Visiting the Cliffs of Moher: Are they worth the drive?

Traveling to Ireland and hoping to visit the infamous Cliffs of Moher? We’ve put together a guide that takes out all of your guess work when planning your trip.

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.

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FAST FACTS

Location: County Clare, Ireland
Height: 214 meters (702 ft)
Number of visitors annually: ~1.6 million per year
Peak season: July & August are peak season, but April - September the cliffs will experience large crowds
Featured in: The Princess Bride, Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince, and more

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. When it comes to packing 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.
    (His // Hers)
  • 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.
    (His // Hers)
  • 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 at REI right before our road trip to Alaska in 2019 and have loved taking them with us everywhere since. If you haven’t already, invest in binoculars!

WHERE TO STAY NEAR THE CLIFFS OF MOHER

If you’re planning on an overnight stopover at the Cliffs of Moher, Airbnb is your best option. However, if you prefer a hotel stay, you can find options in Doolin which is the closest town to the Cliffs of Moher.

IF YOU’VE NEVER TRIED AIRBNB BEFORE, YOU CAN GET $40 OFF YOUR FIRST RESERVATION WHEN YOU SIGN UP FOR AN ACCOUNT
USING THIS LINK!
AIRBNB

Option #1: Storytellers Cottage with Seaviews at Cliffs of Moher
Averages $143 USD per night // Sleeps 4

Option #2: Cozy Guest House on the Cliffs of Moher
Averages $109 USD per night // Sleeps 4

Option #3: Saltcliff Cottage - Sea Views to Aran Islands
Averages $174 USD per night // Sleeps 6

HOTELS

Option #1: Hotel Dhttps://www.hoteldoolin.ieoolin
Rivervale, Teergonean, Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland
Ireland’s first and only carbon neutral hotel. Dining and event space on property as well.

Option #2: Doolin Inn
1 Fisher St, Ballyvara, Doolin, Co. Clare, V95 CC79, Ireland
Adorable and comfy inn with cafe on site.

GETTING TO THE CLIFFS OF MOHER

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 blog post). 

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 incredibly helpful and we encourage you to check it out prior to renting a car in Ireland.

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 = 76 km // 1hr 25 min
Cork, Ireland to Cliffs of Moher = 176 km // 2 hr 33 min
Dublin, Ireland to Cliffs of Moher = 267 km // 3 hr 6 min
Belfast, Northern Ireland to Cliffs of Moher = 430 km // 4 hr 37 min

PRO TIP: Download Google Maps for all of Ireland to your phone prior to leaving home. Many cell phone plans (like ours) 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!

ADMISSION

The Cliffs of Moher are not free. Prices vary depending on what time of day you purchase and by age of attendee. It should be noted that while children under 16 are free, after the 4th child in a family there will be a fee. Seniors are classified as anyone 65 years of age or older.

Infographic provided by the official Cliffs of Moher website (source).

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. 

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.

Gus O’Connor’s Pub // $$
Traditional Irish pub serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner and drinks
MENU // Fisher St, Ballyvara, Doolin, Co. Clare, V95 FY67, Ireland

Fitzpatrick’s Bar at Hotel Doolin // $$
Fresh seafood and meat as well as vegetarian and vegan options available. Live music every night of the year.
MENU // Hotel Doolin, Rivervale, Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

Doolin Cafe // $$
Cozy spot serving cafe food and drinks.
Toomullin, Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

Moher Cottage // $$
Coffee and gift shop serving espresso drinks to enjoy on their back porch with beautiful views.
Cliffs of Moher, St Brigid's Well, Co. Clare, Ireland

WHAT TO DO NEAR THE CLIFFS OF MOHER

While the Cliffs of Moher are the star of the County Clare, Ireland, there’s so much more to explore and see in this area of the country! What all you are able to see will depend on how long you are planning to stay in the area. For example, if you’re planning to spend a few days on the coast, consider taking the ferry to the Aran Islands. Or, if you’re only passing through for the day but want to add at least one other item to your agenda, consider visiting Doonagore Castle. 

Ultimately the choice is up to you! Our hope is always that you are inspired and informed by our blog posts enough to confidently construct your own trip agenda. However, if you ever have any questions or need help planning, be sure to drop your questions in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer ASAP. :)

Doonagore Castle

Located between the Cliffs of Moher and the town of Doolin sits this beautiful castle ideal for exploring. After all, what’s a visit to Ireland without stopping at at least one castle?
Ballycullaun, Co. Clare, Ireland

Doolin Cave

Tour the Doolin Caves with record-breaking 7.3 metre long stalactite. There is an admission fee to visit, but a guided tour is included with the cost of admission.
Adults €13.50 // Children €7.20
NOTE: Save 10% on tickets when booking online HERE.

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 islands.

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 HERE.

Boat Tour of the Cliffs of Moher  (March - October)

The same company that operates ferry rides to the Aran Islands also offers tours to experience the Cliffs of Moher from the water.

Burren National Park

This national park is located about 40 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher and features unique rock formations that look like something you’d see on the moon. Definitely worth the trip if you have the time. While you’re there we recommend hiking/walking and learn a bit of geology.

NOTE: This is an easy stop on the way to or from Galway.

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!

CONCLUSION

Our hope is always that you are inspired and informed by our blog posts enough to confidently construct your own trip agenda. Part of the fun of traveling is to create your own adventure which is why we tend to shy away from giving step by step itineraries and instead give lots of options and share our experience. 

That being said, if you ever have any questions or need help planning, be sure to drop your questions in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer ASAP. :) Happy travels, y’all! 

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