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 reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower, eight kilometres to the north. The cliffs receive almost one million visitors a year.
O'Brien's Tower is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O'Brien to impress female visitors. From the cliffs and from atop the watchtower, 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.
Geology and wildlife:
The cliffs consist mainly of beds of Namurian shale and sandstone, with the oldest rocks being found at the bottom of the cliffs. It is possible to see 300 million year-old river channels cutting through, forming unconformities at the base of the cliffs.
There are an estimated 30,000 birds living on the cliffs, representing more than 20 species. These include Atlantic Puffins, which live in large colonies at isolated parts of the cliffs and on the small Goat Island. Also present are hawks, gulls, guillemots, shags, ravens and choughs.
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 which are members of the European Geoparks Network.
The site has been developed by Clare County Council to allow visitors to experience the cliffs without the distraction of intrusive man-made amenities. In keeping with this approach, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is 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.