The Cliffs of Moher in all their glory.

The Cliffs of Moher are magnificent and a UNESCO heritage site.

They are iconic and epitomise the wildness and beauty of Ireland that attracts folks from all across the world. It’s their contrast rather than the height that is so visually compelling. Standing at about 700st tall, it’s not much when you consider the highest mountain in the world is almost 30,000 ft. But nothing compares to this imposing sheer slab of rock that rises out of the wild atlantic ocean with little between it and the United states except 3,000 miles of uninterrupted ocean. It has provided inspiration for many iconic films over the years, most notable Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. That enormous body of water brings with it enormous swells of epic proportions especially in winter when storms in the gulf of mexico culminate in “the perfect wave” at the cliffs of moher. Pro surfers, both Irish and international enjoy the thrill and the exhilaration only they know from riding these giants like gladiators at great risk, it requires enormous skill and bravery and is best observed from the grassy cliff tops above for us mere mortals.

The cliffs are some 14kms in length with the visitor center more of less in the middle. There are two castles with different histories here. The most famous, O Brien’s Tower looks across to Hags Head Napoleonic tower some 6 kms away. One castle built for fun or folly, the other built for war. What an extraordinary feat of engineering that these castles built in the early to mid 1800’s have survived in this most inhospitable of environments and whilst certainly battered and diminished, they still stand bravely erect atop of the cliffs of moher and somehow serve only to enhance the brilliant and powerful history of this extraordinary site. The Napoleonic tower, once home to english soldiers is now home to ravens but stands as a constant reminder of a darker period of our history.

The cliffs of moher hold the privilege of UNESCO world heritage site giving improved conservation status to all creatures great and small that make their homes here. Despite the fact that this is Ireland’s most visited natural site and is swarming with tourists, there are still tracks to explore away from the crowds if you have a sense of adventure and wonder. While in Summer, this can be a place of sunshine and flowers, in winter it can be like trekking through the north pole such is the severity of the wind. It is a volatile, unpredictable imposing site that fills us constantly with wonder and awe.