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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!
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.
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.
How To Visit the Cliffs of Moher
While renting a car is the best way to see Ireland, bus travel is also very convenient if you’re afraid of driving the island’s super narrow roads. 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.
Alternatively, there are also many tours to the Cliffs of Moher from either Dublin or Galway.
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 a ways away from the visitor’s center.
Where to stay around Cliffs of Moher
The closest towns to the 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:
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?
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