Posted in Posts and podcasts

The Coast of Clare – 1897

The Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare Photo: Michal Osmenda Wikimedia Commons
The Cliffs of Moher,
Co Clare
Photo: Michal Osmenda
Wikimedia Commons



Fancy being brought face to face with the great ocean representing on the map an expanse of water between the Irish and the American shores of no less than five thousand miles.  No intervening territory meets the eye the whole length of this prodigious waterway, no strip of land, no cliffs, not even a bare rock on which a sea bird might perch.  As a Clare boatman once said to a party of tourists;

“Just throw a stone from where you are now and it will fall into another world, barring it didn’t sink in the water.”


The surpassing grandeur of the great Atlantic ‘in breeze, or gale, or storm’ is in itself something to gaze upon.  There behold the mighty sea, almost along the entire shore, rolled back ‘from dusk till dawn, and from dawn till dusk again,’ in masses of foam against huge frowning, raven-coloured rocks.  The din of the conflict scarcely ever ceases, while day and night those sable cliffs valiantly repulse their fierce assailants.  


The cliffs of Moher, lining the coast of Clare for five miles, are in themselves a simple marvel. Moher, an iron-bound barrier, erected by Nature to repel the lashing fury of the ocean, is pronounced on all bands to be the finest pile of rock that guards the margin of our sea girt land. Try and imagine a serried array of boulders rising abruptly at low water mark to an altitude ranging from 600 to, it is said, 1,000 feet, and this is Moher.


These towers of the sea are not so tall as others in Ireland – for instance, in Crohahawn in Achill, or Slieveneague in Donegal.  It is to be remembered, however, that the precipitous cliffs on the Mayo coast repose in their sockets at an angle of about 45 degrees; but the Clare Peaks, sheer perpendicular elevations, stand rooted and immovable against the rage of the tempest, and are more than proof against almost perpetual winds from the west.


 Corcomroe Abbey The Burren, Co Clare Photo: Shaun Dunphy Creative Commons

Corcomroe Abbey
The Burren, Co Clare
Photo: Shaun Dunphy
Creative Commons

Some notion may be formed of the violence of western hurricanes on the coast of Clare by the fact that trees planted inwards fifty miles from the Cliffs of Moher acquire a bend towards the eastern horizon.  The power of the blasts off sea is enhanced by the indented character of the shore in this portion of Ireland.


Huge recesses of the Atlantic are frequent, and add immensely to the fascinations of the Clare Coast.  From Liscanor (sic) to Doonbeg the ocean forms a spacious bay at Corcomroe and other charming inlets of smaller size.  The fresh invigoration breezes, surcharged with ozone, that play around on all sides of the coast of Clare acknowledges no compeer anywhere.



B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

One thought on “The Coast of Clare – 1897

  1. The Cliffs of Moher, the most majestic places I’ve ever been in the world. I stayed in Doolin, and have pictures of all of my family at the Cliffs. I’ve written about the Cliffs on many occasions and it is a setting in a scene of my first novel. Please write about The Burren some time. The rocky coast, the ravines and the crevasses. How do you navigate from Doolin to Craggah trekking the coast? I love your blog!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s