Cliffs Of Insanity! Visiting Ireland’s Cliffs Of Moher

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 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!

Ireland Cliffs

Cliff Views Looking South

Cliffs of Moher Tower

O’Brien’s Tower

Cliffs Of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are located about 90 minutes south of Galway on Ireland’s west coast in County Clare. They’re part of 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 if you enjoy walking.

A 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

Hag's Head

Hag’s Head Tower

Walking Over The Sea

There are safety barriers to keep you from getting too close to the edge of the cliffs, but only up to a point. If you keep walking, 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 Namurian shale & sandstone ledges that make up the cliffs will sometimes crumble without warning due to erosion, creating another danger.

To the south, there’s a beautiful old stone tower from the Napoleonic Wars called Hag’s Head. Walking here from the visitor’s center will take 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.

Cliffs of Moher Flowers

Flowers Growing on the Edge

Visiting The Cliffs

There are two villages near the Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor (6 km south) and Doolin (7 km north). Both are small, but you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bed & breakfasts, and pubs with live music to relax in after a day of exploring.

Tourism is highest here during the months of July & August making the area quite crowded. However in September it wasn’t bad at all, especially if you walk beyond the area around the visitor’s center.

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.

There is a good reason why Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher are so famous. Walking the winding dirt path on the edge of a precipice, its beautiful Atlantic Ocean views & surrounding landscapes are awe inspiring.

It’s a truly magic travel experience to have in the Emerald Isle. ★

More Information

Location: Doolin, Ireland [Map] Accommodation: Churchfield Bed & Breakfast
Official Website: Cliffs Of Moher
Total Cost: €6 Entry Fee, €2 for O’Brien’s Tower
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

READ NEXT: Finding My Roots In Ireland

Have you ever visited the Cliffs of Moher?

Ireland

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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 below.

Any Questions Or Comments?

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22 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!