This complete guide shares everything you need to know when visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher are located on the West Coast of Ireland along the Coastal Route known as the Wild Atlantic Way. They offer visitors an awe-inspiring vista of cliff and sea, channeling the feeling of being at the bow of a ship and looking out onto the unfurling horizon.
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
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We spent time here during our road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest coastal route that weaves its way up the west coast of Ireland for 2600km (1600 miles). We have also visited the Cliffs of Moher on two other occasions. So we know a thing or two about visiting the Cliffs of Moher
Things to See at the Cliffs of Moher
The first person to formally recognize the Moher cliffs as a tourist destination was a man named Cornelius O’Brien, a local landlord. He developed the site so that it catered to visitors by erecting stables, a viewing platform, the Moher Tower and a wall made of flagstone.
O’Brien’s Tower has been restored and is still standing today and is one of the most visible sites located at the highest point. It is just a 10 minute walk from the visitors centre. He built it in the 19th-century and these visitor-friendly sentiments still ring true today thanks to an extensive visitor centre and a number of public transportation options to and from the site.
If you want to go for a longer walk, you can make your way out to
Moher Visitor Experience
Be sure to go inside to see the unique, underground visitor center. What makes the visitor center even better is the fact that it’s been built into the hillside, its rooftop mossy, not at all, unlike a hobbit house. It houses an exciting Atlantic Edge display exploring the different elements of the mighty cliffs, ocean, rock, nature, and man.
It is an extremely informative center that offers literature on the cliffs’ history, and there is always personnel available to answer any questions you might have. You can also grab a bite to eat and pick up something at the gifts shop. And there is a movie about the cliffs that you can watch as well.
The cliffs themselves are comprised of shale and sandstone; the layers are visible, and the oldest sections are located at the bottom just beside the sea.
Be sure to go for a walk along the cliffs to get away from the crowds. But be careful not to get too close. There have been 66 Cliffs of Moher deaths since 1993 from people walking too close to the edge and falling off. It is very windy up there, and the grounds are uneven and can break off, so be careful.
Hag’s Head is the southernmost point from the visitor’s centre that you can hike to. You can drive and park in the parking lot out at Hag’s Head and hike up from there. It is about a 4 km hike (2.4 miles).
This unusual rock formation resembles a woman’s head and later received the name of “Hag’s Head.” Shuttles can take you to and from the parking lot or to the trailhead from Doolin or nearby Licannor. Here you’ll see the stone ruins of a watchtower known as the Moher Tower, remnants of the old fort.
From the cliff edge, you’ll have views of the Aran Islands, the Maumturks, and the Twelve Pins mountain ranges. For the astute onlooker, small river channels can be seen weaving through the cliffs which makes this site even more impressive—many of the channels date back almost 300 years old!
The coastline is home to over 20 different bird species. Bringing binoculars is always a good idea to view the 30,000 sea birds that call this home. The cliffs boast one of the best places to view nesting sea birds in all of Ireland. So much so that it was designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds. Birds you will see are puffins, guillemot kittiwakes and razorbills.
The Cliffs of Moher also offer a range of sea life that can be spotted from various lookout points: seals, dolphins, whales, and even sharks aren’t difficult to catch a glimpse of. By land, visitors can often spot goats, badgers, puffins, falcons, and foxes, too.
Book your Cliffs of Moher Tours
The Cliffs of Moher are at the top of everyone’s list for things to do in Ireland. Check out these tours to plan your trip.
- Cliffs of Moher Day Tour from Galway – See the Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher in a day.
- Day tour from Dublin – A full-day trip from Dublin to Galway Bay, The Burren, Galway City, and Moher.
Getting to the Cliffs of Moher
- Renting a car is in many ways the top transport choice in this area of Ireland.
- Day Tours from Cork, Cliffs of Moher Galway Tours, and Cliffs of Moher Tours from Dublin are also popular ways to explore the cliffs.
- If you do happen to be traveling via public transportation, Bus Éireann passes through and offers an easy, hassle-free option.
- There is also a private shuttle bus that leaves daily from the nearby town of Doolin.
No matter when you visit, the Cliffs of Moher are sure to leave you at least a little bit speechless.
Where are The Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are 270 km (167 miles) from Dublin and 75 km (46 miles) from Galway. We drove to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin and it took a little over three hours.
We spent the night at Pat Sweeney’s Farm located nearby close to the town of Doolin for an authentic Irish coastal experience.
Best Way to See the Cliffs of Moher
If you really want to do something special, the best way to see the Cliffs of Moher is to take the Moher Coastal cliff walk from Doolin. We stayed at Sweeney’s Farm run by owner Pat who runs the Doolin Cliffs Walks. Pat Sweeney is a local historian, storyteller and walking enthusiast who takes you on an easy 8km (4.9 miles) walk for three ours along the coast.
