Ireland's Cliffs of Moher: Everything to know for your visit
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most iconic sites in Ireland. The magnitude of these 700 foot tall cliffs jutting straight up out of the Atlantic Ocean can really only be understood when experienced firsthand. Their grandeur and size as seen on a computer screen does not do them justice.
While the Cliffs of Moher are gorgeous, are they worth the drive? Set on the far western edge of Ireland and away from major cities, the Cliffs of Moher require a bit of planning and at least a day to visit. If you’re like us, you only have so many days in Ireland, so how do you decide if the Cliffs of Moher are worth the trip?
To help you plan your own trip and make the most of your time in Ireland, we’re sharing our experience as well as some insight and experiences we learned along the way.
Looking for something specific? Jump to a section below.
The Cliffs of Moher are a natural scenic attraction located on the western coastline of Ireland in County Clare. Renowned for their breathtaking beauty, they stretch for about 8.7 miles (14 kilometers) and reach up to 702 feet (214 meters) in height, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. These dramatic cliffs are home to an impressive array of wildlife, including several bird species, which adds to their allure. The Cliffs of Moher are also part of the UNESCO Global Geopark, a testament to their geological and historical significance.
Why are they famous?
The Cliffs of Moher are famous for several reasons. First and foremost, their sheer size and dramatic beauty make them a must-see for those visiting Ireland. Additionally, they possess a rich biodiversity, hosting a wealth of bird species such as puffins and guillemots. Further, their geological significance forms a part of the UNESCO Global Geopark, reflecting their historical and environmental importance. The cliffs have also appeared in numerous films and television series contributing to their global fame. Finally, the visitor center, built into the hillside and offering an immersive, interactive experience, makes the Cliffs of Moher a popular destination for tourists worldwide.
What movies have the Cliffs of Moher been featured in?
The Cliffs of Moher have been featured in a number of popular films, making them even more recognisable to international audiences. Most notably, they were used as the backdrop for the "Cliffs of Insanity" in the cult classic film The Princess Bride (1987). Additionally, the Cliffs were featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), where they were used to depict the exterior of the Horcrux cave. Other movies that included the Cliffs of Moher are Into the West (1992) and Leap Year (2010). This stunning natural scenery provides a dramatic and awe-inspiring setting that greatly enhances the cinematic experience.
How tall are the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are a truly majestic sight, soaring up to a maximum height of 702 feet (214 meters). This staggering elevation is roughly equivalent to the height of a 70-story building. From this impressive vantage point, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Aran Islands. This astonishing height, coupled with the cliffs' expansive stretch along the coast, contributes to their breathtaking beauty and awe-inspiring grandeur.
Where are the Cliffs of Moher?
The Cliffs of Moher are located in the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. Situated on the west coast of the country, they overlook the Atlantic Ocean, offering spectacular views. The cliffs are approximately 3 hours drive from Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. The exact address is Lislorkan North, Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher are truly a sight to behold and are a testament to Ireland's natural beauty.
Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher: 269 km | 3 hr 18 min | Google Maps
Galway to the Cliffs of Moher: 75 km | 1 hr 28 min | Google Maps
Dingle to the Cliffs of Moher: 225 km | 3 hr 14 min | Google Maps
Cork to the Cliffs of Moher: 176 km | 2 hr 31 min | Google Maps
Belfast, UK to Cliffs of Moher: 386 km | 4 hr 40 min | Google Maps
How to get there
The Cliffs of Moher are located on the western coast of Ireland. The nearest town to the Cliffs of Moher is Doolin, but the nearest cities are Galway and Limerick. When you arrive you’ll be coming by car unless you’re on a tour bus (in which case you can probably just skip past this section of the travel guide entirely).
When driving a car in Ireland it’s always important to drive with extreme caution. Renting a car in Ireland can be pricey and incredibly confusing when trying to decide on insurance to purchase and how to get the best coverage. When we were planning our own trip to Ireland we found this blog post about renting a car in Ireland incredibly helpful and we encourage you to check it out prior to your own trip.
