Are you planning a trip to the famous Cliffs of Moher? Located on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher attract tourists from all over the world. With their incredible views and breathtaking scenery, a visit to the cliffs is unforgettable. However, there are some tips you should know to make your visit smooth and enjoyable. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips and tricks to help make your visit to the cliffs a memorable one!
Buddy and I visited the Cliffs of Moher on the same day, but at different times. After spending the morning road tripping around the Dingle Peninsula, Sal and I arrived for our timed tickets at the Cliffs of Moher at 4:30pm on Sunday in July. Buddy visited the Cliffs of Moher earlier in the day with his choir. They made the stop at this UNESCO Global Geopark as a part of their tour of Ireland. We missed him by a few hours.
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Cliffs of Moher: The Details
The Cliffs of Moher is a UNESCO Global Geopark on the West coast of Ireland located County Clare near Liscannor village along the Wild Atlantic Way. Rising 702 feet out of the sea at their highest point, the 5-mile-long Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most famous cliffs. The Visitor’s Centre is open most days, except during the Christmas holiday. Opening hours vary by month, so it is best to check out the website. While you are there, consider getting your timed admission ticket. The best rates are online. And parking is included in your admission ticket.
Pro Tip: Arrive approximately 15 minutes before your timed ticket.
The Cliffs of Moher are an incredible natural wonder. It is one of the most visited natural attractions, with over one million people visiting yearly. It stretches across eight kilometers of sheer cliff face, which makes it one the most popular landmark in Ireland. Anyone who wants to experience the most spectacular sights of the country must visit this legendary site.
5 Simple Tips for Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
1. Plan to spend half a day at the Cliffs of Moher, if not more
The Moher Cliffs are an excellent day trip! The length of time you should spend at the Cliffs of Moher all depends on what you intend to do there. If you plan on taking your time to absorb the captivating natural beauty of the cliffs, spending time at the Cliffs of Moher Experience (which is built into a hillside!), and hiking to O’Brien’s Tower, you should plan to spend an entire day there.
The Visitor Centre website recommends a minimum of two hours at the Cliffs of Moher. This is a good amount of time if you are planning on exploring the Visitor Centre and taking a quick look at the Cliffs. However, if you However, if you plan on doing the Moher Coastal Walk, which is 4 to 4.5 hours round trip, you will want to spend more time on site.
When we visited the Cliffs of Moher, Sal and I spent two hours on site, and it was not enough time! We did not get to fully experience the Visitor Center, which means we missed out on the film and other exhibits. And while we did hike some of the Moher Coastal Walk, we did not get a chance to visit O’Brien’s Tower. Initially, we headed south on the trail toward the Moher Tower at Hag’s Head. This was to avoid the large crowds at O’Brien’s Tower. We hoped we had enough time to double back and go north before we needed to head out. Unfortunately, we ran out of time.
A Teenager’s Perspective
Buddy also spent two hours at the Cliffs of Moher with his choir and he also got to do and see everything he wanted to do. Buddy says, “The Cliffs of Moher were pretty nice. We ate lunch at the coffee shop in the Visitor Centre – not at the fancy restaurant, it was too expensive for us! But the coffee shop. The food was pretty good.“
“After lunch, we explored the cliffs with some friends. Then after exploring the cliffs, we split into groups and my group just decided not to go in the Visitor Centre. We tried to go up to O’Brien’s Tower, but we ran out of time. In general I wish we would have had more time to explore.”
I also wish we had had more time to explore the Cliffs of Moher. If I were to plan the day differently, I would allocate a full day of travel just to driving to and staying at the Cliffs of Moher. Rather than also driving the Dingle Peninsula that day (it was a long day!).
Parents: The Visitor Centre has a lot of kid friendly exhibits! It is perfect for families with littles.
2. Beat the crowds – visit early or late!
The Cliffs of Moher is a very popular destination and one of the busiest tourist locations in Ireland. It can get crowded. The best way to beat the crowds is to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This will allow you to enjoy the panoramic beauty of the cliffs without the throngs of tourists. If you are not an early bird, no worries! The Cliffs of Moher are a great place to catch a summer sunset over the ocean, weather permitting of course.
Hoping to beat the crowds, and the large tour buses, Sal and I arrived at the Cliffs of Moher at 4:30pm on a Sunday afternoon in July. While there were a good number of fellow travelers on site, we were not overwhelmed with crowds. For example, there were short lines for photos at the Visitor Centre, and a few hikers on the Costal Walk South trail. Nonetheless, we were able to find a few minutes of solitude on the cliffs.
However, we opted to head south on the Costal Walk first to avoid the crowds we saw at O’Brien’s Tower. So, it was a bit busier in that area.
By the time we left around 6:30pm, the crowds cleared out. Although Sal and I planned on staying at the Cliffs of Moher for sunset, we decided to skip it. We still had an hour and a half drive to Galway that we did not want to do in the dark. Maybe next time!
