In Nov 2010, a pilot from San Francisco, captured the image on her digital camera when she visited the famous Co. Clare tourist attraction.
Sandra Clifford (42) and her friend Fiona Fay from Drogheda Co. Louth were spellbound by what they saw and immediately Clifford snapped the shot of what they said appeared to be the face of Jesus Christ. Fay first spotted what appeared to be an image of a man before pointing it out to Clifford.
“To me, it was Jesus Christ straight away,” added Clifford, who is a practicing Catholic.
“I am a pilot, so I am always skeptical of what I see, that is why I started grabbing people and asking them what they saw,” Clifford told IrishCentral.
Clifford proceeded to ask a group of German men if they could see the outline, they nodded their heads in agreement, she says, and began taking photos. She also asked a young Asian girl if she could see the outline before she responded, “Oh yeah, that's cool”.
“It was amazing,” Clifford added, who was enjoying a two-week vacation in Ireland with her mother when she captured the shot.
“I really wanted to go to the cliffs, I love the ocean.
“I always have my camera and I love taking pictures,” said the American pilot, who took over 800 shots during her trip to Ireland.
It had been raining prior to the sighting and the pilot recalls, “it was a day of rainbows”.
Later that night when she showed the image on her camera to locals in Gus O'Connors Pub in Doolin, they were also in awe.
Teresa O’Flaherty, who owns the bar with her husband Patric, told IrishCentral that they couldn’t believe their eyes.
“I was like, wow, I actually thought it was a picture of a picture, I was shocked,” she said.
“It’s very definitely an image of Christ,” she said.
The image stirred the bar owner’s curiosity so much that she went to the famous cliffs to have a look for herself.
“I actually went there the following day to see if I could see it,” said O’Flaherty.
“They weren’t the kind of people to make it up,” she said, adding, “they didn’t come in to show it to us and they weren’t making a big deal about it”.
“We have five or six bus tours a day coming into the town but I have never seen anything like that.
“I was delighted to have seen it because if someone had told me, I would have said ‘no way’,” O’Flaherty concluded.
Clifford maintains the images are 100 percent legitimate and points out the original photograph is still in the camera, which she passed around in the Co. Clare pub that evening. When a friend offered to touch up the photograph back in the US she refused, insisting she wanted to maintain its originality.
* Originally published in 2011.