Cliffs Of Moher, The Local In-depth Guide

If you don't know your Hags Head from your O'Brien's Tower, here's an intro guide to Co.Clare's Cliffs of Moher I’m lucky enough to live beside the Cliffs of Moher with our farm on the Cliffs themselves.

And I can confirm that even the most fantastic photos of the Cliffs don’t do it justice. There are just no words to describe the feeling and sense of energy you get as you approach the Cliffs and see for the first time the breath and length of the Cliffs stretched out in front of you.  The colour is always different, the light is always changing and the size and magic of the wonder of nature will leave you in awe.

The Cliffs rise to 702 feet (214 m) at their highest point and range for 8 kms (5 miles) over the Atlantic ocean so fair to say with the sheer scale there is a lot of Cliff to see. So If you don't know your Hags Head from your O'Brien's Tower, here's an intro guide to Co.Clare's Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most visited Natural Attraction.

 Landscape View Cliffs Of Moher

Where are the Cliffs

You’ll find the Cliffs of Moher, in the village of Liscannor in County Clare, on the Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland’s West Coast.

 

The Best ways to see the Cliff of Moher

There are more than one way to visit the Cliffs that some may not realise.

  • Park at the visitor centre, if in the peak summer season I would suggest you arrive very early or late for sunset to avoid the crowds. In and around sunset at the Cliffs of Moher tends to be quiet but if you are lucky the light can be amazing. The Visitor Centre now ask that you book parking online in advance on cliffsofmoher.ie
  • See the Cliffs from the viewing point near Hag’s Head. This is a great option for those of you looking for a walk on the Cliffs without the crowds. To get there follow the signs after Liscannor Village or put ‘Cliffs of Moher Liscannor Walk’ into your sat nav / google maps. The parking is only €3 for the car and only a 15 to 20-minute walk up to the viewing point across from the Hags head. From there you can hike to the visitor centre in about 1/1.5 hours along the Cliffs which is just wow.
  • See the Cliffs from the sea – get a Cliffs of Moher boat tour from Doolin Pier with either Doolin Ferry Company Doolin2Aran. Both companies run tours a few times a day and can be booked in advance also online.
  •  

    How to Get there

    The Cliffs of Moher are easily accessed by road from Galway (1.5 hours), Ennis (40 minutes), Limerick (1.5 hours) and from the ferry which sails from Tarbert in Kerry to Killimer in Clare (45 minutes) Dublin is approximately 4 hours via Limerick.

    The closest airport is Shannon International Airport, located 1 hour away. Shannon Airport has direct connections from USA and mainland Europe serving the West Coast of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way. See www.shannonairport.ie for all flight information.

    Latitude: 52.9714578, Longitude: -9.4247540

    How Old are the Cliffs of Moher?

    The rocks that makeup Clare’s famous cliffs were formed 319 million years ago.

     years ago during the Upper Carboniferous period.

     Where they get their name

    The Cliffs of Moher get their name from an old fort called ‘Mothar’ or ‘Moher’ that used to stand on Hag’s Head. The fort was demolished in the early 1800s during the Napoleonic Wars.

    When to go

    June-August is peak season for the Cliffs of Moher. Accommodation is plentiful in the county but can both book up in advance during these months, so be sure to make your reservations as early as possible if you are planning on traveling during this time.

    Remember though, the Cliffs are open year-round, and Spring and Autumn are often considered the best times to visit. The weather can be lovely, and there are fewer crowds at the visitor centre. And in winter when the days are short the sunsets at the Cliffs can be amazing.

    WHEN AND WHERE CAN I SEE PUFFINS AT THE CLIFFS OF MOHER?

    Puffins arrive at the Cliffs at the end of March and stay till mid July. The best months to see them are May and June. The viewing area to the left (South Platform) is the very best spot to view Puffins as they nest on Goat Island which can be seen from here. They nest in burrows on grassy slopes, just like rabbits.

    What other birds can I see?

    The Cliffs are a special protected area (SPA) for seabirds with over 20 species represented. The Cliffs have over 30,000 breeding pairs annually including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, peregrine falcons aswell as the ever popular cute puffins. The Cliffs are also home to many rare flora including Cat’s Eat and Sea Pink.

    Was Harry Potter Filmed at the Cliffs of Moher?

    Yes. A scene from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed at the cliffs. The scene where Dumbledore and Harry travelled to a cave to locate one of Voldemorts Horcruxes was shot in one of the caves at the Cliffs of Moher.

