Cliffs of Moher

Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland should be at the top of your Ireland bucket list. An icon of Ireland, the cliffs have so much to offer visitors. The first time I saw the Cliffs of Moher I was literally speechless.  The straight shot down to the ocean was terrifying and I couldn’t look away! I was also surprised at how many things there are to do other than the cliffs!  So here’s my Ultimate Guide to visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

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Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Where are the Cliffs of Moher?

The Cliffs of Moher are in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. While many people visit from Dublin, it’s actually a 3.5-4 hour drive. Visiting the Cliffs of Moher is easier from Galway or Limerick (about 1.5 hours). While County Clare is famous for the cliffs, there are a lot of places nearby that you can enjoy traditional Irish music and culture.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland, at sunset.
Cliffs of Moher at sunset

When should I visit the Cliffs of Moher? 

Sunset is an ideal time to visit.  There isn’t the fog of the morning and you can watch the sun glisten off of the water and cliffs.  The day-trippers typically leave around 3 so the crowds thin out.

What is there to do at the Cliffs of Moher? 

Visit Hog’s Head

This watchtower is located at the Southernmost point of the Cliffs of Moher.  Local legend is that a woman killed herself trying to follow her lover across the Cliffs (okay, it’s not the happiest tale).  The crowds don’t seem to make their way to the tower, so it offers you some peace and quiet. The walk is about an hour-long each way, but it includes some impressive views.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Walk the Coastal Trail

Opened in 2013, the Moher Coastal Trail is great for outdoorsy travelers with a full day to explore.  The 18km trail stretches from Doolin to Liscannor. If you don’t have a full day to spare, you could do parts of it instead.   For example, the Cliffs of Moher to Doolin is a two-hour walk each way.  

Fun Fact: Cliffs of Moher is a nature spotting haven. It’s protected by Irish & EU legislation. The cliffs are a breeding site for over 30,000 seabirds – including the endangered Chough. Around the end of March, you can even spot the Atlantic Puffin!

O’Brien’s Tower

Designed to look like a mini-medieval castle, O’Briens’ tower was actually built in the 19th century.   It was built so the Irish could keep an eye out for the French army. Now it gives visitors more of a bird-eye view.   During peak times, admission is 8 Euro for adults, 7 Euro for students, and 5 Euro for seniors, children under 16 are free. If you visit during off-peak hours, it’s a little cheaper. Check the site for more information.

Note: This is one of the most popular viewpoints, so be ready to deal with crowds.  

O'Brien's Tower, Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
O’Brien’s Tower

Fun Fact: The sea cave from Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows was filmed near O’Brien’s Tower.  

Close up of O'Brien's Tower, Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Close up of O’Brien’s Tower

O’Brien’s Tower is located where Fort Moher was. Moher actually means “ruined fort” so it should be named The Cliffs of the Ruined Fort (doesn’t have the same ring to it).  The fort stood until around 1780 and in the 19th century, Cornelius O’Brien built a viewing area for visiting tourists to see the cliffs. It’s been delighting visitors ever since.  

Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is a wealth of information and has some of the most iconic views of the cliffs.  If you don’t have a lot of time at the cliffs – the visitor center is the best way to see it quickly.  However, it is important to know that the cliffs expand further than just this area.

Travel Tip:   Mid-day is the most crowded time to visit the cliffs.  The parking lot will fill completely and then close. If you’re making a day trip from Dublin, it may be better to book a tour instead of driving yourself. 

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland, Photo from Flickr.
Cliffs of Moher from below

See the Cliffs of Moher from below

A great way to see the cliffs in a new way is to take a Cliffs of Moher cruise.  The cruises are inexpensive and full of wonderful views.  

Path at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland, Photo from Flickr
The safety at the Cliffs of Moher is your discretion. Stay to the path – you never know when the winds are going to pick up.

Safety at the Cliffs of Moher

When you combine steep cliffs, high winds, and tourist crowds, you get a recipe for disaster.   There is an official path at the cliffs, but if you stray from that you do so at your own risk. People have died taking selfies at the cliffs.  You never know when the wind will pick up, or if you’ll miss a step – so stay safe.  For the photo below, I was army crawling to the cliff – on my stomach and approached very slowly.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland, from the top
It is a straight shot down, so be careful when you’re at the Cliffs of Moher.

How long do I need at the Cliffs of Moher?

The short answer: One Day

The long answer: It depends.  I know, not helpful. Let me explain.  If you’re coming from Dublin, it’s about three and a half hours one way – meaning a day trip may not be the best option. However, a day trip from Galway, Limerick or Killarney would be a good option. Ideally, spending a night in the area would give you the best views of the Cliffs of Moher. This option gives you more chances to see the cliffs throughout the day. The weather in Ireland is finicky at best. Staying a night nearby gives you time in case you get a cloudy day.  Of course, there is plenty to explore in County Clare other than the cliffs – so spend a few days nearby!

Where can I stay at the Cliffs of Moher? 

There are a variety of family-run cottages, bed & breakfasts, and hotels nearby.  Doolin and Liscannor are also nearby (about a ten-minute drive to North or South respectively). I always recommend for accommodations – so find your hotel below.

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Are the Cliffs of Moher on your bucket list? Let me know if you have any questions!

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