Doolin, Ireland to Cliffs of Moher = 7.5 km | 7 min
Limerick, Ireland to Cliffs of Moher = 79 km | 1 hr 9 min
Galway, Ireland to Cliffs of Moher = 75 km | 1hr 28 min
PRO TIP: Download Google Maps for all of Ireland to your phone prior to leaving home. Many cell phone plans don’t include coverage abroad, leaving you dependent on wi-fi or old school paper maps. If you download the Ireland maps to your phone ahead of time you’ll be able to search and reroute along the way without finding wi-fi, saving you a ton of time.
What to pack for the Cliffs of Moher
Like much of Ireland, weather at the Cliffs of Moher can be very unpredictable: calm and sunny one minute then windy and rainy the next so it's always good to pack for all seasons. When it comes to clothes, comfortability and practicality are always high priority for us. When we’re traveling we’re almost always on the go so good shoes and layers are our go-to.
Rain jacket / windbreaker - No matter what time of year you visit the cliffs we recommend taking a jacket that’s good in both wind and rain. We love Patagonia for outerwear and these jackets are great for traveling since they pack small in the suitcase.
Comfortable footwear good for walking (and a bit of mud) - If you don’t feel like walking through mud, no worries, there are plenty of view points from paved walkways. However, if you’re wanting the full experience and to take in the most angles of the cliffs as possible, bring some shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. Luckily we had our hiking booths with us from our time in Dingle so we were ready to go.
Binoculars - The Cliffs of Moher are a wonderful place to birdwatch! They’re home to some truly special birds, most notably, Puffins. We purchased these binoculars right before our road trip to Alaska in 2019 and have loved taking them with us everywhere since.
Admission to the Cliffs of Moher
Admission to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is priced beginning at €7 for adults (everyone ages 13+), while children under 13 are admitted free of charge. This entrance fee includes access to the visitor centre, the cliff edge pathways, various viewing platforms, and parking facilities. For those wishing to explore more, guided tours are available at an additional cost. It's always recommended to book your tickets in advance, particularly during peak tourist seasons, to avoid queues and ensure a smooth visit.
Prices vary depending on what time of day you purchase your admission for with the peak time of day beging from 11:00am-4:00pm. However, that's only peak time for crowds, it's not actually the best time to visit. To save a couple of Euros, consider visiting during the off-peak AM hours or the off-peak PM hours. While the weather will be cooler during those hours, it's pretty hard to beat a sunrise or sunset over the Cliffs of Moher!
Off-peak AM: 8:00am-11:00am
Peak times: 11:00am-4:00pm
Off-peak PM: 4:00pm-close
It should be noted that while children under 12 are free, if they're a part of a group (educational or travel tour), they will not be free. While seeing the Cliffs of Moher isn’t free, parking and access to the Cliffs of Moher exhibit (found in the Visitor Center) are included in the cost of admission.
What to see and do while at the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher offer more than just breathtaking views. There are several ways to experience this beautiful region of Ireland, so no matter what your interests and physical abilities are, there are options for you!
Visit the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center
The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre is an essential stop during your visit. Nestled into the hillside, the eco-friendly structure houses informative exhibits that will enrich your understanding of the cliffs' history, geology, and biodiversity. Here, you'll find interactive displays, immersive experiences, and a virtual reality cliff-face adventure that will leave you thrilled. The Centre also boasts a café where you can enjoy a warm beverage and local cuisine while taking in the breathtaking views.
O'Brien's Tower stands as a central observation point on the Cliffs of Moher. Built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O'Brien, a local landowner, the tower was originally designed as a viewing point for the Victorian tourists who frequented the cliffs. Today, visitors can climb the tower for a small fee to enjoy the most extensive view of the cliffs and the surrounding landscape. On a clear day, one can see as far as the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara, and Loop Head to the South. The tower is a testament to the historical significance of the Cliffs of Moher as a tourist destination and their continued popularity to this day.
The Cliff Walk at the Cliffs of Moher is an awe-inspiring experience that shouldn't be missed. This guided path stretches along the cliff edge, offering breathtaking views and intimate encounters with the local wildlife. The walk begins from the visitor centre and extends 6.5 miles to the south along the ocean. Hikers will walk past sheer drops and towering cliff faces, while the Atlantic Ocean provides a dramatic backdrop. Remember to wear sturdy footwear and dress according to the weather, as conditions can change rapidly. For visitors who prefer a less challenging route, there are also shorter and less demanding trails available.
