Ireland’s Amazing Cliffs Of Moher (Cliffs Of Insanity!)

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Cliffs of Moher

Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher

Doolin, Ireland

A cold wind blows as I walk along the legendary Cliffs of Moher. Ireland’s most famous landmark rises dramatically out of the ocean, waves crashing into rocks far below.

“Whoever he is, he’s too late. See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!” ~ Vizzini

A favorite childhood movie of mine is the 80’s cult classic The Princess Bride, a crazy fairy tale adventure through the mythical kingdom of Florin.

In one scene, Princess Buttercup’s kidnappers are chased across the ocean by the Man in Black before they climb the steep “mile-high” Cliffs of Insanity.

While not quite a mile high, Ireland’s 700 foot tall Cliffs of Moher are certainly imposing enough to feature them in the movie.

Now that I’ve finally seen them myself, I can assure you the cliffs are even more astounding in person!

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Ireland Cliffs

Cliff Views Looking South

Cliffs of Moher Tower

O’Brien’s Tower

The Cliffs Of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are located about 90 minutes south of Galway or 3 hours from Dublin on Ireland’s west coast in County Clare. Probably the most famous stop on a scenic driving route called the Wild Atlantic Way.

While technically the cliffs are Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction with one million visitors each year, at 5 miles long, there’s plenty of room to explore them without too many people if you enjoy walking.

The Cliffs of Moher visitor’s center was built into the hillside so people can experience the site without intrusive buildings wrecking the view, and a scenic walking path branches out in two directions across the top.

The cliffs range in height from 390 feet to 702 feet tall, and are home to over 30,000 birds, including colonies of Atlantic Puffin that usually make an appearance in late March.

Cliffs of Moher

Stunning Cliffs of Moher

Walking Over The Sea

Safety barriers keep you from getting too close to the edge of the cliffs, but only up to a point. If you keep walking away from the the visitor’s center, eventually the barriers end.

Some people risk standing or sitting right on the edge…

I was one of them. However do so at your own risk! There’s often strong winds at the Cliffs of Moher, with freak gusts reportedly blowing people off to their deaths from time to time.

The cliffs are made of Namurian shale & sandstone, which can sometimes crumble without warning due to erosion, creating another danger.

South of the visitor’s center, there’s a beautiful old stone tower from the Napoleonic Wars called Hag’s Head. Walking here from the visitor’s center takes the average person about 1 – 2 hours.

To the north, O’Brien’s Tower marks the highest point of the cliffs. It’s just a short walk away from the visitor’s center, and offers the best views in both directions. You can pay an additional $2 to climb the tower.

Other potential adventures include viewing the cliffs from below on a ferry boat, or hiking the entire 12 mile (20 km) Coastal Walk over the cliffs.

Cliffs of Moher Flowers

Flowers Growing on the Edge

Getting To Cliffs Of Moher

Rental Car

RentalCars.com searches all the big car rental companies and finds the best price. This is probably the easiest way to rent a car in Ireland.

By Bus

Bus Éireann has the largest network of routes around the country.

You can also hop on a shuttle bus from Doolin that will stop at the Cliffs of Moher, as well the town of Liscannor.

When To Visit

Tourism high-season is usually during the months of July & August making the area quite crowded. However when we visited the cliffs in September, it wasn’t bad at all, especially if you walk out away from the visitor’s center.

Where To Stay Around The Cliffs

The closest towns to Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher are Doolin to the North, and Liscannor to the South. Both are only about 10 minutes away by car. Lahinch is about 15 minutes away.

Here are some suggestions for places to stay around the Cliffs of Moher:

BUDGET
Lahinch Hostel
Lahinch Hostel
Super laid-back hostel, short walk away from the beach. Clean rooms, good breakfast.

Check Prices / Read Reviews

BUDGET
Doolin Hostel
Doolin Hostel
Awesome hostel 2 mins from Doolin’s pubs. Right next to hiking trails to reach the cliffs.

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BED & BREAKFAST
Glasha Meadows B&B
Glasha Meadows B&B
Very friendly owners, the rooms are spacious and clean. Excellent base for visiting the cliffs.

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HOTEL
Atlantic Hotel
Atlantic Hotel
Cosy, comfortable hotel with a traditional Irish atmosphere. Locals often visit the restaurant for dinner.

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COUPON CODE! For a special $30 off your next Booking.com hotel stay over $60, make sure to use my special link.
Hag's Head

Hag’s Head Tower

Tips For Visiting Cliffs Of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher parking lot is located across the road from the Visitors’ Center. The center itself is pretty slick, built to blend into the natural landscape. There’s food, a gift shop, and a movie explaining how the cliffs were formed.

