The Cliffs of Moher

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Dublin is beautiful.  Lush, green and pastoral.  I truly enjoyed driving around the coast and wish I had more time to explore the South and the interior.  The history is amazing, the people are kind and the scenery incredible.  One of my favorite places was the Cliffs Of Moher.  It was spectacular.

Unfortunately, with my bad knee, which turns out to be a torn meniscus (surgery pending), I was a little restricted.  Camille took the 6 mile hike from the Atlantic View B&B to the visitor center.  I took the ferry to Inis Oirr to explore the tiny island of 200 residents and took another ferry ride along the coast.  We both had very different experiences and enjoyed them both.

Inis Oirr is the smallest of the Aran Islands.  There are 200 year round inhabitants on this tiny island.  Before I took the trip I checked out the Inishirr website:  Plassey shipwreck, Cnoc Raithní, church and castle ruins, a seaweed spa, lighthouse and beach are a few of the things that you can see there.  Cnoc Raithní is a burial site which was dated to 1500 BC.  Take cash!!  There are no working atm on the island and if you want to take a horse cab around the island, which I did since I couldn’t walk far, you need the money from the mainland.  There are some places to eat and a local grocery shop.  Check out the Aran Island knits.  It is a World Heritage sight.  The sweaters are beautiful and not outrageously prices.  Allen is the owner of a a blue pullover (it matches his eyes).

I really enjoyed the ferry ride since it was quiet except for a 10-15 minute history of the cliffs.  I prefer a “tour” where there is not a lot of dialogue.  I find guides that give too much information difficult.  I like highlights with time to appreciate the site, event, or artifact.  This tour gave me that.   I focused on the landscapes and taking some pictures and looking for a puffin.  I swear I saw one but I think it’s just a figment of my imagination.  My sighting went up in a puff of smoke…

The Cliff of Moher defined Ireland for me,  The area and its history were nothing short of amazing.  I loved the pastures and the small town of Doolin. It was peaceful and we woke to the sounds of cows lowing in the fields across the street.  The drive between Doolin and Liscannor was scary.  It is a one lane road that has two way traffic.  Luckily, you can see quite a ways ahead so that you can avoid a head on collision.

There are 2 restaurants in Doolin and we stopped in at Anthony’s and were told that they were not serving because they were short staffed. The person at the front desk suggested several restaurants down the road.  We pulled up to a pizza place with a great back patio and live music.  We spent the evening at a pub listening to traditional Celtic music.  I loved the Doolin banjos (Ha!).  We ended up having dinner with a lovely couple from Hershey, PA.  They joined us at a picnic table to wait for their dinner table and we began chatting.  Imagine finding Philadelphians in Doolin.  They service was a bit slow since there were unstaffed and extremely busy.  The pizza was excellent and the cider/beer cold.  A good time was had by all!


History of The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher

Standing 702 feet at their highest point, on a clear day visitors may be lucky enough to see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay to the west as well as the Dingle Peninsula and the Blasket Islands in Kerry. The Cliffs of Moher translated means ‘the cliffs of the ruined fort’ and although there is no trace remaining of this two thousand year old Mothar fort, Moher Tower stands in its place today.

It is believed the cliffs are over 320 million years old, dating back to when Ireland’s ancient rivers laid down sediments on the seabed to form the rocks of the Cliffs of Moher – sandstone, siltstone and shale. It’s only in more recent times that their unique beauty has been so widely appreciated.

The Cliffs are part of an area that are called The Burren. The area is significant because of a rare landform called karst which is where the rock has been exposed has been chemically dissolved by rainwater. The Burren is the largest karst in Europe consisting of 44, 489 acres. The area is also home to an profusin that make up a unique combination of plants from different habitats and climatic zones in the world that co-mingling. There are 4,000 archaeological monuments in The Burren. 30 of Ireland’s 32 butterfly species. 70 of Ireland’s 72 land snail species. 700 of Ireland’s 1,000 wild flowers. and 75 of the Ireland’s 512 Stone Age wedge tombs reside in the area. There are approximately 30,000 birds which consist 20 species that live on the cliffs, One of the most popular is the Atlantic puffin which has its own tour between May and June.


Interesting facts about the Cliffs of Moher

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