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.