on the west coast in County Clare, about 80 km from the city of Galway. If you drive there by bus, the winding road may cause nausea. Therefore, I would advise that you rent a car and drive there yourself. The road winds through a picturesque landscape, and you can visit other attractions such as Dunguaire Castle along the way.
Ireland’s west coast is known for its bad weather. Most weather warnings usually apply to Galway and Clare. Dress in layers when going to the Cliffs of Moher. You may experience four seasons in one day, which means you need to dress warm enough but with the possibility of taking some layers off when it gets too hot. Comfortable shoes and thick socks are a must. One walks quite far on the rocks, so make sure you’re up to it.
We decided to hike all the way (about 12 km), and it was absolutely worth it! Initially, it was quite rainy and cold, but later the sun shone warmly. Stay away from the ridge as far as possible; it is very high, and gusts of wind can throw you around.
A few facts about the Cliffs of Moher:
Like almost everything in Ireland, the Cliffs have a very rich history. Do visit the tourist centre. There are beautiful pictures of and information about all the animals and plants in the area.
- The southernmost tip of the Cliffs is 120 m high, and the northernmost point is 214 m above the Atlantic Ocean.
- The word ‘Moher’ comes from the old Irish word ‘Mothar’ which means ‘destroyed fort’. The name Cliffs of Moher refers to the ruins of the Moher Tower on Hag’s Head (the southernmost point of the Cliffs) that was built during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).
- About 320 million years ago, the Cliffs of Moher were a giant river delta. It consists mainly of shale and sandstone and the stone layers are very rich in fossils.
- Weathering by seawater causes the bottom of the rocks to fall off, so stick to the rules for safety reasons.
- There are about 30 000 birds of about 20 different species at the Cliffs.
- When the weather is good, you may see dolphins, whales and seals in the sea.
- The Cliffs of Moher is a popular spot for filming movies and music videos. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) and Leap Year (2010), among others, were filmed there. Maroon 5 filmed the Runaway music video there and Westlife My Love.
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