     Sunset At The Cliffs Of Moher With O Briens Castle In The Foreground

    Other things to do

    Pop into Moher Cottage for a coffee with a view over Liscannor Bay before or after your Cliffs visit

    Visitor Centre Opening hours

    Like most tourist attractions in Ireland, the opening hours for the Cliffs of Moher changes depending on the season:

    January: 09:00 – 17:00

    February: 09:00 – 17:00

    March: 08:00 – 19:00

    April: 08:00 – 19.00

    May to August: 08:00 – 21:00

    September: 08:00 – 19:00

    October: 08:00 – 19:00

    November: 09:00 – 17:00

    December: 09:00 – 17:00

     

    Where to stay

    So if you already chosen the Cliffs of Moher as your base for your vacation or are planning on a short weekend trip  and looking for recommendations for accommodation, we’ve got you covered. You are simply spoiled for choice of quality accommodation here in north Clare that no matter how long you book for you will be thinking maybe could you “Stay one more night …”

    And yes we think you should. So see below some options for you in the various towns starting with the closest to the Cliff’s

    Hotels:

    Liscannor:

    Cliffs of Moher Hotel https://cliffsofmoherhotel.com/

    Doolin

    Hotel Doolin https://www.hoteldoolin.ie/

    Fiddle & Bow https://www.fiddleandbow.ie/

    Ballinalacken Castle Hotel https://www.ballinalackencastle.com/

    Doolin Inn

    Lahinch

    Vaughans Lodge https://vaughanlodge.ie/

    Atlantic Hotel https://www.atlantichotel.ie/

    Lahinch Coast Hotel https://www.lahinchcoasthotel.ie/

    Sancta Maria Hotel http://www.sancta-maria.ie/

    Ennistymon

    Falls Hotel https://www.fallshotel.ie/

    Lisdoonvarna

    Sheedy’s Hotel https://sheedys.com/

    Spanish Point

    Armada Hotel

    Bellbridge House Hotel Ballyvaughan

    Gregan’s Castle Hotel https://www.gregans.ie/

    The Wild Atlantic Lodge https://www.thewildatlanticlodge.com/

    Hylands Burren Hotel http://www.hylandsburren.com/

    Inn’s/Guesthouses / B&B’s

    Liscannor

    Vaughans Anchor Inn https://www.vaughans.ie/

    Atlantic View B&B http://www.accommodation-cliffs-of-moher.com/

    Cliff View B&B https://www.cliffview-liscannor.com/index.html

    Lahinch

    Doolin

    Seaview House Doolin https://seaview-doolin.ie/

    Daly’s House https://dalyshouse.com/

    Doolin Inn https://www.doolininn.ie/

    Lisdoonvarna

    Wild Honey Inn https://www.wildhoneyinn.com/

    Ballinsheen House http://www.ballinsheen.com/

    Ennistymon

    Byrne’s Ennistymon http://www.byrnes-ennistymon.ie/

    Spanish Point

    Spanish Point House

    Ballyvaughan

    Hazelwood Lodge https://www.hazelwoodlodge.ie/

    Hostels / Glamping / Camping

    Doolin Glamping https://www.doolinglamping.com/

    Burren Glamping http://burrenglamping.com/

     

    Places to eat near the Cliffs 

    Your first port of call as you figure out your next steps is to pop into us in Moher Cottage for a coffee and some of our own handmade fudge and to get the local tips for the area. There are so many great places to eat all around our area here at the Cliffs of Moher.

    Some of which are below

    Liscannor:

    Vaughans Anchor Inn https://www.vaughans.ie/

    Cliffs of Moher Hotel https://cliffsofmoherhotel.com/

    Joseph McHughs Pub

     

    Doolin

    Hotel Doolin https://www.hoteldoolin.ie/

    Fiddle & Bow https://www.fiddleandbow.ie/

    Doolin Inn https://www.doolininn.ie/

    O’Connor’s Pub

    McDermot’s Pub

    McGann’s Pub

     

    Lahinch

    Vaughans Lodge https://vaughanlodge.ie/

    Atlantic Hotel https://www.atlantichotel.ie/

    Tasty Station

    Cornerstone pub

    Kenny’s Pub

    Joe’s café

    Randaddys

    O’Looneys

     

    Ennistymon

    Falls Hotel https://www.fallshotel.ie/

    Byrne’s Ennistymon http://www.byrnes-ennistymon.ie/

     

    Lisdoonvarna

    Wild Honey Inn https://www.wildhoneyinn.com/

    Sheedy’s Hotel https://sheedys.com/

     

    Spanish Point

    Armada Hotel

    Bellbridge House Hotel

     

    Ballyvaughan

    Gregan’s Castle Hotel https://www.gregans.ie/

    Monks Seafood

     

    What to do in the region while visiting the Cliffs

    There is so much to see and do locally, you will for sure never be bored.

