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Teach Through Educational Travel: The Cliffs of Moher

Teach Through Educational Travel - Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher are an extraordinary natural formation of sheer cliffs dropping down into the Atlantic Ocean – and Ireland’s most visited attraction. The Cliffs are located on the west coast of County Clare; the nearest town is Doolin. The Cliffs rise up 214 meters, at their highest point, and run about 8 km along the coast. The Cliffs are populated by Ireland’s largest seabird nesting colony (over 30,000 pairs), and is also a UNESCO Geo Park. If you take a boat trip to see the Cliffs from the sea, you’ll definitely see evidence of birds! From land on a clear day, you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains, and Loop Head. The Cliffs of Moher were so named more recently than you’d imagine. The name comes from the ruined fort Mothar, which was torn down during the Napoleonic wars (in 1808) to create space and provide materials for a military signal tower.

O’Brien’s Tower (built in 1835) is located near the apex of the Cliffs of Moher. It’s not really an old, decrepit, well-worn battle-used castle, as you may think. It was built in 1835 as an observation platform to better see the Cliffs, by Cornelius O’Brien.

Teach Through Educational Travel

Download a larger image and share the photo with your class, then try these discussion questions and classroom activities:

  • The Cliffs of Moher boast an incredible visitor centre. At the visitor centre, there’s an exhibit called Atlantic Edge. This exhibit covers Ocean, Rock, Nature, and Man. Read this article on how the Cliffs were formed, and what they are composed of and discuss how geology (and animals – worm trails!) can last so long, and make such an impact on our world today.

  • What’s it like to take a boat ride to see the Cliffs of Moher, from the sea? Watch this video I made and experience it for yourself! Seasickness not included. What surprises you most about seeing the Cliffs of Moher by sea?

  • The Cliffs of Moher has been represented in popular culture – making an appearance in films (Princess Bride, Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince), in a World Wonders contest, on a chocolate label, and even controversial graffiti. If you were to do something creative to represent the Cliffs of Moher, what would you do? How would you represent this majestic coastline, artistically?

    This lesson was contributed by Jessie Voigts, get to know her!

    Want more lesson ideas? See last week’s Teach Through Educational Travel: Iceland - perfect for your next classroom activity.  

    We’d love to hear your ideas! If you’ve completed a similar classroom activity, tell us about it by leaving a comment below. You could be our next guest blogger!

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    Hi, I'm Julia! I don't get to travel as much as I want to (who does?), but when I do, my goal is to share my discoveries and insights with humor and enthusiasm on all of our social media avenues. On The Educated Traveler blog, the official blog of WorldStrides International Discovery programs, you'll find all kinds of great information about travel and education, tips, news, classroom lesson ideas and more! Subscribe above!


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