Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head, and, eight kilometres to the north, reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower, which is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs that was built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O'Brien. From the cliffs, and from atop the tower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south. The cliffs rank amongst the most visited tourist sites in Ireland and receive approximately one million visitors a year. The closest settlements are Liscannor (6 km south) and Doolin (7 km north).
The cliffs take their name from an old promontory fort called Mothar or Moher, which once stood on Hag's Head, the southernmost point of the cliffs, now the site of Moher Tower. The writer Thomas Johnson Westropp referred to it in 1905 as Moher Uí Ruis or Moher Uí Ruidhin. The fort still stood in 1780 and is mentioned in an account from John Lloyd's A Short Tour Of Clare (1780). It was demolished in 1808 to provide material for a lookout/telegraph tower that was intended to provide warning in case of a French invasion during the Napoleonic wars.
The cliffs are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and topped the list of attractions in 2006 by drawing almost one million visitors. Since 2011, they have formed a part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, one of a family of geotourism destinations throughout Europe that are members of the European Geoparks Network.
In the 1990s, Clare County Council initiated development plans to enable visitors to experience the cliffs without significant intrusive man-made amenities. In keeping with this approach, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience was built into a hillside approaching the cliffs. The centre is also intended to be environmentally sensitive in its use of renewable energy systems including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, and grey water recycling.
The €32 million facility was planned and built over a 17-year period and officially opened in February 2007. Facility exhibits include interactive media displays covering the geology, history, flora and fauna of the cliffs. A large multimedia screen displays a bird's-eye view from the cliffs, as well as video from the underwater caves below the cliffs.
The visitor's centre charges €6 per adult, with children under 16 admitted free. This covers parking, access to the visitor centre and Atlantic Edge exhibition, and a contribution towards conservation and safety at the cliffs.
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