A Guide to visiting Ireland’s FAMOUS CLIFFS OF MOHER
Words can not describe how breathtakingly beautiful the Cliffs of Moher are. After all, they are appointed one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions for a reason. Growing up in Ireland, I regretfully took the countries startling beauty for granted, it is only now, in my mid 20’s, that I have really grown to appreciate Ireland and all its glory. The more time and effort I invest into my travel blog. The more determined I am to share my ‘Irish Expertises’ with the world. I want to make it easy for everyone else to experience Ireland’s beauty first hand. And that is why I would like to share with my readers some tips and tricks on visiting Ireland’s top must see natural attraction, The Cliffs of Moher.
The purpose of this post is to give an insight into all there is to know before visiting the Cliffs. This step by step guide will cover frequently asked questions, directions to the cliffs, driving advice, things to do and places to stay and eat near the cliffs. I hope this post will help answer any questions you may have prior to visiting the Cliffs of Moher.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Cliffs of Moher
Where are the Cliffs of Moher? The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland on the southwestern edge of the Burren in County Clare. They are a short drive from the small towns of Doolin (10-minute drive) Lahinch (20-minute drive) and Ennis (45-minute drive). They lie at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, offering jaw-dropping views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and so much more.
How high are the Cliffs of Moher? The Cliffs of Moher soar to a height of 214 metres high (390 feet). The heightist point being slightly north of O’Brien’s Tower. Let’s just say it’s rather scary looking down.
How Long does it take to walk along the Cliffs of Moher? The Cliffs stretch for 8km, it takes 2 hours to walk from Doolin to the cliffs. It is a lovely, breathtaking walk along the coastline. The perfect way to see all the Cliffs have to offer and capture some beautiful snaps along the way.Are there any hidden charges at the Cliffs?
The O’Brien’s Tower (the highest point) costs an additional 2 euro to climb. The views from this point extremely beautiful, even from ground level.
Are the Cliffs of Moher Safe? At times this trail can get fairly narrow, however, there is an option to walk away from the edge and I advise you take it. There are signs all over the terrain warning guests to stay away from the edge as the ground may shift. It is also common to experience gusts of wind as the Cliffs are located on the coast. As always it is important to be careful and stay far away from the edge.
Can you walk to the Cliffs? Yes, visitors often enjoy exploring the Coastal Walking Trail, it is 20km taking in the phenomenal views Aill Na Searrach, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. More information on these trails can be found on the Website.
Interesting Facts About the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs Rise to Fame: Being one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions is not the Cliffs only claim to fame. In fact, the Cliffs are only short of having its own IMDB page. The beautiful natural backdrop is used for many famous blockbuster film and TV sets, Harry Potter, Father Ted and the Princess Bride to name a few. The Famous Irish Cliffs where even used by Irish 90’s boy band ‘Westlife’ for the set of their ‘My Love’ music video.
Tourists, Tourist and more tourists: Like most popular attractions, the Cliffs of Moher is a busy place. The astonishing natural wonder attracts over 1 million visitors each year. However, don’t let the crowds scare you away because the out of this world beauty will make up for the number of people. Besides, further down the trail there are many stunning view points that most people don’t bother visiting. It’s always worth walking a mile or two more for some unique viewpoints.
Irish Myths and Legends: Most popular Irish landmarks, are subject to myths and legends and the Cliffs of Moher are no different. Stories passed down through Irish Folklore suggest that a witch named Mel fell in love with the ancient Irish warrior Cú Chulainn. The famous warrior however, did not return the same love. As a result, the hag began to chase Cú Chulainn around Ireland. One day while chasing the warrior south of the Cliffs, Mal leaped across towards Cú Chulainn but quickly fell and crashed into the rocks. Legend has it that her blood cause a red hue across the bay, suggesting that ‘Malbay’ was named after the witch herself. Today, the rocks are now known as ‘Hag’s Head’ and are said to resemble the shape of Mal’s profile.
The Cliffs Are Old: The Cliffs of Moher are old, real old. The Cliffs date back to over 300 million years ago. It is believed that they were formed in the Carboniferous period and are made up of sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and shale. If you would like to know more about how the cliffs where made be sure to check out the official website.
Wildlife Opportunities: The Cliffs of Moher are know it’s wildlife spotting opportunities with Dolphins, Basking Sharks and Grey Seals known to roam the area. The Cliffs are famous for housing the Atlantic Puffin, with 30,000 of the birds species to be present at the cliffs peak season. I personally think these are the cutest birds ever. They remind me of mini penguins. However, I am yet to see them in person, it is definitely something I want to tick off the bucket list.
