The Cliffs of Moher has been one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions for at least 200 years. O’Brien’s Tower was built as a viewing spot in 1835. And though the view from the cliffs doesn’t change, the thrill of visiting has yet to waiver. I’ve visited the Cliffs of Moher three times- and never has it been the same experience.
My first visit to the Cliffs of Moher was in 2002 on my first trip to Ireland. I traveled alone, driving myself on the “wrong side” of the road, armed with a map and a book of B&Bs. It was incredible. I traveled at my own pace, followed intriguing signs, danced to traditional music in pubs and stood at the edge of the world and looked over.
At that time changes were being made, and when we visited in 2005 with a 1-year-old Brenna you could no longer get so close to the edge. Which was quite a relief to this mom! In 2005 a temporary visitor’s center was in place as the new visitor’s center was under construction.
Big changes had been completed when we visited in 2008. The new visitor’s center, built into the landscape so as not to disrupt the beauty of the cliffs, was open. Paths were made smoother, viewing sites were added and tall limestone walls were installed for safety. There were even new signs- just in case you didn’t get the message.
The visitor center includes the Atlantic Edge exhibition, an interactive interpretive center, with incredible information about the cliffs as well as a great “yellow submarine” play area, a gift shop and two restaurants. The girls had a great time exploring while we adults marveled that people would lower themselves over the cliffs to catch birds. There is great history and information about the cliffs. It is well worth the cost of admission (€4 per adult when we visited). And be sure to pick up a Map Pack when you buy your tickets. It’s a great little packet of information about the cliffs and a wonderful souvenir.
Inside the Atlantic Edge is The Ledge- a virtual reality cliff face adventure. The first time I visited the Cliffs of Moher you could actually walk out on the sheer ledge. That area is now a protected area for cliff nesting sea birds. I have a bit of video from The Ledge. You may experience vertigo…
The Cliffs of Moher are quite safe for children as the edges are protected from us (and we from them) by stone walls that are waist high on an average adult. Much higher for a small child. Park rangers are also on hand now- to make sure rules are followed and to answer any questions you may have.
Paths are all paved and accessible to wheelchairs- if you have someone willing to push you up the hill. It is steep. But you can get a great view without climbing all the way up to O’Brien’s Tower. The viewing platforms are quite nice and have spyglasses for up close viewing of the rocks, flora and birds. On a nice day you can even spy the Aran Islands.
The Cliffs of Moher never disappoint and every visit is different than the one before. I understand that O’Brien’s Tower has been restored and you can now climb to the top – which means another trip to the Cliffs on our next Ireland adventure!
I would love to hear about your trip to the Cliffs of Moher! Did you climb O’Brien’s Tower?