Practical guide for visiting the Cliffs of Moher, stunning sea cliffs in the West of Ireland. Travel tips, advice, need to know.
Ireland itineraries come in all shapes and sizes but they all include one specific stop: a visit to the famous Cliffs of Moher.
The cliffs are one of the most famous sites in the whole of the country and arguably one of the most beautiful and their fame is entirely deserved.
Their windswept beauty is the highlight of many Ireland trips and I am myself partial to them: despite the crowds, I love the Cliffs of Moher and go every time we can.
This is my guide for visiting the Cliffs of Moher.
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What are the Cliffs of Moher famous for?
The cliffs of Moher are very tall sea cliffs in the West of Ireland.
They plunge into the Atlantic ocean from over 200 meters / 700 feet and they are famous for being tall, stunning and immensely photogenic: the many movies shot here are definite proof to that!
Indeed, it is hard to not be impressed by the cliffs.
As well as tall, the cliffs stretch for quite a distance and this means you can appreciate their height and very peculiar shape for as far as your eyes can see.
This makes them a unique site and one very different from, for instance. Slieve League, that boasts stunning and taller cliffs but along a narrower stretch of coastline.
Cliffs of Moher: where they are and how to get there
The Cliffs of Moher are in the West of Ireland, in Country Clare. The closest airport is Shannon, to the South of the cliffs towards Killarney, and Galway town is immediately to their North.
There are several ways to get to the cliffs.
Getting to the cliffs of Moher by car
The Cliffs of Moher are easily accessible by car and are well served by a large car park.
The parking is on the other side of the road from the cliffs, only a short walk away from both the visitors’ center and the cliff themselves.
Getting here is easy: while the cliffs plunge into the ocean from vertigo-inducing heights, the road leading to them is inland and causes no problems even to drivers with a fear of heights ( I would know, I am one of them!)
Getting to the Cliffs of Moher by bus or coach tour
If you prefer not to drive or don’t have a car, you can also reach the cliffs by bus.
Coach tours depart from Galway, Dublin or Limerick and can be an easy way to get to the cliffs without the stress.
When picking one, however, look careful at the duration: Dublin, for instance, is very far: make sure you are ok for the long driving time should you go for this option.
Some coach tours to the cliffs of Moher you may want to consider are:
- Coach trip to the Cliffs and the Burren from Galway
- Full day coach tour from Dublin the cliffs (long day)
- Cliffs of Moher bus tour from Limerick
The weather at the Cliffs and the best time to go
it is possible to visit the cliffs all year round but some months are better than others.
In terms of season, the best time to visit the cliffs are spring, summer and early fall.
The Cliffs of Moher in summer
Summer is the most popular time for visiting the cliffs and one of the best in terms of the weather forecast.
While you can never count on the weather in Ireland, the summer often brings wonderful bright and dry days that are idea to see the cliffs.
The only downside to the summer are the crowds. The convenient bus coaches I recommended pour onto the cliffs large number so tourism and this take away some of the mystique of the place.
Its beauty still shines through but if you are looking for an isolated spot of remote natural beauty, July and August are not the time for you.
Come early morning or evening to get a quieter experience.
Visiting in spring or autumn
Spring and autumn are the best time to visit the cliffs, if you get a sunny day. At this time, the crowds are thin but the days can be bright and dry.
Since the changeable Irish weather is even more changeable in these seasons, keeping an eye on the weather is paramount: the official website of the Irish meteorological service is MetEireann.ie
September is probably the best month for visiting the cliffs in autumn as the most likely to have sunny, dry days.
The cliffs of Moher in winter
We have visited the cliffs in winter, as the photos in this post suggest, and while I believe it is always worth going to the cliffs, winter can also be pretty miserable there.
If this is the only time you have to visit the cliffs, I highly recommend you check the weather before you go and only venture to the cliffs if deemed safe to do so.
Fog can make the trip pointless but wind and storms make the cliffs dangerous. Check local conditions before you go and dress appropriately.
What to wear to visit the Cliffs of Moher
You don’t need special equipment to visit the cliffs.
The manned paths between the visitors center and the cliffs themselves are paved and do not need hiking shoes or walking sticks for the main part of the cliffs viewing area.
What is, however, convenient, is to have are comfortable walking shoes (especially in case of rain, for grip), windbreakers and rain jackets for bad weather days and binoculars for bird watching!
The best things to do at the Cliffs of Moher
Admire the cliffs
To the cost of stating the obvious, the main thing to do at the cliffs of Moher is: admiring the cliffs!
The main viewpoint is just after the visitors center and offers stunning views over the cliffs and the long Irish coastline.
Other viewpoints are farther up the road on the two sides of the main terrace and offer alternative viewpoints and wonderful photo opportunities.
Check out the visitors center
As you walk to the cliffs to the main viewing area, you encounter the cliffs visitors’ center, an interesting building now hoisting a cliffs exhibition, a cafe, facilities and souvenir shops.
The exhibition about the history of the cliffs is interesting but what I fond most noteworthy of the center is the fact that it is built to blend in with the surroundings and environment.
The center makes the most of the hilly nature of this stretch of land and sits nestled under grassy roofs, which make is a surprisingly unobtrusive sight.
Go bird watching
The Cliffs of Moher are the largest seabird nesting colony in mainland Ireland and a special protection area for birds.
If you are into birdwatching, the best time to visit the cliffs are the months between May to August. Bring your own binoculars.
Spot film locations
Many movies have been shot at the cliffs and for such a long time, chances are you know at least one of them, no matter your generation. Among the most famous there are Ryan’s Daughter (1970), The Princess Bride (1987) and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009).
How long to stay at the cliffs of Moher
How long to stay at the cliffs depends on the season and what you want to do. If you just want to take a look at teh cliffs and main viewing areas, then a couple of hours are usually enough.
If you want to take the coastal walk, then you will need the right weather conditions and a half-day to fully enjoy the area. Please note: at the time of writing the coastal path is deemed dangerous and visitors urged not to enter. Please check the local signage for updates.
The cliffs of Moher with fear of heights: are they worth anyway?
My husband and I both suffer from a fear of height but a visit to the cliff posed no problem.
The main viewing area and the walk to O’Brien’s tower are fenced with tall stone barriers and there is nothing scary about them. We even visited the cliffs with young kids and perceived them as safe.
The coastal path, however, is unsuitable for people with a fear of heights as it follows the very edge of the cliff (it was also closed on our last visit, see above, as deemed unsafe)
Accommodation near the Cliffs of Moher?
There are many places to use as a base for visiting the cliffs.
Galway is the biggest town in the vicinity and has a plethora of hotels and guesthouses for all budgets. This is a good choice if you want to visit the cliffs by public transport
Doolin is also a great base at is also allows you to visit the Aran Islands, which are lovely and allow you to see the cliffs from the sea.
Many local B&Bs are also available just near the cliffs, you can find offers and deal in the box below.
I hope you found this overview useful and it helped you plan your visit to the Cliffs of Moher safe travels!