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The Cliffs of Moher (Irish: Aillte an Mhothair, lit. cliffs of the ruin, also known as the Cliffs of Coher from the Irish: Mhothair) are located in the parish of Liscannor at the south-western edge of The Burren area near Doolin, which is located in County Clare, Ireland.
The cliffs rise 120 meters (394 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 meters (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower, eight kilometres away. The cliffs boast one of Ireland's most spectacular views. On a clear day the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay, as are the valleys and hills of Connemara.
O'Brien's Tower is a round stone tower at the approximate midpoint of the cliffs. It was built by Sir Cornelius O'Brien, a descendant of Ireland's High King Brian Boru, in 1835, as an observation tower for the hundreds of tourists that frequented the cliffs even at that date. From atop that watchtower, one can view the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, the Maum Turk Mountains and the Twelve Pins to the north in Connemara, and Loop Head to the south.
Moher tower, located at Hag's Head, is a square stone ruin. It appears to be the remains of a watchtower placed during Napoleon's reign in Europe.
The cliffs consist mainly of beds of Namurian shale and sandstone, with the oldest rocks being found at the bottom of the cliffs. One can see 300 million year old river channels cutting through the base of the cliffs.
There are many animals living on the cliffs, most of them birds: 30,000 birds of 29 species. The most interesting are the famous 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 Of Moher are amongst the most impressive places to see in Ireland, and are widely considered to be Ireland's top tourist attraction, drawing almost one million visitors in 2006.
The site has been developed by Clare County Council and Shannon Heritage to allow visitors to experience the spectacular natural impression of the Cliffs, without the distraction of overly-imposing man-made amenities or features.
In keeping with this carefully-balanced approach, the "Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience" is built into a hillside approaching the Cliffs, blending naturally with the surrounding countryside. The centre is also environmentally sensitive in its use of renewable energy systems including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, and greywater recycling. Officially opened in February 2007 having been meticulously planned and built over a 17 year period, the €32m facility features an informative array of interactive media, exploring topics such as the origin of the Cliffs in local and global geological contexts, the bird and fish life in the area, and many more.
An IMAX-type multimedia show allows visitors to experience a bird's eye view from the cliffs, as well as seeing the inside of underwater caves at the foot of the cliffs.
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