Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 08:21 UK

Cliffs in final of wonder contest

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher stretch for 8km and rise up to 214 metres above the Atlantic Ocean

Ireland's Cliffs of Moher are competing with 25 other natural landmarks in the final phase of the global poll to choose the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The Grand Canyon, Matterhorn and Great Barrier Reef are also among those going through to the competition's final.

Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway and the Burren, also in Clare, did not get into the finals.

The winners will be announced in 2011. The new seven man-made wonders were chosen two years ago.

The Cliffs of Moher are the Republic of Ireland's most popular visitor site, with almost 1m visitors a year.

Giant's Causeway
Giant's Causeway in County Antrim did not make the finals

Director of the Cliffs of Moher Experience Catherine Webster welcomed the news and said it was a "huge endorsement" of the cliffs as a true feat and spectacle of nature.

The organisation New 7 Wonders is led by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber.

"This campaign should contribute to the appreciation - to the knowledge - of our environment and not just the one in our country but worldwide," he said.

"If we or our children want to save anything, we should first appreciate it."

A panel of experts chose the finalists from the 77 nominees that gained the most votes in an early round of polling. People had suggested 261 landmarks in countries all over the world.

The panel chaired by Federico Mayor, former chief of UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, picked the finalists depending on geographical balance, diversity and the importance to human life.

Mr Weber declined to give any specific numbers of votes so far, but the organisation plans to release details about voter profiles later. Registration on their web site aims to prevent people from voting twice.

About 100 million people voted in the selection of the seven manmade wonders in 2007.

The winners were the Colosseum, Italy; the Great Wall of China; the Taj Mahal, India; Petra, Jordan; Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil; Machu Picchu, Peru; and the Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico.

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