The Irish wind howls as if trying to blow tourists straight off the edge of the Cliffs of Moher. Crashing waves smash into the Irish cliffs below joining the dramatic efforts of what seems like an attempt to shake visitors from the layered rock millions of years in the making.
The travellers arriving to the most visited natural site in Ireland pay little attention to the wind and water kerfuffle. Scarves do a mad dance around chilly necks while frantic hands lunge for hats taking their own Cliffs of Moher trip. It is a wild autumn show on these famed cliffs of Ireland.
Adding to the drama are the Irish cliff visitors engaging in a heart stopping adventure with smart phones in hand. How far can you lean over an exposed edge before plummeting 700 feet into the wild Atlantic below seems the game to play.
Almost as spectacular as the Cliffs of Moher themselves are the shenanigans of the attempts of a once-in-a-lifetime-selfie. Or possibly end-of-a-lifetime selfie.
Click on the video below to walk with us along the Irish Cliffs of Moher.
We breathe deeply and do our best to ignore the giggling photographers’ imminent catastrophe. Instead our own cameras wait impatiently at the sight of Irish cliffs weaving against 8 km (5 mi) of the ferocious Atlantic.
Why is there a castle on the Cliffs of Moher?
As if the scene isn’t stunning enough, O’Brien’s Tower, which surely has been built to withstand hurricanes, remains at attention. With Irish cliff seekers hugging the base of the castle like tower in an attempt to shelter form the relentless wind, the structure built in 1835 kindly cooperates.
Constructed by local landlord Cornelius O’Brien as a viewing point to draw visitors, the effort has clearly been a success. For a two euro admission price, the viewing platform at the top of the tower can be accessed.
Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre
Opened in 2007, the eco-friendly building set into the hillside uses geothermal heating and encourages extensive recycling. Entrance is included with the 6 euro Cliffs of Moher admission which is paid on entering the parking lot. The Centre has a cafeteria, gift shops and extensive displays on the formation and history of the cliffs.
Between the parking lot and the Visitor Centre are a series of shops in an area called the Outdoor Market. Across from the shops outdoor tables provide one of the world’s most glorious, albeit windiest, picnic locations.
Special Tips for Visiting the Irish Cliffs
The parking lot is across the road from the Visitor Centre. Due to it’s tucked in the hill location the Centre doesn’t exactly jump out at you. Follow the crowds, watch for signs and use designated cross walks.
Once you have crossed the road the first building you will see is the Meditation Room. Meant to be a place of calm for anyone requiring solitude the room has resources on suicide prevention.
Dress warmly. This does not mean a long sleeve shirt. Bring layers of clothing. Ensure you pack a rain jacket, a sturdy umbrella and scarves and hats that won’t fly off to the sea. As many layers as you brought to Ireland bring them to these Irish cliffs.
There are about 600 metres of fenced and paved path areas within the official Cliffs of Moher Visitor area. Unofficial paths without extend in each direction. Walk these at your own risk. Shield your eyes from the selfie searchers leaning perilously over sandy edges.
These Irish cliffs are home to the largest mainland seabird colony in Ireland with up to 30,000 breeding pairs. Nine species of sea birds nest at the Cliffs of Moher including puffins.
If you are a birdwatcher visit in April or May when they are nesting on the cliffs. In late September we did not see a single bird. They may have blown out to sea, or more likely we were there at the wrong time of the year.
The wire fences used to keep local cattle and sheep in their pastures and away from the cliffs are electric. The fences are off the official property of the Cliffs of Moher. I witnessed a tourist finding that out the hard way.
Take it from the experience of the cows and the tourist. Do not touch the electric fences.
In the visitor centre building there are restrooms on the main floor and upstairs. The line ups were significantly shorter on the second floor.
Would you like to visit the Cliffs of Moher? Have you seen any selfie shenanigans in your travels? You can look for more fabulous walks around the world here.