On the other hand, Buddy visited the Cliffs of Moher on a giant tour bus in the middle of the day. He says, “Yeah there were a lot of people there. But it didn’t bother us as many places we went to were crouded.”
3. Be prepared to walk
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher is a hike! First, the car park is on the opposite side of the road and a bit far from the Visitor Centre and cliffs. Then, depending on how far you explore, there is more walking when you get to the cliffs. And the walk itself is not bad – it is approximately 6 minutes from the Visitor Center to O’Brien’s Tower and 22 minutes to the South Viewpoint.
However, the elevation gains of about 100 meters in a short distance can make these walks challenging. The path to O’Brien’s Tower is a steep path with many steps.
And it is important to watch your step! Although there is a stone wall that lines the hiking path on the cliffs, it is very important to exercise extreme caution while visiting the cliffs. There are signs everywhere discouraging visitors not to scale the rock walls. And parents, keep your eyes on your kiddos when exploring the area.
Pro Tip: Do not get close to the cliff edge! No matter how beautiful that shot might be.
Sal and I set out on the Coastal Walk South and we found the trail lined with large stones. So large that as a short person, I could not see over some of the rocks! However, Buddy explored the Costal Walk North and he reports that the rock wall is small saying, “It is a small wall to make sure you don’t fall of the edge.”
Either way, you want to wear comfortable walking shoes and watch your step when partaking in this scenic walk!
4. Rent a car and take a road trip
For all the adventurous road trippers out there, yes, you can drive to the Cliffs of Moher! Renting a car (or driving your own!) is a great option. Especially for travelers who like to explore on their own time. Having your own set of wheels means that you can take your time and explore the Cliffs of Moher for as long as you like!
However, driving on Ireland’s winding and narrow roads is not for everyone. In that case, public transportation or a guided tour are great options. Below are some potions for Moher tours.
If you do choose to drive, the cliffs are located approximately 1.5 hours away from Galway city and 1 hour from Limerick by car. Dublin is a bit farther away at 3 hours. But the Cliffs of Moher are a great stop on a leisurely Irish road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way.
While Buddy visited the Cliffs of Moher in his choir’s tour bus, Sal and I rented a car and visited the cliffs as a part of our Irish road trip. We began the day driving the Dingle Peninsula and drove to Galway after leaving the cliffs. Renting a car and having the freedom to explore at our leisure was the right choice for us. However, I would not have driven those roads solo. Had I traveled alone, I definitely would have booked a tour.
5. What to bring
Ireland’s weather can be unpredictable. For that reason, it is essential to dress. It can get extremely windy at the cliffs, so you should prepare for the wind. Also, comfortable walking shoes will be essential if you plan to take the trail and walk along the top of the cliffs. And, of course it is a good idea to bring a raincoat or an umbrella just in case the rain starts to fall from the Irish skies.
These are some of the things that we brought to the Cliffs of Moher that were very helpful. Feel free to customize and add to this list what you see fit.
- Comfortable waterproof hiking boots. I love these boots, however, they do not have great arch support, so I use insoles. And don’t forget comfortable socks.
Pro Tip: Wear your shoes at home to break in your shoes before your trip! This way you avoid blisters while you travel.
- Layers and layers! I wore a cozy North Face jacket, which went on top of a long sleeve yoga top from Stitch Fix, and a tank top and sports bra. On the bottom, I wore yoga pants from Stitch Fix with REI Co-op rain pants layered on top. I was not hot or cold, so the layers worked well for me.
- A rain jacket that also worked as wind breaker. I wore this Columbia rain jacket.
- Water bottle
- My trusty crossbody bag
- Sunscreen (in an airplane friendly stick since we flew into Ireland!)
- Airplane friendly bug spray. Although we did not need it on our visit, we heard it can be buggy on the Cliffs of Moher.
- And sunglasses
And Buddy brought:
Would we visit the Cliffs of Moher again?
Overall, we loved the Cliffs of Moher. We highly recommend visiting and would definitely go back. Regarding the teenage experience, Buddy says, “I loved the Cliffs of Moher and the kids I was traveling with liked them too. We loved the cows we saw along the trail, so much that we admired them! We did not see any Atlantic puffins though. But, I would totally go back.” There you have it; the Cliffs are teenager approved!
Visiting the Cliffs of Moher is a quintessential Irish experience. It is a must-visit for anyone who loves nature and breathtaking views.
Are you planning a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher? Let us know in the comments below. Have fun and enjoy your visit to one of the most beautiful places in Ireland! Safe travels!
Do you have questions about family travel or traveling with teens? Feel free to reach out! We are happy to chat and share our experiences! We look forward to connecting with you.
If you enjoyed reading this, check out these blog posts!
- 10 Simple Tips for Driving the Dingle Peninsula
- Ring of Kerry One Day Road Trip: The Ultimate Adventure!
- 5 Tips for A Fantastic Visit to Blarney Castle
- Day Trip to Kilkenny: 5 Interesting Things To Do
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