The Cliffs Name: The Cliffs got their name from an old fort called ‘Mothar’ that once stood on the southernmost point of the Cliffs, hag’s head. Today, the point is home to the old ruins of a watch tower named ‘Moher Tower’.
Getting to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin
Driving From Dublin: Travelling from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher by car should take about 3 and a half hours. Making it the perfect destination for a day trip from Dublin. There are 3 possible routes. The fastest route has tolls. Directions can be seen on Google Maps.
If you can, I would 100% recommend renting a car and making your own way to the cliffs. It allows for more time to explore both the cliffs and the surrounding areas. With organised tours, time is limited. It is hard to go with the flow as you have to obey the tours schedule.
I have however, attached some cliffs of moher tour companies down below, as I understand that this may be the best option for some visitors. Be sure to always check the reviews before purchasing a tour.
The good thing about Cliffs of Moher organised tours is the value for money. Prices range from 30 to 40 euros and some include stop off at Doolin, the Burren and Galway.
Driving to the Cliffs of Moher From Galway, Shannon or Limerick
The best Way to See the Cliffs of Moher is for sure by car. Having the flexibility to take your time and really appreciate the beauty of the cliffs is key. Below is driving routes from Galway, Shannon and Limerick.
The Cliff of Moher from Galway: Galway is only a 1 and a half hour drive from the Cliffs of Moher. I have linked the direction via Google Maps.
The Cliff of Moher from Shannon: Shannon Airport (map) is the closest airport to the cliffs, taking only an hour to get there by car.
The Cliff of Moher from Limerick: It takes just over an hour to reach the Cliffs of Moher from Limerick. Visiting the cliffs is the ideal day out for those living or staying in County Limerick. Directions from Limerick can be seen on Google Maps.
Where to park? The Cliffs of Moher Carp is located directly opposite the visitor centre. It cost 6 euro per adult (4 euro for a student) to park there, this, however, includes admission into the visitor’s centre. Children under 16 can visit the visitor centre for FREE.
The Cliffs of Moher Tips and Advice
I originally wrote this post back in 2017 and frequently find myself updating it as I receive more and more questions about the cliffs. That is why I have decided to add this section to the post. It will cover the unpredictable Irish weather, what to wear, opening times and more.
Preparing for the Irish Weather and what to wear to the Cliffs of Moher: The photo above was taken on a different day. Truth is the Irish weather is unpredictable. All I can say is plan ahead, check the weather before you go and bring some layers just in case. It may look like a nice sunny day, but Ireland’s weather is always changing, and you never know when the rain may decide to show up. The Cliffs are also a magnet for windy conditions.
Due to Ireland being known for having 4 seasons in one day. I have put together a packing list to help you decide what to bring on your trip to Ireland.
The Cliffs of Moher Opening Times: The Cliffs of Moher opening times can vary depending on the time of year. The times below are general guidelines to each season opening times. Please note it is possible to park and visit the cliffs after hours but the Visitor Center will be closed. I stress the importance of staying safe at all times when visiting the cliffs and stay far away from the cliff edge.
January\February 09:00 – 17:00. September\October 08:00 – 19:00
March\April 08:00 – 19:00. October 08:00 – 19:00.
May \August 08:00 – 21:00. November\December 09:00 – 17:00.
Is the Visitor Center worth my time? The visitor center is definitely worth a visit if you have the time, after all, it is included in the car park and tour ticket price. The center is full of information regarding how the cliffs were made, weather surrounding the cliffs and nature and wildlife in the area.
Where to Stay near the Cliffs of Moher:
It is a great idea to research some hotels near the cliffs of moher, staying the night allows exploration of surrounding areas. Clare is honestly one of the most beautiful Counties of Ireland. Below is a list of some possible destinations worth staying the night.
Galway is a great city, full of many places to explore. It is a great place for nightlife, as well as experiencing some Irish culture. Check out some of Galway’s accommodation options here.
Lahinch is a small Irish town located on Liscannor Bay (As seen in the image below). It is extremely popular among surfers, maybe you could even get a lesson or two during your stay. Lahinch is a 15-minute drive away from the Cliffs of Moher. Check out some great places to stay here.
Ennis is the main town in County Clare, located approximately 40 minutes away from the Cliffs. It a great way to get a feel for Irish culture in a small rural town. Find accommodation here.
Have you ever wanted to sleep in a castle, well in Ireland you can? Check out Dromoland Castle, located approximately one hour away from the cliffs of Moher.
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