The Cliffs of Moher are teeming with birdlife, making it an ideal location for avid birdwatchers. Over 20 species of seabirds can be spotted here, including the Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, and the Common Guillemot. Between April and July, the cliffs become a breeding ground for these birds, creating a spectacular display of nature. Special viewing points have been set up to observe these birds, and it's suggested to bring a pair of binoculars to have a closer look. Remember to keep a respectful distance from the nests, ensuring the safety and tranquility of these beautiful creatures.
For a different perspective of the Cliffs of Moher, consider embarking on a boat tour. These tours depart from the nearby Doolin Pier and provide a unique, sea-level view of the cliffs, allowing visitors to truly grasp their magnitude. On these tours, you're likely to get close to colonies of seabirds, and if you're lucky, you might even spot a dolphin or two. The boat tours typically last about an hour, and it's essential to dress warmly as it can get quite chilly out on the water. For the most dramatic views, consider taking a sunset tour, where you'll witness the cliffs bathed in the warm, golden glow of the setting sun.
NOTE: The ferries only run from March through the end of October each year.
Experiencing the sunset at the Cliffs of Moher is nothing short of magical. As the day draws to a close, the cliffs take on a whole new persona under the radiant hues of the setting sun. The sky transforms into a beautiful canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples, casting the cliffs in spectacular, ever-changing light. It's a captivating sight that perfectly concludes a day of exploration, creating a serene and reflective atmosphere. For photographers, the sunset offers a fantastic opportunity to capture some truly stunning shots. Be sure to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot, as this time of day is popular among visitors.
Where to stay near the Cliffs of Moher
Choosing the right accommodation can significantly enhance your visit to the Cliffs of Moher. The region is dotted with a variety of lodging options, ranging from quaint bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels. Each offers a unique experience, with amenities and locations to suit every traveler's needs. Here, we've compiled a list of recommended places to stay near the Cliffs of Moher to help you make the most of your visit.
Doolin Inn is a charming accommodation nestled in the heart of Doolin village. This family-run inn is known for its warm hospitality, comfortable rooms, and delicious breakfast. Positioned just a short distance from the Cliffs of Moher, the inn offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. It's an ideal choice for those looking to experience the rugged beauty of Ireland's west coast while enjoying modern amenities and comfort.
Hotel Doolin is another excellent choice for accommodation in close proximity to the Cliffs of Moher. Renowned for its eco-friendly practices, this boutique hotel offers a unique, sustainable stay without compromising on comfort. With elegantly furnished rooms, an on-site restaurant serving fresh, local cuisine, and live traditional Irish music in the evenings, guests can truly immerse themselves in the Irish experience. Its location in the center of Doolin makes it a convenient base for exploring local attractions, including the nearby Aran Islands.
Located in the countryside, the Ballinalacken Castle Country House is a romantic and beautiful accommodation next to ancient ruins. With stunning views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, this country house offers a unique blend of antique charm and modern comfort. Guests can enjoy a gourmet dining experience at the hotel restaurant, known for its locally sourced ingredients and fine Irish wines.
Sheedy's Country House Hotel offers a tranquil getaway in the heart of the Burren region. This award-winning hotel elegantly combines modern luxury with a homely, traditional atmosphere. The hotel boasts a renowned restaurant that serves a menu filled with locally sourced ingredients, offering guests an authentic taste of Ireland. Its convenient location makes it a perfect base for exploring the Cliffs of Moher and other nearby attractions.
Address: Main St, Rathbaun, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, Ireland | Google Maps
Vaughan's Anchor Inn
Vaughan's Anchor Inn is a delightful family-run establishment located in the heart of Doolin. Known for its exceptional seafood dishes and lively traditional music sessions, this inn brings together both comfort and culture for an unforgettable Irish experience. Its cozy rooms offer a perfect sanctuary after a day of exploring the Cliffs of Moher.
