The Cliffs of Moher, called Aillte an Mhothair in Irish, are the most famous tourist attraction in Ireland, receiving well over one million visitors per year. Now, you may be wondering: does this site really live up to the hype?
We would argue that, yes, the Cliffs of Moher are 100% worth the visit. In fact, these spectacular cliffs are an important highlight for any Irish road trip. With this in mind, we’ve put together a complete guide to visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.
We’ll review how to get there, prices, the best time to visit, and top activities at the Cliffs of Moher and nearby. We also go over options for day trips from nearby cities and the best places to stay in County Clare. Especially if this is your first trip to Ireland, you’ll want to read our tips before your visit!
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Table of Contents
Where are the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland in the Burren region of County Clare. They form part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and are a Signature Discovery Point on The Wild Atlantic Way. The cliffs run along the coast of County Clare for 8.6 miles (14 km) and reach a maximum height of over 700 feet (215 m) at O’Brien’s Tower.
On a clear day, you may even be able to see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the Twelve Bens of Connemara, the Maumturk mountains, and Loop Head Peninsula from the cliffs. You can find the closest villages to this site–Liscannor and Doolin–approximately a 10-minute drive away.
When planning your visit, keep in mind that it takes about 3.5 hours to drive from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. However, the Shannon Airport is only one hour away. Additionally, you can drive to the cliffs from Galway (90 minutes), Ennis (40 minutes), or Limerick (75 minutes).
When is the best time to visit the Cliffs of Moher?
It’s important to note that the Cliffs of Moher’s opening hours are seasonal. In November-February (low season), the hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Meanwhile, in March, April, September, and October (shoulder season), you can visit from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Finally, the summertime hours (May-August) are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Taking the Irish weather into account, the best time of year to visit the Cliffs of Moher is between April and September. More specifically, April and May see the least amount of rain in the area. Of course, the summer months–especially June to August–mark the peak tourism season in Ireland. However, you can still make decisions to avoid the crowds even during high season.
The best time of day to visit the Cliffs of Moher is before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m. In fact, sunrise and sunset can be particularly beautiful. As you can imagine, most of the day trip visitors arrive at the Moher Cliffs in the afternoon. So, we suggest avoiding these times for a quieter experience.
Helpful tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher
Monitor the Cliffs of Moher weather the day of your visit.
The online weather forecast in Ireland isn’t always reliable. So, if you wake up and it’s foggy outside, you may want to tour other attractions nearby and head to the cliffs in the evening. Remember that the sunset in Ireland is around 9 p.m. in the summer, so you should have plenty of time.
Purchase Cliffs of Moher tickets online for the best rates.
How much does it cost to visit the Cliffs of Moher? Well, it depends on when you visit! Prices normally run between €7-10 per ticket. However, you can save €2-3 per person by booking your tickets for an off-peak time slot.
Plus, the parking fee is included! You can find the designated car park across the street from the Visitor Centre and the cliffs. Click here to go to the official website. You can find everything that admission to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience includes here.
Peak times to visit the cliffs are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As the day tours start to wrap up, you’ll notice the Cliffs of Moher begin to clear out. So, if you’d prefer to avoid the crowds at this popular tourist attraction, especially during peak season, you’ll want to arrive in the morning or the evening.
Remember that tickets are the most expensive during the afternoon slot because it’s also the busiest time of day to visit (11 a.m.-3:59 p.m.). In our opinion, the most beautiful time to visit the Cliffs of Moher is at sunset.
Plan to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours at the cliffs.
How long does it take to visit the Cliffs of Moher? Once again, 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.
As we’ve mentioned before, the weather at the Cliffs of Moher can be fickle. So, why not give yourself more chances to go to these Irish cliffs without rain?
Instead of visiting on a day trip, one of our best travel tips is to stay the night in County Clare. This way, you have two opportunities to see the Cliffs of Moher. We even review the best places to stay near the cliffs later in this post.
Do you have to pay to visit the Cliffs of Moher?
Technically, you don’t have to pay to see these famous cliffs in Ireland. However, you do have to pay for parking (hence, the tickets mentioned above!).
If you’re traveling by car, the only way to see the cliffs for free would be to park in Doolin and hike the Doolin Cliff Walk. We do NOT recommend this option because the trail includes exposed cliff-top paths and other safety issues.
Leave no trace during your visit.
Remember to dispose of any trash properly, respect the wildlife, and not pick any flowers or take any stones from the site. The Cliffs of Moher is an important cultural site with incredible biodiversity–respect the land here so others can enjoy it for future generations!
Things to do at the Cliffs of Moher
Listen to the official Cliffs of Moher audio tour.
The Cliffs of Moher offer a free app and audio tour that you can download on Google Play or the App Store. It’s a great way to learn more about this attraction as you experience it in real-time! The audio tour features 13 chapters of about 2-4 minutes each covering the UNESCO Global Geopark, the Cliffs of Moher exhibition, music traditions at the cliffs, and more.