    1. Visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin and the Aran Islands

    Only a couple of minutes away from us in Moher Cottage are the breataking Cliffs of Moher, Ireland's most visited natural landmark.
    A walk on the cliff walk is a must do while in the area. The walk can started in Liscannor and an hours walk will bring you to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and a further walk along the cliff edge can bring you straight to Doolin 
    Doolin is always a lovely visit, a lovely spot for dinner in one of the pubs or the hotel where you will always catch some live music.
    Doolin harbour is also the starting point for the ferry to the Aran Islands, a day trip which shouldn't be missed. You can also get a ferry trip around the Cliffs of Moher which can be breathtaking to see the Cliffs from the water
    There are two ferry companies, both are great
    Doolin 2 Aran Ferries: https://www.doolin2aranferries.com/
    Doolin Ferries https://doolinferry.com/
    1. Go for a sea swim, surf or sea kayaking
      The sandy beaches in Lahinch, Fanore or Spanish Point or the rocky shore line of Clahane are all now so popular for sea swimming. Lahinch is famous for all kinds of watersport activities; with many surfing schools there to provide lessons and the necessary equipment. An indoor swimming pool is located on the Lahinch strand promenade presently being upgraded to re-open in 2021.

    Surf Schools:

    Lahinch Surf School https://lahinchsurfschool.com/

    The Greeneroom Surf School https://thegreenroom.ie/

    Ben’s Surf Clinic https://www.benssurfclinic.com/

    Lahinch Surf Experience https://www.lahinchsurfexperience.com/

    1. Explore the Burren- The Burren is internationally famous because of its beautiful limestone landscapes and the remarkable flora as well as its rich archaeological heritage. It is the finest example of a karstic terrain in Ireland, with a full assemblage of the curious landforms and subterranean drainage systems that characterise these limestone terrains. The area also hosts 70 wedge-tombs (the most famous of them being Poulnabrone Dolmen), ring forts, caves (most notable Aillwee & Doolin Cave), castles (Leamenagh Castle) and a network of field walls and hut circles.

    The Burren centre in Kilfenora provides an insight into the mysteries of the region and should be your first stop on your trip.

    Experiences and guided walking tours are available everywhere in the Burren.

    Some of those walks and experiences include

    https://burrenfarmexperience.ie

    https://www.mullaghmore-burren.com

    A very good reference for the Burren things to do is www.burren.ie 

    1. Drive the Wild Atlantic Way in Clare
      Using this north Clare as your base is perfect to travel the length of the coast of Clare, from Galway Bay to the spectacular Loop Head Peninsula and we recommend a visit and walk on the Kilkee Cliffs and to the Loop Head Penisula.

    While there stop off in Kilbaha Gallery https://www.kilbahagallery.com/ after a walk around the lighthouse and the Bridges of Ross.

    1. Play a game of golf in the famous Lahinch Golf Course
      If you are a golfer this location has much to offer. Less than 10 min. away from us are the famous Links course at Lahinch and the 18 hole Castle course which is less challenging but highly regarded among golfers. Doonbeg Golf Resort is within 30 mins driving distance, Dromoland Castle Golf & Country Club is about 45 mins. away. The famous courses of Ballybunion and Tralee are within 2 hours driving distance using the car ferry across the Shannon.

    We are a perfect base to have that golf trip of a lifetime.

    What to bring 

    • Gear for all weather. The Cliffs of Moher is in the west of Ireland so possible to get four seasons in one day so check the weather forecast before you head off and pack accordingly The raincoat is always useful around these parts.
    • Water, pack a refillable water bottle and forgo the bottled water (it’s better for the environment), especially if you’re planning to hike.
    • Hiking boots or trainers. You’ll need some comfortable shoes fit for walking on the Cliff path which can be slippy especially if raining.
    • But most important of all your camera, you won’t forget the Cliffs experience but will be fabulous to have captured

    How to get there

    Driving is one of the easiest ways to get to the Cliffs of Moher

    There are also plenty of tour operators doing day trips from Galway, Limerick and Dublin. However currently many of those are on hold due to covid and the preference now being to drive to the Cliffs yourself or with a private driver.

    How to get to the Cliffs from Dublin

    To get to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, follow R148 and continue on N4. From N4, continue on M6 and follow the signs to Galway. Note that the route from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher entails tolls, so be sure to have some change with you.

