Hello and welcome to My Christmas day virtual walk.
I guess that for most people who come to visit Ireland, top of the bucket list must be a trip to one of the most memorable sights – The Cliffs of Moher, located in County Clare. A few weeks ago I took the advantage of a fine day to visit The Cliffs so, come along with me for a walk to visit this most beautiful, amazing and iconic place .
The Cliffs of Moher – or simply “ The Cliffs “ as referred to by the locals are located about an hour’s drive north of Shannon Airport . As we head up there, we pass through several lovely towns including Ennistymon, Lahinch and Liscannor before arriving at the well marked car park.
The day is bright with amazing blue skies, but you had better bring a sweater as I can promise you there will be a chill coming in from the Atlantic.
Let’s head across the road and stop for a “photo op” at yet another of the 188 Wild Atlantic way signposts. As I have mentioned before the Wild Atlantic Way is a costal drive that covers some 2,500 Kms of Irelands western seaboard and is one of the most amazing drives in the whole world !
Passing through the entrance lets head out to take a look at the cliffs . As we walk along let me tell you a little about this place.
The Cliffs run for about 14 kilometres – about 9 miles . At their southern end, they rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean and 8 kilometres (5 miles) to the north, they reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of where we stand today . The cliffs consist mainly of beds of shale and sandstone with the oldest rocks being found at the bottom of the cliffs. During the time of their formation between 313 and 326 million years ago, a river dumped sand, silt and clay into an ancient marine basin. Over millions of years, the sediments collecting at the mouth of this ancient delta were compacted and lithified into the sedimentary strata preserved in the now-exposed cliffs.
The area is a European special protected area as there are an estimated 30,000 pairs of birds living on the cliffs, representing more than 20 species. These include Puffins, Guillemots , razorbills, falcons and fulmars to name but a few .
Righto, enough of the facts we came here for the amazing views. Take a look to the north – we can see all three of the Aran Islands in the distance and beyond that Galway Bay and the mountains of Connemara . To the west is the Atlantic Ocean – next stop America !
I have been here many, many times and every time the views leave me breathless. !
Let’s hike on toward O’Brien’s Tower . Now , this is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs, built in 1835 built by Sir Cornelius O’Brien as a viewing point for tourists . If we had more time we could queue up to climb the spiral staircase leading to the top and share the same view that the 19th Century visitors marvelled !
Now, lets walk in the other direction to take a view at the sea stack and more of the ocean. Can you see that the trail is really well marked and there are slabs of the unique liscannor limestone everywhere that act as barriers and steps as we go along. And how lovely, there is an elderly gentleman playing traditional music on his accordion. Lets stop for a moment and enjoy the sweet melodies !
I will bet that you have worked up quite an appetite with all the sea air and walking so, lets head to the visitor centre. This in itself is an amazing building – it’s built quite literally into the hillside so that the amazing landscape is preserved. Once inside there is an incredible audio-visual experience plus a great craft shop and café. So, lets stop for a well deserved cup of tea and a freshly baked scone.
I hope that you enjoyed coming along with me today and until next time, have a lovely Christmas day and please stay safe and well.