The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
When my wife & I were at The Cliffs of Moher in the fall of 2010, we noticed the same occurrences of many people ignoring the signs and climbing over the low fence for a better look or photo. As we were looking south down the coast we saw a couple of young guys heading to the edge. I noticed that the thousands of years of erosion caused the cliff to be 'carved out', so it wasn't straight down. The last 8-10 feet on top (toward the edge) is only grass growing over thin air! From above, it appeared to be 'terra firma'. As they were heading closer, we yelled at them to STOP! They did so as we ran over to tell them what we saw. When they followed us back to where we had first seen them, their faces went white. Not sure, but I think we may have saved a couple of unsuspecting young tourists from a disastrous end to their holiday...
Our guide stressed over and over that she wanted us to stay to the right, no sense in getting ourselves blown off the Cliffs into the waters below. Part of the way up to the left is paved, she was referring to the section that was blocked off with a big sign that said "Please Do Not Go Past This Point" which was duly ignored by scores of people who looked at the sign, read the sign and then climbed over the sign.
Now I didn't really want to go flying off the cliff into the sea should a sudden gust of wind come along, however unlikely that might be with all of the fish and chips and full Irish breakfasts I had been eating. So I stopped and let all the other folks risk life and limb for a better photo, besides it seemed to me that since I would be standing on the cliffs that I couldn't actually see the cliffs.
To be fair, I didn't see anyone get blown over the side while we were there and it's proving difficult to find any statistics online that point to the number of deaths either by accident or suicide. But it's a loooooooong way down, I certainly wouldn't recommend heading to that part if you are having any recent maritial problems or if your spouse has recently taken out a life insurance policy on you....
The second photo in this series has a sign in Gaelic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish which says:
"The Cliffs of Moher are a protected and fragile habitat and the cliff edges are constantly eroding.
For your own safety and for the sake of the environment DO NOT climb over the walls onto the cliff edge."
The third photo shows signs along the cliff edge opposite. The week before the new visitor's center opened in February 2007 two deaths highlighted how dangerous the Cliffs of Moher are. Though the fatalities apparently were not due to an accident but are treated by Gardai as a murder-suicide.
The Cliffs of Moher seem to be well known by tourists all over the world and watching the ireland-forum on VT, I saw that plenty of people intend to go there EVEN though they have only a single day left, when visiting Dublin or other places all over Ireland.
It does NOT make sense to drive that long distance
just in order to see the Cliffs of Moher and nothing else !!
As soon as you pass by that area anyway, when you explore the scenic Westcoast,a stop at the cliffs is a great idea to take a little walk at the coastline, listen to the live-music of the local musicians or buy their casettes or CDs at the shops.
There is a big parking (where you have to pay a parking-fee !!) a toilette, shops etc.
Combine the Cliffs of Moher with a visit to the unique landscape called "BURREN" - see pics of it under "Off the beaten path"
Take care, the Cliffs of Moher are very high (200m) and it has happened that people have been blown over the edge by surprise gusts.
Here is a picture of me having slipped of the cliff. As I dangled there, holding on for dear life, I managed to hand my camera to a passer by so he could get my picture before he heroically saved me.