The Legend of Hags Head
At the southern point of the cliffs, near the ruins of the signal tower there an unusual rock formation known as Hags Head. In Irish, this is called “Ceann an tSean Chailligh” or “Head of the Old Sea Witch”.
Irish legend tells the story of an old hag called Mal who fell in love with the great Irish hero, Cú Chulainn. Sadly for her, Cú Chulainn did not return her feelings and in fact, he ran all over Ireland trying to get away from her! He finally escaped by jumping back to the Cliffs of Moher using the sea stacks as stepping stones (as only a legendary Irish hero could..)
Mal tried to follow him but she was not as nimble on her feet – she missed her footing and fell to her death at Hags Head where her blood is said to have stained all the sea.
The town of Miltown Malbay was named for her and the “Wave” at Loop Head was also called after her “Tonn Mhal,”. This wave was said to raise a voice of unutterable anguish, foretelling death and disaster.
So… poor Mal definitely left her mark on the area if not on her man!
Aill na Searrach
Legend has it that when St. Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland there was anger amongst the Tuatha Dé Danann, who were Ireland’s ancient tribe of magical rulers.
They magically turned themselves into horses and galloped to Kilcornan in the Burren where they hid out in the Kilcornan Caves (‘the Cavern of the Wild Horses’). One day 7 foals emerged from the caves. They were terrified by the bright light of day and galloped along the edge of the Cliffs of Moher in fear.
Sadly they galloped straight over the cliffs at the point now known as Aillenasharragh – ‘the Leap of the Foals’.
Today Aillenasharragh has become legendary once more as a mecca for surfers; only the hardcore surfers can catch the “Aileen”!