The Cliffs of Moher: Must-Know Facts About an Incredible Irish Landmark

The beautiful Cliffs of Moher are one of the top 10 most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and one of the best places to observe the natural majesty of the Emerald Isle.  They are a series of sea cliffs that stretch for more than seven miles along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean in County Clare.

Irish Expressions - Cliffs of Moher.  Photocredit:  Theo Crazzolara via Flickr.

To get to the Cliffs, expect a 90-minute car journey from the city of Galway. Whether you're arriving from the north or the south, the cliffs will be just off the R478.  There is a regular bus route from Galway, as well as private guided tours from Limerick, Galway and even Dublin.

Irish Expressions - Cliffs of Moher with Clouds.  Photocredit: Wild Sky Photography.

Fascinating Facts About the Cliffs of Moher 

Here are some fun facts about the Cliffs of Moher.  Hopefully they will entice you to visit the Cliffs in person!  But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited spots in Ireland.

  1. The Cliffs of Moher are considered by some to be the gateway to Ireland's world-famous Wild Atlantic Way - a 2500km driving route on the west coast of Ireland
  2. These famous Cliffs are a natural wonder, made of sandstone and shale. Experts estimate that they were formed over 320 million years ago. 
  3. The foot of the cliffs are made of the oldest rocks, and the natural materials get younger as you work your way up the face to the cliff edge. That progression accounts for the varied colors at each layer of rock and sediment.  It also accounts for the isolated 'sea stacks' that have formed as a result of thousands of years of coastal erosion.
  4. The highest point at the Cliffs, with a maximum height of approximately 702 feet above sea level, is O'Brien's Observation Tower, which was built in the middle of the 19th century. Even then, it was a popular viewing point for Victorian tourists.
  5. On a clear day you can see out to the Aran Islands, one of the Cliffs' more spectacular views.
  6. The Cliffs are a key breeding site for seafaring birds and are one of the top bird-watching spots in Ireland. Along the cliffs there are 29 bird species, and more than 30,000 individual birds call the area their home.
  7. Many visitors come specifically to see the adorable puffins that appear around March of each year. There's an Annual Seabird Festival during peak season in the Spring that is a fantastic way to see some of the Atlantic puffins up close along with experts and enthusiasts from Birdwatch Ireland.
  8. The cliffs were featured in the 1987 movie The Princess Bride, where they were known as the Cliffs of Insanity.
  9. They also appeared in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry and Dumbledore entered a cave to search for a horcrux.
  10. Legend has it that a sea witch called Mal of Malbay fell in love, chased her beau across Ireland and then met her demise at the cliffs. 
  11. Don't miss Hag's Head at the southern end of the Cliffs. At this point, there's an unusual rock formation that looks like a woman's head looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.
  12. At Hag's Head is Moher Tower, a tower that stands in ruin but still serves as a place of refuge for visitors who get caught in unexpectedly strong winds on the cliffs.
  13. Don't miss the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, where you can get a true bird's eye experience from the cliffs on the big screen and an overview of the history of the Cliffs of Moher
  14. While the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre has a small cafe, save your appetite for a meal after the Cliffs at the nearby Stonecutter's Kitchen. Housed in a traditional stone cottage that is more than a century old, this is a popular spot for authentic, home-cooked Irish meals.
  15. There is a nominal fee for the parking lot at the cliffs, but the Cliffs of Moher themselves are open to the public, and there is no entry charge for any visitors

For more information on the Cliffs, you can visit the official website here.

I Enjoyed That!  Where Can I Learn More?

Great question! As you can see, exploring Ireland's amazing landmarks (either in person or online) is a fun way to enjoy an Irish experience and express your personal Irish side!

For more information of this kind, check out our section on Ireland sightseeing here!

Irish Expressions - Cliffs of Moher in late afternoon.