The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most popular natural attraction and they are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region, in County Clare. Definitely, a must-see if you are visiting this beautiful island. The maximum height of these cliffs is 214 metres and it is reached to the north of O’Brien’s Tower. This tower was built on the cliffs in 1835 by Sir O’Brien as an observation tower for the tourists that visited the cliffs in the Victorian age, but legends say that O’Brien built the tower in order to impress women he wanted to seduce. These cliffs have been used as the set of several movies (including “Harry Potter and the Haf Bood Prince”), which contributed to increase the popularity of this amazing place. Today the cliffs receive almost one million visitors a year. From the cliff edge, it is possible to see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, while just the booming of waves crashing far below can be heard. Although still impressive, these cliffs are not the highest one in Ireland. The less famous Slieve League cliffs, in County Donegal, are almost three times higher.
If your time in Ireland is very short, you can visit the Cliff of Moher using an organised day tour from Dublin or other cities in Ireland. However, it means that you will be on a bus for most of the day, and you will have just a few hours to explore the cliffs. The best way to explore the Cliffs is through the cliff walk, from Doolin to the visitor centre, and the cliff cruise, to see them from a different point of view. To do both, you need a whole day there. To get the most from your trip I recommend you use Doolin as the starting point for exploring the area, and it’s also probably better to arrive in Doolin a day ahead, so that an entire day can be dedicated to the Cliffs exploration.
How to get to Doolin
Doolin is a colourful and welcoming village close to the Cliff of Moher, and it is the perfect touring base for all the County Clare. You can get there by car or by bus.
- By car – Doolin is located on the Wild Atlantic Way and can be reached in about 3 hours drive from Dublin.
- By bus – You can get direct public bus connections from Galway Bus station (Bus Eireann 350 route)
Experience the Cliffs from above
The best way to experience the cliff is to walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. This walk of about 8 km takes approximately 3 hours and will bring you between Irish green fields and the Atlantic Ocean.
To do the walk be prepared with good walking shoes or hiking boots, water and a rain jacket. The initial part of the trail, close to Doolin, is characterised by the bare limestone landscape of the Burren.
The remaining trail will bring you at the edge of the Cliffs. The initial part of the walk is the less touristic because is the farthest from the Cliff of Moher visitor centre, where all the tour buses stop. The ticket for the cliffs can be bought in this centre. The adult fare at is 8€, but if you book online the ticket is just 4€, but you can find more info on the Cliffs of Moher website.
At the end of your walk, you can go back to Doolin using public transports. Once there you can rest in one of the several pubs of this cute little colourful town.
Here the map of the walk.
Experience the Cliffs from below
If you want to experience the Cliffs at 360° I suggest taking a 1-hour cruise from Doolin Pier. The cruises are available every day from March to October. There are several companies which offer these cruises, but they are not very different and they also have the same price (15 €).
During the cruise, you can admire the cliffs, but you can also spot migrating birds, whales, dolphins and seals. You can see several puffins and guillemots from very close. Be careful because the ride can bumpy and you can get very easily seasick (I think it was the longest hour of my life, but the view made in worth it).
The Cliffs of Moher are part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark which was awarded membership of the UNESCO supported Global Geoparks Network in 2011. So, while in the area why not Visit the Burren.