Weather at the cliffs changes quickly! Make sure to pack warm clothing and a rain jacket, just in case. It can get incredibly windy up there (if it is, stay away from the edge).

You don’t have to walk too far to enjoy some of the best views. O’brien’s tower is only a 10-minute walk away from the visitor’s center. But, if you want to, you can also spend hours walking along the edge. The further you walk, the fewer people you’ll find.

There’s a wooden blockade that separates the tourist area from the farmer’s fields further on. It is perfectly ok to walk beyond this blockade, just be aware that the trail is no longer maintained, and you’re on your own out there.

Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher are famous for a reason! Walking the winding dirt path on the edge of a precipice, its beautiful Atlantic Ocean views & the rugged coastal landscapes are magical…

It’s a truly amazing travel experience to have on the Emerald Isle. ★

Traveling To Ireland Soon?

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance here.

CLIFFS OF MOHER TRIP PLANNING
Location: Doolin, Ireland
Official Website: Cliffs Of Moher
Total Cost: €6 Entry Fee, €2 for O’Brien’s Tower
Rent A Car: Check out RentalCars.com
Book Accommodation: Check out Booking.com
Useful Notes: Like always, I recommend visiting popular tourist attractions early or late to avoid large crowds. The best time for photography is just before or during sunset, when the cliffs are bathed in light. Plan to visit for at least 2 hours if not more.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Ireland
Suggested Reading: In Search of Ancient Ireland

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Visiting the Cliffs of Moher. More at ExpertVagabond.com

Have any questions about the Cliffs of Moher? What about other suggestions? Drop me a message in the comments below!

Ireland

24 Comments

  1. This is helpful information. Planning to go there soon so looking out for info explaining how much time to budget for the cliffs. Thanks for putting this out :)

  2. Lovely pictures! If you like wild western cliffs, I suggest Sliabh Liag, near Teileann in Contae Dhún na nGall for your next visit to Ireland. Higher and wilder than the Cliffs of Moher, near a couple of the other towers built in Napoleon’s time, and free. Fabulous hiking–try One Man’s Pass if you dare. There should be a new distillery in the area before long. Stay at Aras Ghleann Cholm Cille for about 25 Euro pp.

  3. I visited the cliffs once during my time studying in Ireland and it’s still the best landscape I’ve ever seen. The wind can certainly be strong so you must be careful. I think the best way to get near the edge with the less risk possible is laying flat on your stomach. That way you don’t let the wind surprise you =)

  4. Isn’t it crazy how they let you climb right next to the edge. Looks like you had a nice day. So many travelers miss out because they only get the hour or two hours their on a bus tour. When we went it was foggy in the AM but in the afternoon the sky opened up for some killer photos. Worth renting a car to check out.

  5. The appeal to the visual perception never ceases to amaze me. Love these images, when I was in Ireland, they did not let us get that close to the sea and the castle was undergoing construction at the Cliffs. I could not believe how awestruck I was. Your photographs are just uplifting and amazing. Thanks for taking us along on your many journeys. Be safe in all that you do.

  6. Hi Matthew!

    I will be spending 3 months in Europe this summer and will be touring around. I’ve ready many of your posts and they’ve been very helpful! Which airport is the best airport to fly into when visiting the cliffs of Moher and what is the best way to get to them? e.g a bus, rent a car, or a train?
    Thank you in advance!

  7. That story is such a refreshing post. Those pictures look amazing too, lush green of your Celtic ancestry.

    Like you said, magical, everyone loves the Irish. Was there any talk and excitement around Conor McGregor while you were there?

  8. Fantastic photos! Looks like you lucked out with awesome weather. We went to the Cliffs almost two years ago and were also lucky to have clear weather. Giant’s Causeway is on the list for my return trip, too.

  9. The Cliffs of Moher are one of the few places on earth that I could go back to over and over again. We did some of the cliffside hike about 10 years ago, but I’d definitely do the entire coastal walk next time. Great idea! Love the pictures too.

  10. Incredible photos. There is certainly some truly spectacular coastline in that neck of the woods. I remember years ago going to see the Giant’s Causeway with my family and I was actually left speechless! Rare…

  11. The Cliffs of Moher are on my list for 2016 – but were they particularly difficult to get to from Dublin? Thinking of making a 2-day trip to Ireland from London at some point in June. Great post!

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