    At junction 18 on the M6 take the exit N18/M18 towards Ennis. From the M18 take the N85 exit marked Ennis/Ennistymon. (Junction 12)

    Follow signs for Ennistymon on the N85 going through the village of Inagh. When you reach Ennistymon you will come to a sharp left turn onto the N67 (sign posted Lahinch). It is quite a tight bend so go slowly.

    At Lahinch take a right turn onto the R478 (sign posted Cliffs of Moher)

    Continue on this road for approximately 4km until you reach the village of Liscannor.  Go through the village and follow the R478. Continue on the R478 for 4km, passing by Moher Cottage. After a further 1.5km, the entrance to the coach park is located on the left hand side and the car park is located on the right hand side.  

    After getting off the motorway at Ennis, it is approx. 40 mins to the Cliffs of Moher. The route is well signposted but if any doubt having access to Google Maps or a GPS in your car is a big help!!

    How to get to the Cliffs from Cork

    Coming out of Cork City take the - N20 (signposted Limerick) Blackwater Valley
    Continue forward onto the N20 Entering Mallow following the N20 signposted Limerick. Passing through Buttevant, Charleville and after approx. 1.5 hours joining the M20 motorway signposted Limerick
    Leave the M20 at junction 1 (Rossbrien Interchange), then merge onto Limerick South Ring Road - N18 (signposted Limerick Tunnel, Shannon, Galway). Staying on the motorway until


    How to get to the Cliffs from Galway

    Scenic Route: Leave Galway in the direction of Limerick using N67 (N18):

    Follow N67 to Kilcolgan. In Kilcolgan take a right onto the N67 sign posted Ballyvaughan & Cliffs of Moher. Go through the village of Kinvara and on towards Ballyvaughan along the N67. See directions from Ballyvaughan.  

    Via the Motorway: Via M18 Motorway – Leave Galway following R336, R338 and Old Dublin Rd to N67.

    Follow N67 and continue straight onto R458. Merge onto M18 following sign for Ennis/Limerick.

    At Juction 12, take the N85 Exit to Ennis/Ennistymon/Kilrush.

    Follow the N85 to Liscanor Road R478 in Lahinch.

    Follow the R478 for 10km and the entrance to the car park will be on your right side.

    How to get to the Cliffs from Belfast

    Get on A12 from A1 and Grosvenor Rd/B38 and then take M1 to A1 in Lisburn and Castlereagh. Take exit 7 from M1 and continue to Newry, Mourne and Down

    Drive from M1, onto the M4 and taking the M6 signposted Galway.

    Continue on M6 and follow the signs to Galway. Note that the route from Belfast to the Cliffs of Moher entails tolls, so be sure to have some change with you.

    At junction 18 on the M6 take the exit N18/M18 towards Ennis. From the M18 take the N85 exit marked Ennis/Ennistymon. (Junction 12)

    Follow signs for Ennistymon on the N85 going through the village of Inagh. When you reach Ennistymon you will come to a sharp left turn onto the N67 (sign posted Lahinch). It is quite a tight bend so go slowly.

    At Lahinch take a right turn onto the R478 (sign posted Cliffs of Moher)

    Continue on this road for approximately 4km until you reach the village of Liscannor.  Go through the village and follow the R478. Continue on the R478 for 4km, passing by Moher Cottage. After a further 1.5km, the entrance to the coach park is located on the left hand side and the car park is located on the right hand side.  

    After getting off the motorway at Ennis, it is approx. 40 mins to the Cliffs of Moher. The route is well signposted but if any doubt having access to Google Maps or a GPS in your car is a big help!!

    How to get to the Cliffs from Limerick

    Take the N18/M18 towards Ennis. From the M18 take the N85 exit marked Ennis/Ennistymon. (Junction 12)

    Follow signs for Ennistymon on the N85 going through the village of Inagh. When you reach Ennistymon you will come to a sharp left turn onto the N67 (sign posted Lahinch). It is quite a tight bend so go slowly.

    At Lahinch take a right turn onto the R478 (sign posted Cliffs of Moher)

    Continue on this road for approximately 4km until you reach the village of Liscannor.  Go through the village and follow the R478. Continue on the R478 for 4km, passing by Moher Cottage. After a further 1.5km, the entrance to the coach park is located on the left hand side and the car park is located on the right hand side.  

    My most important recommendation of all.

    You will see so many people taking photos of the Cliffs but get out on the walk and find a safe spot with a view without the crowds, and just take a moment to just enjoy the setting, soaking up the sounds from the birds and roar from the wind. The energy is like nothing else.