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The Cliffs of Moher: Ireland's Majestic Sea Cliffs

With 14 kilometres of awe-inspiring cliffs towering 214 meters above sea level, The Moher Cliffs are breathtaking. This is it if you're looking for an experience that will leave you in awe. To help you plan your visit, here's everything you need to know.


Photo by Jarek Skowron


The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most iconic landmarks and are located along the west coast of the green island. They are formed by layers of shale and sandstone that date back to over 300 million years ago.


The cliffs are home to various wildlife, including seabirds, dolphins, seals, and even puffins. The cliffs are named after an ancient fort called Moher that once stood on the southern tip of the cliffs. The fort was demolished in 1808 to build a lookout tower during the Napoleonic wars.


Today's Tower, known as O'Brien's Tower, was built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O'Brien, a local landlord and politician who wanted to attract tourists to the area. It is a popular spot for visitors to enjoy the panoramic views. The Tower is open to the public and offers the best views of the cliffs and the Aran Islands.


The closest towns to the cliffs are Liscannor and Doolin, about 7 kilometres away. The nearest city is Galway, which is about 75 kilometres away. So, what to do at the Cliffs of Moher? Here are a few ideas:


Join the Cliff Walk



The Cliff Walk is a guided tour from Doolin to the Visitor Centre. You can enjoy the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, and the Connemara Mountains and learn about the area's history, geology, flora, and fauna from your local guide. The Cliff Walk is a great way to experience Ireland's most famous attraction's natural beauty and cultural heritage.


The walk takes approximately 4 hours along a gravel path. It finishes near the highest point along the cliffs, at O'Brien's Tower, where public transport is available for your return to Doolin. The walk is relatively easy, always with the sound of the ocean in your ears, for approximately 9km along the coast and crosses two sections of Pat's farm along the way.


The Cliff Walk is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, but you should wear comfortable shoes warm clothing, and bring some water and snacks. You should also be aware that the path is close to the edge of the cliffs, and there are no barriers or fences, so you should follow your guide's instructions and stay on the marked trail at all times.


The Cliff Walk is weather-dependent and may be cancelled or rescheduled in case of high winds or heavy rain.


The walk operates daily from March to October and on weekends from November to February. It starts at 10 am from O'Connor's Pub in Doolin and ends at around 2 pm at the Visitor Centre. You can also arrange a private tour for groups of 10 or more people.


Visit the visitor center


Photo by Denver Saldanha

The visitor centre is located underground near O'Brien's Tower. It features an interactive exhibition, The Atlantic Edge, showcasing the cliffs' history, geology, wildlife, and culture. You can also watch a film called The Clare Journey that takes you on an aerial tour of County Clare.


See the puffins

The Cliffs of Moher are home to over 20 species of seabirds, including razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, and kittiwakes. But the most adorable and popular ones are the puffins, which nest on the cliffs from April to July. You can spot them from the cliff-top trail or take a boat tour to see them from below.


Take a boat tour

A boat tour is a great way to see the cliffs differently and appreciate their scale and beauty. You can also get closer to the wildlife and the sea caves. Several operators offer boat tours from Doolin or Liscannor, lasting 45 minutes to an hour. The price is around €15 to €20 per person.


Explore the Burren

The Burren is a fascinating limestone karst area that covers about 250 square kilometres in County Clare. It is known for its unique flora, fauna, and archaeological and historical sites. You can visit the Burren National Park, which has several walking trails and a visitor centre, or the Burren Perfumery, which produces natural cosmetics and fragrances from local plants. You can also see some ancient monuments such as Poulnabrone Dolmen, a megalithic tomb dating back to 2500 BC, or Caherconnell Stone Fort, a ring fort dating back to 900 AD.


Photo by Vincent Guth

When to visit the Cliffs of Moher?

Spring (March to May)

Spring is an excellent time to visit the cliffs if you want to see the puffins and other seabirds nesting on the cliffs. The weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 7°C to 15°C. The flowers also bloom in the Burren, adding colour to the landscape. However, spring can also be rainy and windy, so be prepared for some showers and gusts.


Summer (June to August)

Summer is the peak season for visiting the cliffs, as it offers the warmest and sunniest weather, with average temperatures ranging from 12°C to 19°C. The days are long and bright, with sunset around 10 pm. However, summer is also the busiest and most expensive time. Expect long queues at the visitor centre, car park, and Tower and higher prices for accommodation and tours.


Autumn (September to November)

Autumn is a good time to visit the cliffs to avoid the crowds and enjoy autumn colours. The weather is still mild and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 16°C. The leaves are changing in the Burren, contrasting with the grey limestone. However, autumn can also be rainy and windy, especially in November, so be prepared for some showers and gusts.


Winter (December to February)

Winter is the low season for visiting the cliffs, as it offers the coldest and wettest weather, with average temperatures ranging from 4°C to 10°C. The days are short, with sunset between 4 and 5 pm. This is also the best time to see dramatic waves crashing against the cliffs, creating spectacular scenes. However, winter can also be stormy and dangerous, so be careful when walking near the edge of the cliffs. Some facilities may also be closed or have reduced hours during this season.


How do I get here?


Photo by Philip Davenport

Driving

Driving is the most flexible and convenient way to visit the cliffs, as you can explore at your own pace and stop at other attractions along the way. You can rent a car from any major city or airport in Ireland and follow the signs for the Wild Atlantic Way, a scenic coastal route passing by the cliffs. The drive from Dublin to the cliffs takes about 3 hours, while Galway takes about 1.5 hours. There is a large car park at the official visitor centre.


Bus

Regular buses from Galway and Limerick stop at the visitor center or nearby towns. You can also take a train from Dublin to Ennis or Galway and then transfer to a bus.


Tour

Joining a tour is a hassle-free and informative way to visit the cliffs, as you can enjoy a guide's commentary and meet other travellers. Many tours from Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cork, and other cities include transportation, entrance fee, and sometimes other stops such as Bunratty Castle or the Burren.

Cycle

If you feel adventurous and fit, you can cycle to the cliffs from nearby towns or villages like Liscannor and Doolin. You can follow the coastal road or take some detours through the countryside. The distance from Liscannor to O'Brien's Tower is about 12 kilometres, while from Doolin, it is about 8.


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