Weekend Window: The Cliffs of Moher

Ireland's western coast boasts some of the world's most spectacular cliffs.

May 28, 2009, 5:27 PM

June 7, 2009— -- Irish harpist Tina Mulrooney is nearly as much a fixture at the Cliffs of Moher as the ocean breeze and the seabirds. For more than 20 years, she's entertained visitors at the cliffs with her traditional Irish ballads.

"'Danny Boy' is one of our most popular Irish ballads. I've had many a crying eye at 'Danny Boy' for sure," said Mulrooney."

"It's a fantastic atmosphere because you have the combination of this fantastic natural beauty alongside music," said Katherine Webster, director of the Cliffs of Moher visitor experience. "Where else in the world can you go to hear the Celtic harp played with a background such as this?"

The Cliffs of Moher stretch for five miles along the west coast of Ireland, between the towns of Liscannor and Doolin, reaching heights of over 700 feet at their tallest point.

"Along most of their length they are over 600 feet, so they are very impressive," said Webster. "We are currently Ireland's nominee for a vote to find the New 7 Wonders of the World, which is very exciting for us."

The cliffs were formed more than 300 million years ago and are primarily composed of three types of rock -- sandstone, siltstone, and shale.

"One of the things about the Cliffs of Moher is that it's very easy to get to see them," said Webster. "We have a road running past the cliffs close by. There are spectacular cliffs all over the world, but you have to be a pretty good hiker to get to see many of them."

Ireland's Most Popular Destination

The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland's most popular tourist destination, attracting nearly a million visitors each year. In 2007, the cliffs opened an impressive new visitor's center and state of the art interpretive center called the Atlantic Edge. The eco-friendly center was constructed into the contours of the land maintaining the natural feel of the area.

"The cliffs are a protected area so they are really very unspoiled. There's been very little development here. The area is still farmed the way it was many hundreds of years ago," said Webster.

"Much of the land is owned by private farmers," Webster added. "There are a number of them farming cattle and you can see the herds of cows. We like to say they are the most photographed cows in Ireland."

Their iconic rugged look has made the cliffs a popular location for filmmakers. Films such as "Ryan's Daughter" and "The Princess Bride" have filmed at the cliffs and most recently the latest Harry Potter film: "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" which opens in theaters this summer.

For more information on the Cliffs of Moher visit: www.cliffsofmoher.ie. And for more information on travel to Ireland visit: www.discoverireland.com.

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