As you walk through local farmlands and along the coast he’ll regale you with his stories and observations. We could listen to Pat all day. He’s a passionate storyteller and an expert on local history and folklore if you want an authentic experience away from the tourist crowds, this is the tour to do. The walk ends at the Cliffs of Moher Visitors Centre.
Cliff Walk from Doolin
If you want to hike the entire Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail, it is a 13 km hike from Doolin to Hag’s Head. Doolin is also the perfect place to make a home base to also explore the Aran Islands and the Burren.
It is just 9 km (5.5 miles) from the Moher visitor’s center and it’s a small and quirky village with famous pubs playing traditional Irish music each night. The locals are welcoming and passionate about their area and are happy to have you.
How to Avoid the Crowds
With nearly 1.5 million visits per year, it can get quite crowded, but with a bit of careful planning, it is possible to witness the untouched side.
If you don’t take Pat’s Cliff Walk, you can still enjoy the scenery independently. Visit at sunrise to beat the crowds, or try your luck during sunset to get the most out of the sky’s wow factor. We had most of it to ourselves during our visit in April.
About the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher have long been the subject of books, films, and more. Their name originated from an old fort named Mothar or Moher, which stood on the tip of a nearby cliff. The fort, which was demolished in 1808, was eventually used as a material for a lookout tower during the Napoleonic wars.
Cliffs of Moher Height – Standing at a height of 702 feet (214 meters) and spanning 14 km, (8 miles), The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction.
The cliffs and its surrounding area of The Burren have been designated with UNESCO Global Geopark status in recognition of their importance. The Moher Geopark welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors per year.
When to Visit the Cliffs of Moher
We visited the Cliffs of Moher in both April and September on different visits. Both times were good and crowds were less than during the high season.
- The high season for visiting the cliffs are the end of June to early September. It can be very crowded.
- If you visit at sunrise or sunset, you will see less tourist buses.
- No matter what time of year you visit, the weather changes quickly. Wear good hiking boots, and pack layers and rain gear as you could be out on the trail and have the weather turn in an instant. Check out our packing list for Europe.
- Cost for visiting: €5 – You can book tickets in advance at the Cliffs of Moher Website.
- Located at the southwestern edge of County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher tower over the Atlantic coastline.
Essential Tips to Visit the Cliffs of Moher
We recommend spending at least half a day visiting the Cliffs of Moher. The site isn’t simply a pretty vista but also includes an impressive number of hiking trails that offer spectacular views of their own.
Arguably, walking the hiking trails are the best way to enjoy the scenery. You can avoid crowds without skimping on views. It’s a win-win situation.
If you are dead-set on setting eyes on the spot where The Princess Bride was filmed, visit first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. Or better yet, visit on a foggy day—something about this type of weather gives the cliffs a mystical, mysterious vibe and is sure to be very camera-friendly, too. We’ve seen them on a foggy day and the crowds are much smaller when the views aren’t clear.
Don’t leave the area without spending time in the surrounding villages of Pollboy and Lough North—both extremely quaint stopping points that look like hobbit havens.
Films featuring the Cliffs of Moher
- The Princess Bride – One of the best scenes in the movie was filmed here when Westly chases Buttercup and her kidnappers, Vizzini, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzig up the Cliffs of Insanity.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince– The cliffs are used in the scene where Dumbledore takes Harry to find the Horcrux.
- Leap Year
Hotels Near Cliffs of Moher
There are plenty of hotels and BnBs near the cliffs of Moher Cliffs. Doolin is the best place to find hotels near the Cliffs of Moher.
- We’ve already recommended Pat Sweeney’s Doonagore Farm and it was great. Close to the cliffs, great breakfast and fantastic hospitality.
- Hotel Doolin – Located downtown Doolin, great Irish Music.
- Ballinalakin Castle House – Views of the Cliffs of Moher
- Liscanner is another popular town to find good Cliffs of Moher accommodation. A recommended hotel is Tides Apartments.
Read More about Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way:
- Tips for Driving the Wild Atlantic Way
- Where to Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way
- Unique Things to Do on the Wild Atlantic Way of Ireland
- 10 Best Scenic Views on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way
- Cliffs of Moher – Visiting the Pinnacle of Ireland’s Scenery
- Poulnadrone Dolmen
- A Tour of Skellig Michael – How to Visit the Beehive Monasteries of Ireland
- Mizen Head, Ireland – The Extreme Edge of Ireland
Traveling to Ireland – See our Ireland Travel Guide
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