Address: Main St, Liscannor, Co. Clare, V95 FN5R, Ireland | Google Maps
Where to eat near the Cliffs of Moher
There is a cafe located on site at the Cliffs of Moher, but we recommend finding more traditional food in one of the neighboring communities. Not only are you more likely to get more authentic food, but you’ll also be supporting local small businesses. Keep in mind that some of the businesses on this list are closed seasonally during the winter months so be sure to check each restaurant's hours before making the drive to visit.
Gus O'Connors Pub Doolin
Gus O'Connors Pub Doolin is a must-visit for any food lover exploring the area around the Cliffs of Moher. This iconic Irish pub is famous for its hearty, traditional dishes and live music sessions. With a cozy, welcoming atmosphere and a menu filled with local specialties, it provides a quintessential Irish pub experience. O'Connors is also renowned for its fresh seafood caught in nearby waters, making it a paradise for pescatarians.
Vaughan's Anchor Inn in Liscannor is a sought-after dining spot, known for its exceptional seafood. This family-run establishment offers a delightful menu that showcases the best of local produce, with a special emphasis on fresh fish and shellfish. Featuring a cozy, rustic interior and a warm, hospitable service, Vaughan's offers a dining experience that perfectly complements any visit to the Cliffs of Moher.
Address: Main St, Liscannor, Co. Clare, V95 FN5R, Ireland | Google Maps
Russell's Fish Shop
Russell's Fish Shop in Doolin is a hidden gem for seafood lovers. Known for their wide selection of fresh, locally sourced fish and shellfish, this family-owned shop offers a true taste of the Atlantic. Whether you're looking for fresh fish to cook in your self-catering accommodation or planning a picnic along the Cliffs of Moher, Russell's Fish Shop is a must-visit.
Address: Fisher Street, Doolin, County Clare, Ireland | Google Maps
The Ivy Cottage
Nestled in the heart of Doolin, The Ivy Cottage is a charming dining spot that should not be missed. Known for its quaint, rustic ambiance and delightful menu, it offers visitors a slice of traditional Irish cuisine with a modern twist. Its menu boasts a plethora of locally sourced dishes, comprising fresh seafood, hearty meats, and vegetarian options. Here, the warm Irish hospitality complements the culinary experience, making your visit to The Ivy Cottage memorable.
McDermott's Pub in Doolin is an iconic establishment offering traditional Irish pub grub and music. This family-run pub blends a cozy atmosphere with delicious food and lively entertainment. Known for its friendly service, McDermott's Pub gives visitors a genuine taste of Ireland, making it a must-visit when in the vicinity of the Cliffs of Moher.
Fitz's Pub in Doolin is a charming, traditional Irish pub offering a genuine taste of Ireland's rich culinary and cultural heritage. Known for its warm hospitality and lively music sessions, this pub provides an authentic Irish experience that leaves visitors with lasting memories. With a menu that highlights locally sourced ingredients and a wide selection of Irish drinks, Fitz's Pub is a must-visit spot for any traveler near the Cliffs of Moher.
Address: Hotel Doolin, Fitz's Cross, Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland | Google Maps
Doolin Café is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists alike, known for its exceptional coffee and home-baked goods. With its warm, friendly atmosphere and a diverse menu that caters to various dietary needs, it's the perfect place for a relaxed breakfast or a light lunch. Overlooking the picturesque Doolin village, the café offers guests a delightful dining experience with scenic views.
Address: Toomullin, Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland | Google Maps
Moher Cottage is a charming café and gift shop located near the Cliffs of Moher. Best known for its breathtaking views and artisanal Irish gifts, this spot offers a unique blend of shopping and dining experience. Visitors can indulge in a variety of homemade treats and beverages, while enjoying the stunning views of the Atlantic and the Cliffs of Moher. We stopped in for a warm cup of coffee after our cold and very windy visit to the Cliffs of Moher and it was the perfect place to warm up and rest for a few minutes.
