Yearly visitors to Cliffs of Moher top the one million mark
From Clare to here
Visitor numbers at the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare increased by 12.5pc during 2014, topping the one million mark for the first time ever.
Figures released yesterday showed 1.08 million people have visited the scenic cliffs this year, 115,000 more than visited last year.
"New routes and increased access into Shannon Airport, the launch by Failte Ireland of the Wild Atlantic Way on which the Cliffs of Moher are a signature discovery point, the popularity of the 12-km Cliffs of Moher coastal walk, and the Cliffs of Moher's close links with Brian Boru during the millennial anniversary of his death have all contributed to the visitor number increase during 2014," said Katherine Webster, director of the Cliffs of Moher visitor experience.
"Strong performances from the core North American, UK, German and French markets have added to the growth seen in newer markets such as Australia, South Africa, China and South America," she added.
It's the fourth consecutive year in which visitor numbers have increased at the Cliffs.
The visitor centre - first opened by Clare County Council in 2007 - received €600,000 in investment this year to improve the coach parking facilities, provide new exhibition content, redesign the visitor centre's foyer and restore O'Brien's tower - a 19th century observation tower built by a descendant of Brian Boru.
"We added a new feature in 2014 which is a 'postcard from the edge' where people can shoot a video of themselves on a green screen background, pick their Cliffs of Moher background and then share it with friends or family...that's been very popular this year" Ms Webster told the Irish Independent.
She said she expects international interest in the Wild Atlantic Way tourism trail to boost visitor numbers in future, not only to the Cliffs of Moher but to the west of Ireland in general.
"We've seen huge interest from the media and film crew perspective in the Wild Atlantic Way, lots of film crews shooting features about it."
"I spent some time in November with Tourism Ireland on a sales mission to Australia and New Zealand and there was a huge interest in it in that market."
The Cliffs stretch for 8km (as the crow flies) along the west Clare coast and reach 702 feet at their peak, according to the Cliffs of Moher website.
The website says they take their name from the Irish word 'mothar' - which means "ruined fort".
In the first century BC a fort stood at the site but no trace of the fort now remains.