The Cliffs of Moher, or Aillte an Mhothair in Irish, attract over one million visitors annually and are a must-see on any Irish road trip. With this in mind, I’ve put together a complete guide to visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.
I’ll review getting there, prices, ideal visiting times, key activities at the Cliffs of Moher, nearby day trip options, and recommended accommodations in County Clare. If it’s your first visit to the Emerald Isle, my tips are a must-read before you go!
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Where are the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher, along Ireland’s west coast in County Clare, are part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and a Signature Discovery Point on The Wild Atlantic Way. They run for 8.6 miles (14 km), with their highest point at O’Brien’s Tower (700 feet/215 m).
On clear days, the Cliffs of Moher offer views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the Twelve Bens of Connemara, the Maumturk Mountains, and the Loop Head Peninsula. The nearest villages, Liscannor and Doolin, are just a 10-minute drive away.
Plan your visit with travel times in mind: it’s a 3.5-hour drive from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher but only an hour from Shannon Airport. Alternatively, you can drive from Galway in 90 minutes, Ennis in 40 minutes, or Limerick in 75 minutes.
When is the best time to visit the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher have seasonal opening hours: November-February (low season) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., March, April, September, and October (shoulder season) from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and May-August (summer) from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Considering the Irish weather, the best time to of year visit the Cliffs of Moher is between April and September, with April and May having the least rain. Although June to August are peak tourism months, you can strategize to avoid crowds even during this period.
For a quieter experience at the Cliffs of Moher, visit before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m., with sunrise and sunset being particularly beautiful times. Most day-trip visitors arrive in the afternoon, so I suggest avoiding these times.
Helpful tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher
Monitor the Cliffs of Moher weather on the day of your visit.
The online weather forecast in Ireland can be unreliable. If you wake up to foggy weather, consider exploring nearby attractions and saving the Cliffs of Moher for the evening, keeping in mind that the sunset in Ireland is around 9 p.m. during the summer.
Purchase Cliffs of Moher tickets online for the best rates.
Ticket prices for the Cliffs of Moher vary depending on the time of visit, typically ranging from €7-10. Booking off-peak slots can save €2-3 per person, and parking is included, with the designated car park located across from the Visitor Centre.
Peak times to visit the cliffs are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To avoid crowds at the Cliffs of Moher, especially during peak season, aim to arrive in the morning or evening as day tours wind down. Tickets are priciest in the afternoon (11 a.m.-3:59 p.m.), the busiest period.
Plan to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours at the cliffs.
How long does it take to visit the Cliffs of Moher? It depends! The average tourist spends about 1-2 hours at this attraction. However, if you plan to do the Cliffs of Moher walk, you’ll likely spend closer to 3 hours here.
Dress in layers for your visit.
The weather in Ireland is notoriously unpredictable! With this in mind, pack a thicker rain jacket and waterproof shoes instead of taking your chances with the wind or rain. You may also want to have some chapstick on hand for windburn.
Stay the night nearby for more time at the cliffs.
Given the unpredictable weather at the Cliffs of Moher, consider staying overnight in County Clare instead of a day trip to increase your chances of rain-free visits. Later in this post, we review the best accommodations near the cliffs.
Do you have to pay to visit the Cliffs of Moher?
While technically free to see, accessing the Cliffs of Moher by car involves parking fees, as mentioned earlier. I don’t recommend parking in Doolin and hiking the Doolin Cliff Walk due to safety concerns, including exposed cliff-top paths.
Leave no trace during your visit.
Dispose of trash properly, respect wildlife, and refrain from picking flowers or taking stones at the Cliffs of Moher. As an important cultural site with rich biodiversity, preserving the land ensures enjoyment for future generations!
Things to do at the Cliffs of Moher
Listen to the official Cliffs of Moher audio tour.
Download the free Cliffs of Moher app from Google Play or the App Store for an informative audio tour during your visit. With 13 chapters lasting 2-4 minutes each, it covers topics like the UNESCO Global Geopark, the Cliffs of Moher exhibition, and music traditions.
Visit the top of O’Brien’s Tower.