Visit the top of O’Brien’s Tower.
MP Sir Cornellius O’Brien built this tower in 1835 as an observation point for tourists. It sits near the highest end of the cliffs, reaching over 700 feet (215 m). On a clear day, you can see the Aran Islands, the Twelve Bens of Connemara, and Galway Bay from the top of the tower. Rather conveniently for visitors, this vantage point is a short 10-minute walk from the visitor center.
Walk to Hag’s Head and Moher Tower along the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk.
After seeing the view from O’Brien’s Tower, you may want to see other perspectives of the cliffs. If so, we suggest hiking from the Cliffs of Moher to Hag’s Head on the southern section of the Coastal Walk. This part of the trail has been recently upgraded and is relatively easy and flat.
However, certain areas are exposed to the edge of the cliffs. So, we ask that you maintain a safe distance away from the cliff edges and stay on the marked pathway. If you choose to walk all the way to Hag’s Head and Moher Tower, it should take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours roundtrip.
However, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Atlantic Ocean along the way. So, we consider it worth the trade-off! 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.
The exhibition area is divided into four categories–ocean, rock, nature, and man–which you visit on a self-guided tour. Additionally, the center offers a 3D experience called “The Ledge,” with a running time of 5 minutes.
Take a Cliffs of Moher boat tour.
To fully appreciate the grandeur of the cliffs, we recommend booking a boat tour! These guided experiences leave from the nearby town of Doolin daily from April to October approximately once an hour. The trip duration takes about 45-50 minutes in total.
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. Here are the boat tours we suggest booking:
- Cliffs of Moher Cruise from Doolin with Doolin2Aran Ferries
- Cliffs of Moher Cruise from Doolin with Doolin Ferry Co.
How to get to the Cliffs of Moher
You can travel to the Cliffs of Moher via car, public transportation, bicycle, or by bus on a guided day trip. If you’d like detailed directions on getting to the cliffs, click here. However, 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. Moreover, you can reach the cliffs from Galway (90 minutes), Ennis (40 minutes), and Limerick (75 minutes).
Remember that you’ll need to park across the street from the Visitor Center in the designated parking lot. Especially if you’re traveling in a big group, we suggest booking tickets in advance so you won’t be disappointed.
Day trips to the Cliffs of Moher
You can find a variety of day trips to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, Galway, Limerick, and Cork. Some of these tours even include a boat cruise to see the cliffs! Here are the day tours to the Cliffs of Moher that we recommend:
Cliffs of Moher Tours from Dublin
- Dublin: Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey & Galway Day Tour
- From Dublin: Cliffs of Moher and Galway Full-Day Trip with Visitor Centre Entry
- From Dublin: Cliffs of Moher Full-Day Trip with Visitor Center Entry
Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway
- Full-Day Cliffs of Moher and Sightseeing Tour From Galway
- From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Tour with Cruise
- From Galway: Full-Day Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour
Cliffs of Moher Tours from Limerick
Cliffs of Moher Tours from Cork
Where to stay when visiting the Cliffs of Moher
- Conway’s Cottage with Sea View (4-minute drive)
- Doolin Inn (11-minute drive)
- Hotel Doolin (13-minute drive)
- Fiddle + Bow Hotel (13-minute drive)
- Vaughan Lodge Hotel (15-minute drive)
- Aran View Country House (16-minute drive)
- Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel (20-minute drive)
- Bellbridge House Hotel (30-minute drive)
- Dromoland Castle Hotel (1-hour drive)
- Bunratty Castle Hotel (1-hour drive)
Other things to do near the Cliffs of Moher
If you’re on a road trip or backpacking through Ireland, you may want to know other things to do after visiting the famous Cliffs of Moher. Luckily, Co. Clare is full of both natural and historical attractions, such as caves, castles, and adorable small towns. Keep reading to discover what to do near the Cliffs of Moher.
Visit Burren National Park
Burren National Park covers about 3,700 acres (1,500 hectares) and is one of six national parks in the country. People from all over the world travel to the Burren to appreciate its beautiful and unique landscape! For example, check out the Burren Scenic Drive and the park’s many 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.
Check out the view from Doonagore Castle
Just 3.5 miles down the road from the Cliffs of Moher, you’ll find Doonagore Castle, a 16th-century tower house. The castle sits on private property, so it’s not accessible. However, we think it’s worth driving by to see a gorgeous view of Doolin Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
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 only have time to do one other thing in the County Clare area, we highly recommend the sheepdog demonstration at Caherconnell Stone Fort. Here, you’ll meet Lee, Lynn, Rose, and Jess, four border collies who work on a nearby farm. During the demonstration, you’ll also learn about sheepdog whistle commands, voice commands, and how these dogs herd sheep and cows.
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This article was first published in May 2022 and has since been updated.