Address: Cliffs of Moher, St Brigid's Well, Co. Clare, Ireland | Google Maps
Other things to do in the area
For those seeking additional adventures, the area surrounding the Cliffs of Moher is brimming with a multitude of other attractions that are sure to pique your interest. County Clare is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and warm, friendly communities. Whether you're drawn to historical landmarks, enchanted by natural beauty, or intrigued by local traditions, the region offers something for every traveler. Here is our list of must-visit attractions beyond the Cliffs of Moher, helping you make the most of your trip to this captivating corner of Ireland.
Doonagore Castle is a distinctive round tower situated on a hill overlooking Doolin and the Atlantic Ocean. It dates back to the 16th century and serves as a striking landmark on the coastal walk from the village of Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher. While the castle is privately owned and not open to the public, it's an excellent spot for photography, with its picturesque surroundings providing a breathtaking backdrop.
Address: Doonagore, Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland | Google Maps
Doolin Cave is home to the Great Stalactite, one of the largest known stalactites in the world. As you descend into the underground cavern, you will be mesmerized by this natural wonder dangling from the cave ceiling. A well-informed guide conducts tours, providing fascinating insights into the stalactite's formation and the rich geological history of the area. An unmissable experience for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Address: Craggycorradan West, Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland | Google Maps
Ferry to the Aran Islands (March - October)
If you’re planning to stay in the area for a few days, take the ferry over to the Aran Islands to get a taste of the quiet, Irish island life. If you can afford the time in your schedule, consider booking a night or two at an Airbnb or inn over on the Aran Islands for a quintessential Irish experience!
PRO TIP: Want to visit the Aran Islands and see the Cliffs of Moher from the water? A tour offering both in one day is available.
Burren National Park
Burren National Park is a place of compelling natural beauty located in the southeastern corner of the Burren region. Popular among nature lovers and hikers, the park covers a vast landscape of rolling hills, limestone pavements, and diverse flora and fauna. Here, you can explore a number of walking trails, discover unique rock formations, and perhaps even spot some wildlife. It's a must-visit for anyone seeking tranquility and a deep connection with nature.
PRO TIP: This is an easy stop on the way to or from Galway.
Address: 2 Church Street, Corofin, Co. Clare, V95 T9V6, Ireland | Google Maps
Are the Cliffs of Moher worth the drive?
Before we visited the Cliffs of Moher we assumed it would be a full day activity. However, after visiting we can honestly say that’s not the case. Even if you were to walk the entire trail along the cliffs, visit the exhibit, and grab lunch in the cafe, you’re looking at around a half a day to fully experience the Cliffs of Moher.
If you’re like us, you’ll probably walk a section of the trail, experience the cliffs from a few different viewpoints, walk through the exhibit in the visitor center, and then leave to grab a more local lunch in Doolin. While the cliffs are incredible and iconic, they can easily be experienced and appreciated in a matter of a couple of hours vs. an entire day.
Obviously this is all based on personal experience and opinion. It is important to note that everyone appreciates places in different ways, so you may get there and decide you want to sit on a bench and take in the grandeur of the cliffs for a lot longer than we did-- and that’s fine! If you’re not on a strict schedule, why rush? In our experience the Cliffs of Moher were a wonderful stop off driving the scenic route from Dingle to Galway. If we ever visit County Clare and the Cliffs of Moher again we’d like to combine the experience with a trip to the Aran Islands for a few days.
Summary: Yes. The Cliffs of Moher(or the Cliffs of Insanity as I grew up knowing them from The Princess Bride)are definitely worth the visit if you can work them into your itinerary!
In conclusion, a visit to the Cliffs of Moher and the surrounding area offers an enriching blend of natural beauty, historical intrigue, and authentic Irish charm. Be it a short trip or a long vacation, every moment spent here promises to be a memory to cherish. Whether you're gazing at the majestic cliffs, exploring the enchanting caves, or immersing yourself in the peaceful island life, you're embarking on an adventure that truly embodies the spirit of Ireland. So pack your bags, set your itinerary, and get ready to embrace the unforgettable experiences that await you in this magical corner of the world.
Like this travel guide? Check out our other Ireland articles!
Throughout our website you’ll find affiliate links for various products and services. Affiliate links are a way for us to earn a small commission when you purchase through our links at no additional cost to you. For more information about what affiliate links are or want to know why we use affiliate links, you can read more over at our affiliate page HERE.
We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!