MP Sir Cornellius O’Brien built this tower in 1835 as a tourist observation point near the cliffs’ highest end, reaching 700 feet (215 m) tall. Offering views of the Aran Islands, the Twelve Bens of Connemara, and Galway Bay on a clear day, the tower is a short 10-minute walk from the visitor center.
Walk to Hag’s Head along the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk.
After visiting O’Brien’s Tower, explore other perspectives by hiking from the Cliffs of Moher to Hag’s Head on the upgraded section of the Coastal Walk. While relatively easy and flat, some areas are exposed, so maintain a safe distance from the cliff edges and stick to the marked pathway.
The roundtrip to Hag’s Head and Moher Tower takes about 1.5 to 2 hours but offers rewarding views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Atlantic Ocean. Plus, the further away you walk from the visitor center, the fewer crowds you’ll encounter!
Find the filming locations at the cliffs.
The Cliffs of Moher have been used as filming locations for various movies, such as Ryan’s Daughter (1970), The Princess Bride (1987) (“The Cliffs of Insanity”), and Leap Year (2010). However, their most notable appearance is likely in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009).
You can see the Cliffs of Moher Harry Potter spot looking south from O’Brien’s Tower. It’s the large cave where Harry and Dumbledore go searching for Salazar Slytherin’s Locket, one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
Fun fact: this was the only scene in the movie filmed outside of the U.K.
Check out the exhibits at the Cliffs of Moher visitor center.
You’ll notice the visitor center directly to your right as you enter the Cliffs of Moher Experience. Many tourists choose to skip it; however, we think the center is worth a stop. Inside, you’ll find interactive exhibitions, Cliffs View Café, Puffins Nest Café, restrooms, and visitor information.
Take a Cliffs of Moher boat tour.
To fully appreciate the grandeur of the cliffs, I recommend booking a boat tour! These trips take about 45-50 minutes and leave from the nearby town of Doolin daily from April to October.
Note that the boat tour and the Cliffs of Moher Experience are two separate activities you can do on different days if you’d like. The boat tours we suggest booking are with Doolin Ferry Co.
How to get to the Cliffs of Moher
You can reach the Cliffs of Moher by car, public transportation, bicycle, or guided bus tours. For detailed directions, click here. The most popular options are driving or taking a day tour from Dublin, Galway, Limerick, or Cork.
Driving to the Cliffs of Moher
The drive from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher takes about 3.5-4 hours, while routes from Galway, Ennis, and Limerick range from 40 to 90 minutes. After arriving, you’ll park in the designated lot across from the Visitor Center.
Day trips to the Cliffs of Moher
Where to stay when visiting the Cliffs of Moher
- Doolin Inn (11-minute drive)
- Hotel Doolin (13-minute drive)
- Fiddle + Bow Hotel (13-minute drive)
- Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel (20-minute drive)
- Dromoland Castle Hotel (1-hour drive)
Other things to do near the Cliffs of Moher
If you’re road-tripping or backpacking through Ireland, explore more tourist attractions near the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare, including caves, castles, and charming small towns. Keep reading to discover what to do near the Cliffs of Moher!
Visit Burren National Park
Covering 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares), Burren National Park is one of Ireland’s six national parks, attracting visitors from around the world. For example, explore the Burren Scenic Drive and the park’s walking trails on your Ireland road trip.
Tour Doolin Cave
Doolin Cave is a limestone cave located about a 15-minute drive from the Cliffs of Moher. Inside the cave, you can view Europe’s longest known free-hanging stalactites, measuring 24 feet (7.3 m) in length.
Visit the small town of Doolin
The town of Doolin is the self-proclaimed “gateway to the Cliffs of Moher.” It’s also a great place to hear traditional Irish music at local pubs (we suggest Gus O’Connor’s) and to do some local shopping.
Tour Aillwee Cave
Aillwee Cave is a cave system in the Burren, featuring a frozen waterfall, large stalactites and stalagmites, and the remains of an extinct brown bear. The tour duration is approximately 45 minutes.
See a sheepdog demonstration at Caherconnell Stone Fort
If you have limited time in County Clare, don’t miss the sheepdog demonstration at Caherconnell Stone Fort. Meet four border collies—Lee, Lynn, Rose, and Jess—and learn about sheepdog commands, including whistles and voice commands, and witness their herding skills.
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This article was first published in May 2022 and has since been updated.