on September 30, 2008
This is one of Ireland’s prime natural attractions where the land plunges into the Atlantic Ocean in huge vertical cliffs. Today the area is rigidly controlled with a facilities charge being applied to all visitors. In return you receive entry into the impressive visitor centre building, access to the cliff edge paths and viewing platforms, unlimited parking and support from Cliffs of Moher Rangers. I’m told a contribution goes towards the conservation and visitor management of the cliffs.Do I think a visit here is worthwhile? Well yes, except if it is raining or blowing a gale. The cliffs are very high and are naturally exposed to the elements. When we visited there was sunshine and a sharp breeze. We probably looked at about half the area before we retreated to the visitor centre to get warm again.Inside the visitor centre there is the Long Dock restaurant, Puffin’s Nest cafe, a large shopping area, information booths, toilets and the Atlantic Edge Exhibition. The exhibition is not included in your admission ticket but the 4 Euro admission is probably worth it if you are interested in the story of the cliffs. The themed zones of ocean, rock, nature and man present the setting, geology, wildlife and human stories associated with the cliffs. Probably the most interesting part of the exhibition is The Ledge, a computer generated movie that allows you to stand on the very edge of the cliffs and follow the flight of a gannet souring by the cliffs and diving to the seabed. It is well done. You should allow about 20-30 minutes for a visit to the exhibition.The cliffs are home to Ireland’s largest mainland seabird nesting colonies and from the cliff top you can see a host of seabirds. Puffins can be seen in the mornings before they go out to sea fishing. Guillemots and razorbills are often seen as are fulmars which nest on ledges near the top of the cliffs. The viewing platform towards Hags Head is an excellent spot to view these birds.Peregrine falcons, the fastest creatures on the planet, can often be seen from all the main viewing area protecting their territory from crows and gulls. Dolphins and seals are commonly seen out to sea and you may even see a whale at some times of the year. The rangers on the cliff edge seem happy to point out wildlife and tell you more.The facilities charge is 8 Euros per car and 2 Euros for a motorbike. Opening times vary throughout the year. When we were there in late April, the hours were from 9am to 6.30pm. Outside the visitor centre there are various privately-run shops and craft outlets.
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