The Cliffs of Moher

I got out for a walk on Sunday along a stretch of coastline that is known for the cliffs halfway along it. The visitor’s centre at the Cliffs of Moher attracts 1.4 million visitors each year and is one of the most visited sites in Ireland. The use of the cliffs in Harry Potter movies and as the backdrop to a load of music videos mean that they’re only going to get more popular.

I parked just outside another tourist honeypot, the village of Doolin at the northern end of the cliffs. From there, my plan was to follow the coastal path, past the visitors’ centre close to the midway point, and on to Liscannor about 13km away. There, I could pick up a bus back to the start.

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From Doolin, the cliffs rise steadily from sea-level to their peak at 214m. At this distance from the coach park, you have the path to yourself and one of the best possible views of the Aran Islands from the mainland – you can even see the wreck of the MV Plassy on the beach across the sound on Insiheer.

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As the miles tick by, the number of selfie-takers begins to increase.

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Further on and a few hundred meters away from the coffee shop. By now, there are more and more tourists inching backwards towards the 600 foot drop, phone held at arm’s length above them.
Along this section of the cliffs, a path and wall have been created at a safe distance from the edge. On the seaward side of the wall, there’s the another path worn by people looking for the best view of the sheer drop.
I visited a couple of weeks back and saw a guy slip and slide a few feet down the wet grass at the top of the cliff and I was sure he was about to fall to his death. Somehow he stopped the slide just in time and scrambled back up to safety.

I’m not sure he got the profile picture he’d been looking for.

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Around the visitors’ centre things are crazy busy and although the views are incredible, I don’t find it a pleasant place to hang around.

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I had a bus to catch but the Cliffs of Moher on a sunny day isn’t the place to be in a rush.

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But beyond five minutes’ walk of the souvenir shop, the crowd thins out and the majesty of the huge cliffs becomes ever more apparent.

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Just short of Hag’s Head and the end of the walk is a last opportunity to look north and admire both the scenery and the route just taken. Seven Euro buys a day ticket for the bus service that travels between Doolin, the visitors’ centre and Liscannor.

Back at the start and Doonagore Castle, a private residence, sits above the village of Doolin with the Aran Islands just off the coast in the background.

This walk was another chance to try and record my exploration of the part of Ireland that we moved to earlier in the year. It feels like travel photography, but I’m not sure it can be if its only 30 miles from home.
I’m also having to learn how to photograph land(sea)scapes and it turns out that it’s not as easy as just selecting your smallest aperture and pointing the camera at a pretty view.

It’s an incredibly scenic walk and one that I think I’ll repeat from time to time, but I might wait for a decent day in February.

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