| 6.4°C Dublin

Ireland's Top 10 visitor attractions for 2020 have been named

Winner: Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare

Close

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Ireland’s Favourite Visitor Attraction: Cliffs of Moher. Sinead Ryan, Barry Kenny (Irish Rail),  Geraldine Enright and Pól Ó Conghaile at The Irish Independent Travel Awards 2020 Photograph: Fran Veale

Ireland’s Favourite Visitor Attraction: Cliffs of Moher. Sinead Ryan, Barry Kenny (Irish Rail), Geraldine Enright and Pól Ó Conghaile at The Irish Independent Travel Awards 2020 Photograph: Fran Veale

Photograph: ©Fran Veale

/

Cliffs of Moher

Spring, summer, autumn or winter, the place named Ireland's Favourite Visitor Attraction in our Reader Travel Awards 2020 never fails to impress.

"I've been multiple times - rain, sun and wind - and every time they deliver," readers said. "They exhilarate, leave you awestruck and with the distinct reminder of how small we are in this vast world."

"Majestic" and "mesmerising" were words used to celebrate not just the 700-foot views, but the geology: rocks that form the Cliffs of Moher were made some 300 million years ago. Here is a "breathtaking" natural wonder, you said, "the highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way" and a dose of "pure, unspoilt rugged beauty".

Attracting some 1.6 million visitors a year, this is no hidden gem. Last summer, Irish Independent readers voted them one of Ireland's Seven Wonders. Others go even further. "I did the Great Ocean Road in Oz and thought the Cliffs of Moher were more spectacular," you said.

FINALISTS: Top 10 Visitor Attractions for 2020

  1. Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare
  2. Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
  3. Glendalough, Co Wicklow
  4. Giant's Causeway, Co Antrim
  5. Dublin Zoo, Dublin
  6. Tayto Park, Co Meath
  7. Newgrange, Co Meath
  8. Bunratty Castle, Co Clare
  9. Slieve League, Co Donegal
  10. Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin

While crowds and day-trips can be a challenge, others highlighted the "great set-up", accessibility and management of its "non-invasive" visitor centre.

Did you know there's a coastal path connecting Doolin and Liscannor in Co Clare? Pól Ó Conghaile takes the mother of all Irish cliff walks...

Judges noted that efforts are ongoing to adapt and evolve sustainably - dynamic pricing is designed to spread visitor flow over the day, a summer shuttle service aims to reduce traffic and spread business over the surrounding towns and, last year, O'Brien's Tower re-opened following a restoration. A cliff walk from Doolin is another brilliant development... not least with local farmer Pat Sweeney as a guide.

"I don't care how touristy they have become, they are still very impressive," one reader said.

Others cited an emotional connection ("they make me feel like I am home"), or the "magical, mystical, moon-like karst" that has served as a location for movies including The Princess Bride and Harry Potter, or the power of nature in bringing "visitors of all nations" together - "hearing people in all languages and none, feeling and reflecting wonderment".

"You feel like you are at the edge of the world."

Contact (065) 708-6141; cliffsofmoher.ie

NB: The Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards 2020 are sponsored by Iarnród Eireann. Read the full list of winners here and share on social using the hashtag #indotravelawards.

Irish Independent