On our most recent trip to Ireland, one of the places we visited, though ranked high on the very touristy list were the Cliffs of Moher. They were supposed to be Ireland’s number 2 attraction. It doesn’t help that a lot of movies were filmed around the area, such as, The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Being a fan of those two movies, I have to come see this attraction, touristy or not.
The night before our scheduled trip to the Cliffs, we hung out at our hotel’s bar with hubby having his regular Guinness run, and I was just there to keep him company. Not that he needed it. My husband can talk to anyone anytime anywhere much unlike me.
While having a conversation with the hotel bartender, we asked him for suggestions on what to do or where to go. We told him that we wanted to see the Cliffs and if there is anything we should check out before or after going there. Much to our surprise, he said something like, “It’s not that spectacular, they’re just cliffs! You should check out Connemara or the Aran Islands instead.” I was flabbergasted he would say that to one of his country’s most popular attractions which was almost akin to one describing the Grand Canyon as a mere crack in the earth.
Then came another stranger who stopped by to talk to us. He was this nice older gentleman whose thick Irish accent I loved dearly. So like we always do on our trips, we always ask locals for suggestions. Lo and behold, he said no to the Cliffs and suggested the Aran Islands too like the bartender before him. We learned he was born and raised in those islands and in about 15 mins, we had a haphazardly drawn map of where to go and what to do when we get there. We learned about his family and what he did. Ah, those friendly Irish people!
Now if we had more time, we would probably head out to the Aran Islands too because I’ve read about them in my research. So, off to the Cliffs we go against locals’ advice. I was thinking the same of us when people ask us about Disney World, it was just ho-hum, just another theme park in Orlando. I guess when you’re local, you take for granted the popular attractions.
The Cliffs of Moher are not just your ordinary cliffs. They are 320 million years old and spans 8 miles along the western coast of Ireland. The highest point is 702 feet near O’Brien’s Tower and has more than 20 species of birds living and nesting on its steep rocky face.
There is a visitor center which was built into a hillside near the cliffs and the vicinity around it have walkways, viewing areas and importantly, walls protecting visitors from accidents. But you can walk around the walls if you wish to get closer to the edge.
There are numerous tours going to the Cliffs. Timing your visit would be a challenge as there are always tour buses around. But if you can learn to just go with the flow and find a not so busy spot for your photos then you are good to go. The weather can also be tricky. I’ve heard and read that some days it can be so foggy that you won’t be able to see anything. They close on those days. And rightfully so. Or it can be so windy or rainy. Either of those conditions don’t make for great pictures or for safe walking along the cliffs. On the day we went there, we were nothing but blessed to have a beautiful day…no rain, no wind and no fog!
As you can see, hubby definitely doesn’t have a fear of heights. I thought I didn’t too until I walked the trails and felt the dizzyingly pull of gravity. Ack! I wanted to take a shot of me sitting on the edge legs dangling but no, I was too chicken. The hubby did it for me instead.
The cliffs as magnificent as they are can also be very dangerous, obviously, and a few people have lost their lives either by accident or intentionally. Hence, the walls of the visitor center and the numerous warning signs.
Of course, a visit to an Irish attraction would not be complete without seeing animals. We spent about two hours there majority of our time taking photos. I would have wanted to hike the trails but we were both starving and didn’t bring anything substantial to eat so off we go in search of Chinese food. Did I tell you I was having rice withdrawals in Ireland?
So, do you think they’re just cliffs? Or that they’re just amazingly spectacular cliffs?