Ireland’s most popular natural site
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The birds circle beneath me, catching the currents of the air. Further below, at the bottom of the Cliffs of Moher, the currents of the water crash waves against the solid rocks.
These cliffs, rising 200 metres above the Atlantic Ocean on the western coast of Ireland, are filled with wildlife. More than twenty species of birds live – or stop on their migration – here. It’s estimated there are about 30,000 pairs during the nesting period, feeding on the natural buffet the wind and the waves bring in for them. In particular, the area is known for significant numbers of guillemot, razorbill, puffin, kittiwake and fulmar.
Over the years, the Cliffs of Moher have also attracted tourists. It’s now one of the most popular tourist sites in Ireland with about one million visitors a year. The pathway along the edge can take an hour or two to explore, with the view evolving as you change perspective. The cliffs appear to roll endlessly along the shore, each point a bit further away as the coastline undulates along.
The wind hits me in the face as I follow the path and I breathe in the cool crisp air. The sun is out today and the gusts are appreciated. The rays from above light up the ocean like glitter and the foliage on the edges glows a rich green.
For centuries, the cliffs have fascinated travellers. In 1897, French travel writer Marie-Anne de Bovet wrote, “The Cliffs of Moher surpass in savage beauty all other points of this marvellous side of Clare.”
Sixty years earlier, British writer Jonathan Binns put it this way: “The fearful and sublime effect produced by gazing from the edge of these perpendicular and rugged rocks (the highest in Europe, or perhaps in the world), baffles description.”
It’s true, that description can be difficult for something on this scale. It’s a sight that needs to be seen with your own eyes to appreciate the grand beauty of the cliffs and, at the same time, the intricate details of the animals and the plants.
It would be a highlight of any trip to Ireland – especially for nature lovers. In the meantime, I thought I would share some photos from my day there in the sun.