A magical landscape that seems to change from craggy cliff to soft folds of green in a heartbeat. A landscape dotted with picture-post card cottages, villages and towns where the secrets of Irish life are unlocked as the music begins. Here, as you take the winding road down to the coast, the magnificent waves of the Atlantic roll in, as old as time – crashing against the ancient cliffs that tell their own beautiful story through flower, bird and animal
This is the magic of the Wild Atlantic Way – and at its very heart, like a diamond in the finest of settings, sits County Clare
The Wild Atlantic Way stretches from Malin Head, county Donegal through to the Old Head of Kinsale in County Cork. There are several signature points along the way – and without a doubt some of the most naturally breathtaking and extraordinarily beautiful are in Clare.
You’ll find that in so many ways, the dramatic backbone of the Wild Atlantic Way are the incredible and ancient Cliffs of Moher – one of Ireland’s most-visited natural attractions, with over 1 million visitors each year. Situated in West Clare, close to Liscannor Village, the Cliffs stretch for 8km (5 miles) as the crow flies and reach 214m (702 feet) in height.
From the top of the Cliffs, on a clear day, you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara as well as the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry. It’s all rather magnificent – Ireland at its most natural, rugged, panoramic and breathtaking. Another unique feature of the Cliffs is that they offer a very multi-faceted experience – as interesting historically as they are from a geological and conservation point of view.
Birders are in for a treat as the Cliffs are home to a wealth of birdlife – offering a viewing of over 20 different species. The area is a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Birds under the EU Birds Directive and you may well see endangered species there – such as the chough – with significant numbers of kittiwake and fulmar.
Beautiful puffins are a hallmark of the Cliffs of Moher, and you’ll be able to catch them between May and June. You’ll see many beautiful wild flowers and grasses, many of them unique to the Cliffs countryside, while down in the waves below, you may be treated to the sight of a dolphin pod on a calm day.
The Cliffs of Moher are only a few minutes’ drive from Doolin and there is a large car park available at the Visitor Centre. If you prefer not to drive, you can also use the Cliffs of Moher shuttle bus service which serves Doolin regularly.
If you’d prefer to walk, you can take the Cliffs of Moher walking trail which starts in Doolin and brings you all the way to the Cliffs You can do it by yourself or with local guide Pat Sweeney. The guided walk starts every morning at 10am from O’Connor’s pub.
You can also enjoy one of the Cliffs of Moher cruises which leaves from Doolin Pier and offers a different perspective and more spectacular views