When people think of Ireland, there are many things that come to mind. And one of those images may be that of towering cliffs over the sea. It’s an iconic image, the Cliffs of Moher. Although they are not the highest cliffs in the country, they are the most popular. Many people who are planning a trip to Ireland naturally want to go and see these amazing cliffs for themselves. But where are the Cliffs of Moher and how do you get there? Let us share with you our experience to help you plan your trip!
Where are the Clifffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher Ireland are located on the west coast of the country. They are in County Clare and follow the west coast of Ireland. The cliffs themselves are 701 or 214 meters at their highest point, they are 14 km or 8.6 miles in length and can be found along the wild Atlantic Way. If traveling to see them, the best place to starts is where they begin just slightly north of Liscannor village. This is about an hour’s drive from Shannon International Airport. For travelers who want to drive down the scenic route, they can work their way up Route 478.
Legends and History of the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher have a rich history, some of which involves the legends and myths of the area. There are many folklore stories about the various areas of them. One of the most well-known legends is about an unusual formation located at the southerly point that resembles a woman’s head. It is known as Hag’s Head.
A local legend tells the story of how an old hag called Mag fell in love with the Irish hero Cu Chulainn. Her desire for him drove her to chase him all over the country. He finally ended up at Loop Head where he had been cornered by Mal. Determined to escape her, he made the daring choice to hop across the sea stacks towards the Cliffs of Moher, just like stepping stones. Mal tried to follow him but, not being nimble, lost her footing and fell against the cliff. Malbay is thought to have been named after her.
The actual history of the cliffs that can be verified is not as adventurous. The cliffs date back millions of years old and Neolithic sites have been found in the county. In fact, a promontory fort that dates back to the first century BC stood on the Hags Head area. However, it was not until the 18th century that people started treating the cliffs as a site of tourism. It was during this time that a landlord Sir Cornelius O’Brien wanted others to enjoy the cliffs as well. He built O’Brien’s Tower in 1835 to crown the cliffs and bring tourists to the area.
What To Do at the Cliffs of Moher
There are many things to do at the Cliffs as well as nearby sites. However, locals would agree that the best way to enjoy them is to hike along the cliff’s edge (warning…some sections may not be for the faint of heart!). Start by hiking the cliffs at the village of Doolin. Walk south along the Cliffs of Moher and you’ll get to experience the full force of the scenery without the crowds at the local visitors center. You can only walk part of the way if desired and take a taxi back to your starting point.
For tourists who want to limit their time, starting at the visitors’ center is often a good choice – and it’s a really good choice for families. Learning more about the cliffs is possible here, and then you can walk down to see the cliffs. While walking around the area, take note of the local bird species. This is an area of importance and is a breeding site for over 30,000 seabirds. Some endangered species live here and many of their nesting sites can be seen from the cliffside pathways and viewing areas.
In fact, this was the first (and only) place where we ever saw a real life Puffin! Oh they were just the cutest!
While in the area, make sure to visit O’Brien’s tower, located just south of the visitors center. It offers the chance to climb to the top and get an even better point of view. Although this isn’t necessary, it’s a good option on a clear day. From the visitor’s center there is also access to a trail along the cliff edges; however, there are warning signs saying it is dangerous and private property. So it’s up to you if you want to chance it.
How to Get to Cliffs of Moher from Dublin
Visitors to the area have a few different options when traveling from Dublin. The Cliffs of Moher area located close to Liscannor village with the closest airport being Shannon International Airport which serves a wide range of airlines.
The cliffs are also easily accessed by road and anticipate to spend about four hours traveling here by car. From Dublin, plan to travel via Limerick. There is also a local shuttle bus that travels only in the immediate area but can only be used if staying in the towns around the cliffs.
If you are staying in other cities further away from the Cliffs of Moher and don’t want to rent a car in Ireland, then the easiest and best way is to book a day tour. Below are some day tour options options for tours from Dublin, Galway, and Cork!
Interesting Facts About the Cliffs of Moher
One interesting fact about these cliffs is that you’ve most likely seen them before. They’ve served as the dramatic backdrop for a wide range of movies, series, music videos, and advertisements. Some of the more recent and well-known films that have scenes from the cliffs include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Into the West, and The Princess Bride.
Another interesting fact is that these cliffs are the second most popular tourist attraction in Ireland. The number of visitors just slightly surpasses those that visit the Dublin Zoo and the Book of Kells. Over a million people travel here annually!
How Much Does It Cost to Visit the Cliffs of Moher?
To visit the Cliffs of Moher, there is an admission charge (at least at the main visitor center area). This allows entry to all areas of the visitor center, including the Cliffs of Moher pathways, vehicle parking and an information packet including a map of the area. Booking tickets online offers a reduced price. During peak hours, the entry rate is 8 euros both online and in-person although tickets purchased online for entry after 4 PM are available for 4 euros.
Students and seniors have a reduced rate of entry. Students will pay 7 euros during peak season and 4 euros in off-peak season. Seniors will pay 5 euros in peak season and 4 euros in off-peak season. Children under the age of 16 are given free admission when accompanied by either a parent or guardian.
** Prices are as of the date of this post. Please check the official websites for up-to-date pricing.
What are the Cliffs of Moher Hours of Operation?
The Cliffs of Moher are open year-round and only closed December 24, 25, and 26th. Due to changing weather patterns, the cliffs are open at various times throughout the year. November-February, they are open 9-5 daily. March and April, the hours are 8-7. May-August, open 8-9. Finally, September and October are 8-7.
Our Final Tips for Visiting the Most Scenic Cliffs in all of Ireland!
During our road trip around Ireland, we made it a point to venture out to see these famous cliffs. And even though we were a bit tired after a busy Ireland itinerary, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Cliffs of Moher! It was very windy, as I’m sure it usually is. So be sure to prepare by wearing your layers and definitely bring a warm hat.
Also, the visitor’s center has some very nice and family-friendly trails with good walls and protection for seeing the cliffs. However, it is possible for you to have a more daring walk along the cliff edges – but do BE CAREFUL and have a wonderful trip!