“Best International Self Drive Route”
The Wild Atlantic Way has rightly so claimed an award for the “Best International Self Drive Route” in Shanghai with approx 10 million Chinese tourists voting this route over other routes in the world. It is not surprising that Wild Atlantic Way getting recognised for its beauty, destinations along 1200km route and the tourism index insights above from visitors who have driven the route.
The Cliffs of Moher
The Burren is 250 square kilometre landscape described by our customers as otherworldly, alien, and out of this world. It’s fitting then, perhaps, that as this unearthly section of ecologically diverse land ends at the Co. Clare coast in a most dramatic fashion. The Cliffs of Moher drop suddenly and dramatically into the Atlantic from a height of around 200 metres and, in the 1987 fantasy movie The Princess Bride, they became the infamous “Cliffs of Insanity”.
What to expect
An old fort called Moher, which was standing in 1780 but demolished in 1808, was once built on Hag’s Head and gave the Cliffs their name. Since 2011, the Cliffs have formed part of the Burren and Cliff of Moher Geopark, part of a collection of geo-tourism destinations throughout Europe that are members of the European Geoparks Network. The visitor centre, opened relatively recently in 2007, was designed and built to follow a low-environmental-impact philosophy in line with Clare County Council’s initiative to enable visitors to experience the Cliffs without significantly intrusive guest facilities.
Planned and built over 17 years, at a cost of €32 million, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is embedded into the side of a nearby hill, its appearance barely troubling the local vista, and runs entirely on renewable energy systems, such as solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling. Among its exhibits are interactive displays of the local history, geology, flora and fauna, as well as large multimedia displays of a bird’s-eye view of the cliffs and video from the underwater caves below.
You may notice that little has been written here to try and describe the Cliffs. That’s simply because they almost defy description. When asked, our customers almost always fail to articulate how they felt in the presence of the Cliffs of Moher. A progression of vast headlands, immense and immeasurably tall tracks of dark limestone marching in a rigid formation that astonishes, no matter how many times it’s observed. Add to this, a clear day will display the Aran Islands stand etched permanently into the waters of Galway Bay, with the hills of Connemara lying beyond.
The best way to experience the Cliffs
However, our customers report that walking for ten minutes, south past the end of the “Moher Wall”, a trail runs along the Cliffs all the way to Hag’s Head, about 5.5 kilometres, is seldom travelled, and possesses amazing uninterrupted views. It’s possible to continue to Liscannor from here, a total distance of 12 kilometres and taking about 3.5 hours. Also recommended is a walk to the north, where the Doolin Trail past O’Brien’s Tower heads to the village of Doolin, after about seven kilometres and 2.5 hours. The entire length of the Cliffs, from Liscannor to Doolin, is a signposted path, but there are still a lot of ups and downs and narrow, cliff-edge stretches.
Another unforgettable way to see the Cliffs of Moher, according to our customers, is from the sea, looking up. Boat operators in Doolin offer touring cruises, or there’s the option of taking a ferry to the Aran Islands and seeing them that way. Whichever is chosen, our customers say that timing a journey on the water so that the Cliffs pass just as the setting sun’s rays hit the rocks, gives the most magical view of the imposing landmark.
Where to stay?
Our customers report that there are several decent options when it comes to accommodation around the Cliffs of Moher. In Doolin, Aran View Country House and Tir gan Ean House are good choices, with nearby Lahinch offering the Atlantic Hotel and Vaughn Lodge. Moher Lodge, in Liscannor, has been described as the best B&B in the area.
Where to eat?
Doolin seems to get the nod for being home to all the best places to eat near the Cliffs. The Stonecutters Kitchen, McGann’s, and McDermott’s pub all offer Irish dishes, soups and pub fare, while O’Connor’s Pub has a more European menu, with Cullinan’s specialising in seafood.
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