Ireland's Cliffs of Moher and The Burren

Ireland's Cliffs of Moher on the west coast are one of the most outstanding coastal features of Ireland. Located in County Clare and bordering the Burren Area, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Standing 700 feet above the Atlantic at their highest point and 5 miles long, the cliffs are one of the most amazing views in Ireland.

The cliffs rise from Doolin and are located just three miles south of the village of Doolin. Nearly vertical, the sheer drop into the Atlantic Ocean is a haven for sea birds. The view is magnificent and you can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay. To the north in Connemara you have a view of The Twelve Pins; to the south is Hag's Head and the Maum Turk Mountains. The cliffs reach their highest point just north of O'Brien's Tower. Built by Cornelius O'Brien, it was erected to impress female visitors.

Nevertheless, a walk along the cliffs is not to be missed. You have to be very cautious as there are no safety barriers. Those with a head for heights can easily walk to the edge of the cliff to view the Atlantic Ocean below. There is also a catamaran cruise available for a view from the ocean. The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most visited attractions and, once you've been there, you'll know why.

The Irish word for Burren is Bhoireann, "a stony place". The typical Burren landscape is sculpted into limestone pavements. They are eroded in a form known as farren, crisscrossed by vertical cracks called grykes. Rain falling on The Burren pavements pours right through, with the acid rain dissolving the limestone and creating caves and potholes. Potholers or speleologists flock to The Burren to explore the caves, which can be extremely dangerous for inexperienced explorers. The biggest cave open to the public is Aillwee Cave outside Ballyvaughan.

The Burren limestones were laid down at the end of the Lower Carboniferous period. For millions of years, sand and mud were washed onto them and the sediment formed shale and flagstones. The best view of this is at the Cliffs of Moher, which is not technically part of the Burren, but close enough to be included. It can be bitterly cold because of the wind off the Atlantic, so dressing warmly is a must. At the visitor center you can warm up with the soup and brown bread which they serve visitors.

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